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Colombian dance steps take the stage at Concord's Multicultural Festival

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Gaby Lozada
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Varnika Cheekati prepares to take the floor with the “Mis Hermosas Mariposas” team. Behind her is Sindy Chown, her dance teacher.

Every Thursday since July, Sindy Chown, who comes from Barranquilla, Colombia, has been coaching a diverse group of girls to learn the dance steps of champeta, mapalé, and salsa.

At Concord’s Multicultural Festival on Sunday, they got the chance to show off what they had learned.

Dressed in multicolored, butterfly-adorned skirts and carrying umbrellas with flowers, 10 girls waited backstage, listening carefully to their teacher going through the choreography.

Varnika Cheekati is the youngest of the group. She said she was happy to dance as she played with her umbrella. She is also part of a Hindi dance group, and her father was happy to see her sharing in other cultures on Sunday.

The group has been spreading the Latino dance flavor all over New Hampshire, with presentations in Laconia, Keene, Manchester, and Nashua. Chown said she is proud to see children learn about Colombian traditions.

Soraya Chown, who is 13 and Sindy Chown's daughter, said the dance classes had given her the opportunity to reconnect with her mom and share something in common. She has been in the group for five years.

“What I like the most about dancing is going to different festivals,” she said.

Celia Corrlew, 11, ran after the first presentation to change her attire for the next one. She said she worked hard to learn the choreography, and sometimes it got really difficult.

“But our teacher is really nice, so I am glad I did it,” she said.

Like the other girls in the group, she enjoyed wearing the traditional skirt and playing with it the most.

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Gaby Lozada
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“Mis Hermosas Mariposas” at the Multicultural Festival in Concord danced to a tune from the movie Encanto.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.

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