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More Than Just the Moves--Proposed Latin Dance Club Highlights Latinx Culture

From left to right: senior Thailyn Martinez and junior Samantha Ferrer are not only club founders, but also good friends. (Photo by Emma Duncan)

By Vivien Mitchell--Eagle Staff Writer

Our school has many clubs that meet many different students' interests, from Future Farmers of America to the Gay-Straight Student Alliance. However, two best friends, senior Thailyn Martinez and junior Samantha Ferrer, think there's one important club missing.

That's why they're establishing a Latin Dance Club. However, this club is for more than bachata.

“It’s not just about dancing; it's about the culture,” Martinez reported. “We’re also learning in this process. We know much about our culture but we’re still learning. We just want others to learn about these cultures, and we want to learn more about how to teach them."

Part of that is helping students understand just how varied the cultures at FCHS really are.

"We want to include every culture we can because it's not just Hispanics or Mexicans; it's a lot of other people.” This club is for everybody to expand their knowledge, whether you know lots or very little about the many different cultures we have in our country.

Ferrer feels that Latin cultures don't get much representation at Franklin County High School.

“We think it's important to learn every single culture in school...We want people to know who we are and about our culture, maybe to help the racism and bullying that's going on right now we just want to educate people on it. And spread more awareness about it, to stop ignorance about it," Ferrer said.

With all of this inspiration and drive to make change, there's only one thing the Latin Dance Club will need once the club officially begins: people.

“We don't need many things," Martinez shared. "It's basically things we probably have at home like speakers and clothes. [We want] up to fifteen or twenty people. Right now we have around 7-8 people.”

They aren’t looking for just anyone though.

“Members have to at least be passing classes and have good behavior, have a mature attitude and commitment to their work/clubs. Clean records, or very little things,” Ferrer added.

The girls still need at least seven more people to be able to take this further, which is exactly what they plan to do.

“I think if everyone supports it, we can go big and not just in school. We can go to competitions in Roanoke. As you know this is a small county. Roanoke is big and they celebrate the Heritage Month for the Hispanic community. They do marches, dances, and make food almost like a little party for the people. I think Franklin County could benefit greatly from that,” Martinez explained. The girls want the club to grow to become a safe space for those who may not have one.

The pair is not starting this club to get recognition themselves.

“I've always wanted to start something for the school because there's barely anything that brings in new culture around here. I just want to be the impact of making the change,” Martinez said. She went on to say, “We don't want our names to be known, we just want to make an impact that people can look back on. We want to make a change. It's not about getting our names out there. It's about two students making the difference.”

Ferrer says all are welcome to join in on this movement of change - even those who can't dance.

“The thing is, we're teaching you how to do it, and seeing if you can do it. There's no such thing as 'I can't do it.' You're going to do it, you're going to get it. You have to get your mindset there.”

Once the class gets passed by administration, the club will be open and accept members.

“We’re excited for this to start. We're excited to have people come to practices and do dances, even just trying it to see if you like it,” Martinez emphasized.

Students who are interested in learning more about the proposed Latin Dance Club can reach out to Martinez or Ferrer, or stay tuned to morning announcements for updates.

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