Students huddled together in the corner of the vast space talking and laughing –– but not dancing –– as DJ Leydis played a mix of reggaeton and top 40 in Jack Adams Hall on Thursday night.
The Fall Fiesta, organized by The Depot, hosted Bay Area Latino artists for a night of music and dancing.
As the night progressed, more students found their rhythm on the floor while bands Soltrón and Bang Data performed a mixture of Afro-Caribbean rhythms, cumbia, jazz and samba. The initial timidity of the night soon faded as more people danced to the festive tempo of the music.
“We did not intentionally intend this event to coincide with Latinx Heritage Month,” said The Depot Venue manager Nilo Amiri. “It just happened to fall at that time. It’s a dance friendly event that allows people to engage more with artists.”
The location changed from its usual venue in the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, which might have curtailed students from attending the event. But regardless, the energy from the dancers who let their bodies sway to the music was infectious and encouraged more to join in.
“I may not know what they’re saying, but I can feel it,” said Spulu Pacific, a recent alumni and dance major of SF State. “It’s educational because it’s music about resistance and pushing forward.”
Pacific danced vivaciously all night, at one point taking center stage with an accompanying dance partner as everyone watched and cheered them on. Pacific also said that he likes the space at Jacobs Hall and that the lack of people on the floor gave him more space to dance.
The percussionist for Soltrón, Ahkeel Mestayer, is a student at SF State and the band’s connection to the University has brought them on campus on a previous occasion. During the Ethnic Studies strike last spring, Soltrón performed in support of the strike in the quad.
“Our music has a commitment to social justice, and we acknowledge the fact that music is a way to direct human activity,” said Manolo Dávila, guitarist and vocalist for Soltrón.
Asian American studies major and president of ASI Shannon Deloso, was present at the event because she was friends with the member from Soltrón who is a student at SF State.
“With music it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s a connection with your body. This is not something I usually listen to, but I like the live atmosphere,” Deloso said.