SOL gives Dia de los Muerto showcase an interpretive twist

Published by adviser, Author: Janelle Wilson - Asst. Campus Editor, Date: November 6, 2014

SRU’s Student Organization of Latinos Hispanics and Allies (SOL) put an interpretive spin on their annual Dia de los Muerto (Day of the Dead) Showcase using modeling, makeup, music, and dance.

SOL members and students presented their showcase on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the ATS auditorium, and performed interpretations of four Mexican legends. Tyler the Creature rapped an original piece, and sophomore dance and communication major, Catharyn Burton, 19, performed a solo dance.

The four Mexican legends they represented were “El Chupacabra,” a story about a beast that kills people on the full moon, “La Llorona,” “The Weeping Woman,” a story about a woman who drowned her children so that she could marry a man who didn’t want them. “La Nuhula,” is about a witch who dresses in bright colors to lure children so she can steal their souls, and “La Santa Muerte” is the Mexican version of “The Grim Reaper.”

Lupian-Luan said that after they got the ATS ballroom for the showcase, they wanted to fill up the space as effectively as possible, and thought that a more abstract style of performance would satisfy that need. SRU’s Cosplay Club did all of the makeup for the performance, and tried to represent each model’s performance through their colorful makeup, Lupian-Luan said.

In order to make the presentation more interpretive, SOL president, and junior public relations major, Yadira Lupian-Luan, 20, said she eliminated Mexican music and almost all cultural dress from the presentation.

“I didn’t want it to be in your face,” Lupian-Luan said. “I wanted to give the audience a taste of what the legends were visually, and focus on showcasing that instead of the surrounding things that were going on.”

Lupian-Luan said that although she didn’t want to use all Mexican dress and music, she and the volunteers put in careful consideration for each of the music selections. For example, in the case of the weeping woman, Lupian-Luan said that she chose eerie, ethereal music to maintain the atmosphere.

The one case they did use cultural dress was in the story of “La Nuhula,” because the witch dressed in bright colors. Lupian-Luan said that because Mexican dress is inherently colorful, it was appropriate to costume her in a traditional dress.

Junior psychology major, Ezinne Ugwuoke, 20, represented “La Nuhula” in an orange dress, yellow shawl, and elaborate face makeup. she said that the goal of the showcase was to bring something new and interesting to Internations Week.

“We had one rehearsal last night,” Ugwuoke said. “We decided to use the orb to represent souls at the last minute, and it made a really cool effect.”

Senior management major, Sara Shinsky, 23, said that her favorite part of the event is being on stage in the spotlight. Shinsky is a transfer student from Columbia, and said she was happy to support SOL.

Lupian-Luan said that because Slippery Rock has so little diversity, it’s important to showcase other cultures and provide mutual understanding. Lupian-Luan’s parents are Mexican, and her first language was Spanish. Lupian-Luan grew up with the legends that were presented, and said that El Dia de los Muertos shows an important discrepancy between American and Mexican culture.

“Here, death is seen as a bad thing,” Lupian-Luan said, “but in other cultures, like mine, death can be celebrated as a release into the afterlife.”


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