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Community dance kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month

Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe, III Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs

Dancers with Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Okinawa perform “Los Machetes” during the “Taste of Hispanic Food” event at the Schilling Community Center on Kadena Air Base, Sept. 12. “Los Machetes” is a traditional song and dance representing farmers harvesting corn and sugarcane; this job requires considerable dexterity with the machete.

Kadena Air Base - Sep. 16 2010 Smells of ethnic foods tantalize the nose. People speaking a foreign language hint to the countries of their origins with the dialect used. Colorful clothing adorns performers and spectators alike.

Their bloodlines began in Spain and trickle out to countries such as Panama, Mexico, Peru and other countries that have been influenced by the Spanish.

Despite the variety of backgrounds, Status of Force Agreement personnel gathered to celebrate their Hispanic origins during the Taste of Hispanic Foods at Schilling Community Center on Kadena Air Base, Sunday, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

“One in every six Marines serving in the Marine Corps is of Hispanic background,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Barden, an equal opportunity representative with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Any (ethnicity) or religion that has stood up in the past for our country’s values deserves to have a period of time dedicated to honor that group’s sacrifices and achievements.”

The event offered service members and civilians the opportunity to sample a variety of ethnic foods and culture from several Latin-American countries, said Fil Jimenez, deputy director forinstallation support, 18th Mission Support Group.

Samplers casted ballots on which dish was the best while watching dancers perform traditional dances native to their respective countries, said Ruth Velasco, a lead choreographer with Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Okinawa.

Traditional dances such as “Jesusita en Chihuahua,” “Tango de Malaga,” “Pio Pio,” and “Danzon Cumbia” were performed.

“I love being able to dance with people with similar roots as me,” said Rose Winkle, an Army spouse. “It’s like being with my family; I get a great sense of camaraderie.”

The Taste of Hispanic Food event is just one of many events taking place during Hispanic Heritage Month, said Jimenez.

“We use the Taste of Hispanic Food event to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Jimenez. “We have a variety of activities going on until Oct. 15.” Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about Hispanic Heritage Month.

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