There are many activities and events hosted by BYU-Idaho, including roller skating, sports and even cultural dancing such as Latin dancing.

Two students decided they wanted to add their twist to the Latin dancing culture in Rexburg. Fernando Lara and André Torrejón are both seniors who want to establish an environment of practicing traditional Latin dancing at BYU-I.

Both Lara and Torrejón are Peruvians but Lara grew up in Spain. Lara majors in exercise physiology, which gives him more reason to look for dance opportunities to be active. Lara has taught Latin dancing on campus in the past and has volunteered his time to teach students how to dance various styles such as salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia and many more.

Torrejón majors in communication with an emphasis in visual communication, so he focuses more on the branding and promotion of their new dance events.

Their social dance is called Puerto Latino. Their event is scheduled from 912 p.m. every second and fourth Saturday of the month. They are located on Main Street, right behind Porter Subs at 121 E Main St.

Their main goal is to provide opportunities for people to come and practice their favorite dance.

“We helped teach the salsa class every Thursday to help people learn,” Torrejón said. “Now, they can practice what they learn here on Saturday.”

Both created Puerto Latino for those to bring a partner and dance more advanced moves with others. Still, they want it to be inclusive and start each event with the first 30 minutes dedicated to bachata or salsa instructions. After 30 minutes, they open the dance floor to all and promote partner dancing.

“It’s more an environment where people can dance with each other and can learn,” Lara said. “It helps the Latino community of dancers to be more exposed to a bigger population. Everyone is welcome. Everyone can learn from zero, doesn’t matter your level, you just can come and learn to have fun here.”

That is what they both emphasize. They understand that much of Latin culture is friendly and inclusiveness and that is exactly what they want people to feel during their event.

“We want everyone to be part of our culture,” Torrejón said.

And that is not all they want their dancers to experience.

“Even if you’re a beginner or an expert,” Torrejón said. “You’ll be able to develop social skills and be more confident in yourself.”

Lara and Torrejón see that dancing is not just a small event but a community that can continue to grow.

Both understand they will not be at the school forever, but they hope to continue their legacy.

“We hope that as we continue to do this, we can find others who want to continue to grow the community,” Lara said.

“There’s always going to be Latinos that want to dance and non-Latins that want to dance as well,” Torrejón said. “That desire is not going anywhere and if we continue to foster the social event, it’ll be a shelter from homesickness.”

Puerto Latino is at its beginning stages, but both Lara and Torrejón have big visions for its future.

“We want it to be a home away from home,” Lara said. “A place where those dances like cumbia, salsa and merengue are appreciated.”