By Ollin Garcia Pliego
Cabaret is Lawrence International’s biggest event of the academic year and this year it is is scheduled for April 11 and 12. Through the integration of multi-cultural dance and performance groups, Cabaret engages the Lawrence community in a show that is dedicated to educating students and illustrating cultures from all parts of the world.
Latin American culture will be present in this year’s Cabaret. A Bolivian dance is being led by senior Diana Szteinberg, a Bolivian-Argentinian dual citizen who is majoring in environmental studies and minoring in physics. Additionally, talented skill comes from dance group member Catiel Galindo, a Mexican student majoring in psychology and Spanish. Here, both Szteinberg and Galindo share their backgrounds and experiences rehearsing before the main event.
Ollin Garcia: Have you danced for Cabaret before?
Diana Szteinberg: I’ve been in Cabaret every year since I’ve been at Lawrence. My first year I did the Peruvian dance and a dance from a region in Africa… it was a singing performance. My second year, I did a dance from Israel, which I choreographed with the help of other people from Hillel. Junior year I did the “Hula” dance and I was also President, so I was organizing it. This year I’m just going to do the Bolivian dance: Viva Santa Cruz!
OG: What was one of the toughest things while organizing Cabaret last year?
DS: The most difficult thing always is choosing the groups that audition, because we do have a limited space and we had really good auditions last year so it was hard to choose.
OG: How did you come up with the Bolivian dance?
DS: I came up with it from experience. This is a type of dance that doesn’t have a set choreography because it is supposed to be a fun carnival theme dance and I have done a lot of it during my school years in dance festivals. I look at different videos, and kind of mix the best parts…that I like the most… I try to bring in the most typical things: the hats [and] skirts.
OG: Where in Bolivia is your dance from? What type of dance is it?
DS: It’s from the east of Bolivia, the lowlands, because Bolivia has highlands and lowlands. I’m from the lowlands, Santa Cruz, specifically, [which is] the biggest of nine departments in Bolivia. This is a very typical dance, not modern, but it’s still done today.
It is a dance from carnival, which is actually coming up in February, and carnival has evolved [into a] very modern tradition now. You put other types of music, but there is still a big parade in which a lot of typical dances from all nine departments come together and groups do their thing.
The most typical one in Santa Cruz is called “Taquirari,” which is what I’m doing. It’s a very jumpy [and] couple-based dance. You know [that it] is from my region because of the type of costumes that they wear: for warm climate… cotton, super [loose] and guys wear hats to protect [themselves] from the sun.
Ollin Garcia: Have you participated in Cabaret before?
Catiel Galindo: Yes, I participated in Cabaret last year. I did the Peruvian dance with other friends. It was six of us and it was pretty fun and a good experience. [It was called] “El Huaranguito,” that was the name of the song so I’m guessing that was the name of the dance.
OG: How much has your group been practicing so far?
CG: Two times a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a very simple dance compared to [other ones]. We started practicing about four weeks ago.
OG: In your opinion, is it more of a folkloric or more of a modern dance?
CG: It is a very traditional dance. You can see it in the way they dress and the way they dance, especially men. They take their hats off [as if they were showing respect to women].
OG: How do you feel when dancing and how do you interact with the music?
CG: I feel happy when I’m dancing, I just follow the music. [The song] makes me smile. The music has a certain beat that you can easily follow. Diana is a very good guide in this dance. As partners and as a team we interact pretty well.
OG: Do the dance and music remind you of home?
CG: It is a bit of a tricky question because I am from Mexico but I do see my culture and Latin American culture in the way they dress. Music wise, it’s completely different. I can only identify on the clothing.