Students Connect with Cultures from ‘Around the World’ Through Dance

By Carly Gordon, Staff Reporter

The Homecoming theme for this year, ‘Knights Around the World’, brings the school together to explore other cultures. Students at FHN have found ways to become more involved in their own culture by participating in activities. Sophomore Ana Remolina and freshman Emily Schmidt in particular have become closer to their heritage through dance.

Remolina has danced for six years and connects with her Colombian heritage by performing traditional dances at cultural festivals and events. Colombian dancing takes inspiration from the three cultures that formed it: Indigenous, Spanish, and African.

“The first dance I did was a flamenco, which is from Spain,” Remolina said. “And then we did Cumbia, which is a combination of all three cultures, which is traditionally danced in Colombia at fairs.”

In learning the traditional dances, Remolina has also learned the intricacies of dance. Remolina dances in the traditional long skirts and dances to traditional music, sometimes played live.

“With every dance we learn, we learn the history of it,” Remolina said. “And I just really love the music. It’s my music, I grew up with it, and it’s very nostalgic for me. I know that it’s something that every person in Colombia has heard, and they all know how to dance it.”

Remolina appeared with Grupo Atlantico at this year’s Festival of Nations. Each dance takes up to two months to rehearse and perfect before it is ready to be performed. 

“Different choreographies and moves go together to invoke a certain feeling,” Remolina said. “Once we get the choreography down, we work on expression and how we make the dance feel, which is why we take two months to prepare each of them.”

Remolina dances with the other girl her age at the studio. Together they dance with the theme being about growing up and becoming a young adult.

“Every dance has a story,” Remolina said.

Schmidt also performed Irish dancing at cultural festivals. From fourth grade to seventh grade, Schmidt would practice for almost eight hours a week to prepare for events. She participated in the Irish Festival, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and competitions.

“Getting up really early for competitions was hard,” Schmidt said. “I would get up at 4:30 a.m.. Competition would start at 7 a.m..”

Even though Schmidt doesn’t dance anymore, she still values the different experiences she got.

“It [Dancing] made me feel in touch with my Irish side of my family,” Schmidt said. “It made me a lot stronger.”