A Snapshot of Columbia’s Performing Arts Scene Featuring Sabor: Columbia University's First Latino Dance Troupe

A Snapshot of Columbia’s Performing Arts Scene Featuring Sabor: Columbia University's First Latino Dance Troupe

I recently attended Sabor’s fantastic fall showcase to support my good friend, Daileny Guerrero. She is a first-year at Barnard and provided a little intel on what it is like to have recently joined Columbia University’s first Latino dance troupe. Enjoy!

Why did you join Sabor?

Daileny Guerrero: I wanted to try something new, fun  and different from the programs I participated in high school. In high school, I was mainly involved in the debate program and JROTC competitions, so I was ready to explore another realm upon entering college. Also, I knew Sabor would provide the perfect space to express my cultural values and musical interests because the team exemplifies a strong and diverse community that takes pride in their cultural heritage.

Describe a typical day/evening group practice.

Daileny Guerrero: Which day do you have in mind? Tuesdays, Thursdays, and/or Saturdays? *laughs* Tuesdays have got to be my favorite day to practice because most of the team members usually attend and we kick off practice with a group meeting to discuss updates, upcoming events, suggestions, etc. Depending on the dance(s) we have been selected to perform, we then separate into mini-groups and rehearse. For the 2016 Fall Showcase I ended up practicing with seven different groups, which involved memorizing seven distinct three minute dance routines with styles ranging from Afro-Brazilian to Ballet Fusion. Also, we always end our Tuesdays practices with a group chant, “Un grupo unido jamas sera vencido,” which means “a united group will never be defeated.” This saying is really reflective of our team’s core value. At times, we usually go to JJ’s place (one of Columbia’s fine dining spots) and bond while eating fries and chocolate chip pancakes until late in the night.

What kind of dance styles do you perform in Sabor?

Daileny Guerrero: I love Sabor because we do not limit ourselves to a specific kind of dance. We are open to diverse styles of dance and music because we are interested in showcasing our own team’s diversity through each and every performance. We accomplish this by having individual team members choreograph different dance routines which eventually become incorporated into our fall showcase as well as other performances.

So I recently attended the Fall Showcase, which was fantastic by the way, but can you describe how that experience went for you (considering it was your first time being apart of this)?

Daileny Guerrero: I was extremely nervous leading up to our major showcase but once the music started, I felt really pumped and excited to show the crowd what we have been working on for months. The craziest aspect was the backstage scene which was hectic and involved multiple clothing changes but in that moment everything felt right and euphoric. I invited my family who came all the way down from Utica, New York (a 4 hour drive from Barnard) and also my amazing friends who came out and supported me. One of the best parts of this showcase is that we raised a lot of money towards a rewarding cause, Relevé, an organization that empowers high school students to seek higher education. It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to taking part in it for the next three years!

What other activities does Sabor take part in?

Daileny Guerrero: We are very active within Columbia University and perform at various events throughout the year. We perform at Night Market, NSOP: Talent Showcase, Kwanzaa Ball, Relevé, and other outside gigs. Most of our gigs are local but we always keep our options open for upcoming opportunities.

What advice would you give to a student interested in joining Sabor?

Daileny Guerrero: First, you don’t need an advanced background in dance to audition for Sabor. My biggest tip is to have fun and add your own little creative elements (if you end up auditioning) in order to really stand out. It is definitely competitive, but the team is always interested in recruiting a diverse group of performers so try not to feel overwhelmed by the sense of competition. In fact, let it inspire and motivate you to perform to the best of your ability. While at times balancing practices as well as schoolwork can be hectic, it is completely worth it because I am ending this semester with a new family. I highly encourage anyone to consider this opportunity, especially if you are interested in dancing your heart away alongside the most supportive and encouraging community. “Un grupo unido jamas sera vencido” for life!

Interested in reaching out to Daileny about Sabor? Feel free to shoot her an email at dg2956@barnard. edu! Also feel free to check out Sabor's official website.

Best, 

Hagir Elzin

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