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Dance students prepping for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 30th, 2013

Several of Amy Velasquez’s Hispanic dance students practiced their performances during a recent class at Evanston Middle School. Pictured from front to back are Kaylee McGovern, Chandler Barker, Taylor Myers, Cooper Hodson, Morgan Crompton, Ben Fuller, Alyssa Velasquez, Seth Davis, Makayla Nelson and Kelly Myers. HERALD PHOTO/Matt Roberts

EVANSTON — Evanston’s annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is set for this Saturday, May 4, at the Machine Shop, and Evanston Middle School instructor Amy Velasquez’s Hispanic dance class is ready to impress at the event.

Students in the class have been performing for the last 23 years, and this year’s batch of 30 eighth graders are working hard to make their presentation — which will also be offered at local grade schools, EMS and a local nursing home — a memorable one.

“They’ve learned 13 total dances,” Velasquez told the Herald. “They’ll be performing with Mariachi Savala, from Ogden.”

Velasquez noted that, while there are no similar courses available to the students once they get into high school, their participation does make them eligible for annual Cinco de Mayo scholarships when they approach graduation.

But for now, the students are just enjoying a very unusual class.

“I love this class because it’s really interactive — we’re not sitting at a desk,” student Chandler Barker said. “We get to get involved and learn about Mexican culture.”

Classmate Morgan Crompton had great things to say about the class, as well.

“I’ve been dreaming of dancing in this class since I watched when the eighth graders came when I was in elementary school,” Crompton said.

Velasquez noted her class is the only one of its kind in the area.

The Cinco De Mayo Fiesta will run from 2 to 11 p.m. May 4, and will include — in addition to the students’ performances — games, food, crafts, a community dance featuring DJ Carlos Martinez and much more. Admission to the family-friendly, no-alcohol event is $4 per person for those 5 and older.

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