With just one show left, Sabrosura’s “Amor de Mis Amores” spring showcase on April 13 will be the last chance this semester to appreciate the taste of Latin rhythm and celebration of culture the dancers deliver.

Sabrosura, Yale’s undergraduate Latin dance team, put on its first of three shows Wednesday night at Yale’s Off-Broadway Theater. The performance consisted of 15 choreographed dances including Salsa, Merengue and Bachata, among others. These were followed by a team Cumbia piece featuring all the dancers on stage. Marianne Ayala ’20, who joined the troupe as a novice this year, described the preparation that went into making the show a success.

“So at the beginning of the semester, we all proposed ideas for dances, if we had any … Some dances started later than others, but pretty much every week we would rehearse an hour for each dance,” Ayala said. “It’s like that for most of the semester, but during tech week, which was this past week, it’s just hours of going through it.”

Following an opening number, co-Presidents Inés Ozonas ’20 and Pablo Suárez ’19 introduced the showcase and welcomed the audience to the celebration of Latin dance, encouraging the crowd to cheer, applaud and animate the dancers with every body roll and twist. During the second half, the dancers took a break to host a dance-along, inviting the spectators to join in and learn the moves themselves.

Valentina Wakeman ’20, a fan and frequent spectator at Sabrosura’s performances, noted her favorite of the dances was “Machica,” for its energy and rhythm.

“In general what makes it special is seeing your friends on stage,” Wakeman said. “You can tell when they’re super into the song and I feel that was especially true with ‘Machica’ … It was really interesting to see how friends that I see as so intellectual, serious and driven have that ridiculously creative side to them and the ability … to design that choreography — it made me really happy.”

According to Ozonas, there are 34 active student dancers in the organization this spring. To join the ensemble, students are not required to have any previous dance experience, nor do they have to be Latinx, although many have some relation to or affinity for the culture.

Ayala, who does not consider herself Latinx, had been interested in joining Sabrosura since last year and auditioned this fall because she had a less busy schedule. She cited her love for dance and the encouragement of friends as key factors in prompting her to venture into the Sabro family.

“Growing up … I had never done any Latin dancing,” Ayala said. “I think the kind of dancing that I did was more like ballet and contemporary, and that’s very individual and you don’t get that feeling of social gathering. I feel like Sabro really provides that. Sabro at the end of the day is a family.”

A group of students affiliated with La Casa Cultural, Yale’s Latino cultural center, founded Sabrosura in 2007 as an outlet for cultural expression and celebration through dance. The organization received funding and support for its spring shows from a multitude of organizations, including La Casa, the Undergraduate Organizations Committee and the Morse College Creative and Performing Arts Award.

Since its inception, the organization has been housed at La Casa. From there, it receives the resources necessary to market and put on performances. According to Carolina Dávila, La Casa assistant director, the funds presented to Sabrosura support the costs of the showcases, including costume design, photography and event promotion.

This year’s Sabrosura spring showcase also received funding from a Creative and Performing Arts Award grant through Morse College. According to Micah Luce, operations manager for Saybrook College, the CPA Awards support on-campus dramatic, musical, dance, video, film, literary and comedy productions.

Luce said the process of reviewing applications for the award was intricate, and noted that the oversight of fund distribution is subject to the grant and the details listed on the CPA website.

Sabrosura obtained the CPA funding thanks to efforts of Mykaela Johnson ’19, Sabrosura’s treasurer, who applied for the grant earlier this semester through Morse, her residential college. Johnson was in charge of overseeing the troupe’s expenses and purchasing the necessary pieces for their show.

“We try to give each group that performs, once we know an idea of all the funding, a basic idea of how much they can spend for their costumes,” Johnson said. “Usually it will go towards things like dresses for the female dancers or accessories like bowties and hair flowers.

Sabrosura will holds its final shows on Friday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Gaby Mencio |