BYU Multicultural Student Services to host Fiesta performance


For months, BYU students have practiced and prepared for Fiesta on Nov. 3. Fiesta is a celebration highlighting the beauty of Latin American cultures through dance and song.

The upcoming celebration will showcase cultures from Mexico, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. It will be held in the WSC Ballroom at 7 p.m.

For BYU students like Paloma Castillo, a Mexican American and a pre-business major, Fiesta is an opportunity to feel closer to her culture.

“My parents are both from Mexico and growing up in Nebraska, it was really hard for me to embrace my culture often so when I heard about Fiesta through my older siblings, I knew I wanted to participate,” she said.

Paloma Castillo wears a traditional “china” dress from Mexico. She is wearing a Mexican hairpiece on her head and holding a traditional cloth. (Photo courtesy of Paloma Castillo)

Castillo is representing Guerrero, Mexico this year. She shared her experience preparing for the upcoming performance and mentioned it can be hard.

“At times we end up staying until 10 p.m. on campus and have to balance practice time and homework.” Despite these feelings, she said “it feels very rewarding.”

Castillo is not just dancing for herself. She said she is looking forward to performing a dance from her mom’s home state. Her brother will perform a dance from Jalisco, where their dad is from.

“I feel like I’m performing for them in the end, and it makes me really happy,” she said.

Shiegrid Hernandez, coordinator for the administrative services of Multicultural Student Services, explained the purpose of cultural programs such as Fiesta is for cultural education, inclusion and leadership opportunities.

“Students have the opportunity to enrich the university through their cultural heritage and unique perspective … students gather together to celebrate their ancestors who paved the path for success,” she said.

Hernandez explained this event is not exclusive to ethnic minority students. “We want all BYU students, including non-minority students to know they are welcome to participate. These programs offer opportunities to make strong connections and increase support among students,” she said.

Events like these also provide opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, according to Hernandez.

“Our cultural programs foster leadership opportunities for students to serve as section leaders, student volunteers and MSS student employees,” she said.

These areas of responsibility allow students to improve professional skills such as communication, organization and time management, Hernandez said.

Antonio Ordaz, another Fiesta dancer and exercise science student, will be participating in Fiesta for the first time this year.

“I chose to participate because I wanted to learn some dances and represent my Mexican culture. I take a lot of pride in my heritage, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to share it with others too,” he said.

Ordaz said he enjoys preparations for Fiesta. “Practices are great. Shout out to Annai (section leader for Mexico), and the rest of the gang for making it fun.”

Tickets are available to purchase at the Event Ticketing section of the BYU ticket page. Fiesta will also be broadcast live here.

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