‘A Night of Argentina’ event promotes Spanish culture

The department of Spanish and Portuguese invited dancers from Chicago to perform tango to students who attending A Night of Argentina. These dancers find events to dance at through tangomango.com and meet new fellow tango dancers at each get together.

Adrianna Rodriguez/The Daily Northwestern

The department of Spanish and Portuguese invited dancers from Chicago to perform tango to students who attending A Night of Argentina. These dancers find events to dance at through tangomango.com and meet new fellow tango dancers at each get together.

Adrianna Rodriguez, Reporter

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In an effort to introduce Northwestern students to different Spanish cultures and create interest in study abroad opportunities, the department of Spanish and Portuguese hosted “A Night of Argentina.”

Part of a new cultural education series, Thursday’s event included a speech from Spanish and Portugese Prof. Alejandra Uslenghi, as well as food and tango performances.

“A Night of Argentina” is the second event in a series of monthly cultural celebrations organized by the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Every month, the department celebrates a different country with lectures on the cultural significance of the country, food and entertainment. The department hosted the pilot event in November, which celebrated Peruvian culture.

Students attending the lecture at University Hall enjoyed spinach, beef and ham empanadas before heading to Fisk Hall to watch tango performances. After learning about the art of tango, students were invited onto the dance floor.

During her speech, Uslenghi spoke about the many multicultural and urban aspects of Argentina.

“Argentina is a vibrant culture,” she said. “In spite of political and economic upheaval, it still stands to be so.”

The event drew many students from the Spanish 101 class, who are required to attend at least two Spanish cultural events during the quarter. Aja Ringenbach, a student advisory representative to the department, said the series presented a good introduction to Spanish culture.

“We are really excited about this,” said Ringenbach, who graduated from Weinberg this winter. “A lot of the events by the department are very lecture-based and don’t cater to the interests of the beginner Spanish speakers.”

To generate more interest in Spanish study abroad programs, the department invited several students who had participated in the study abroad program in Argentina. The students discussed navigating public transportation in a foreign country, as well as understanding the Argentine accent.

“It was interesting to hear about the study abroad experience,” Communication freshman Sarah Schwartz said. “After hearing other people’s accounts, I’m really inspired.”

In the previous event, department chair Prof. Jorge Coronado spoke about modern culture in Peru. After the success of the first event, the student board organizing the series was allotted a bigger budget for food and space, Coronado said.

“For Peru, we had a much bigger turnout than we expected,” said student advisory representative Olga Korobova. “There wasn’t enough food and space. But that’s the kind of problem you want to have.”

Future department events include a Brazilian carnival in April and a mariachi band for a Mexican-themed night in May. The department of Spanish and Portuguese also plans to work  with other student groups on campus, such as Alianza, to highlight Hispanic culture on campus.

“We want the whole Northwestern community to learn more about the Spanish department and participate in Spanish culture,” Korobova said.

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