Each year the University of Oviedo hosts a “culture week” made up of various themed workshops for the exchange students as part of our immersion program. This week we took a break from our day-to-day classes to participate in the talleres (workshops) led by each one of our professors. I chose to participate in “El Baile” (dance) and “Dale el DELE,” a workshop meant to prepare students to take the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) exam designed for international students with Spanish as a second language.
The turn out and participation in the workshops was greater than expected, so the academic-focused workshop, “Dale el DELE,” had to be altered a bit to accommodate the influx of students that wanted to practice for the certification exam. The workshop evolved into an oral expression class, which touched on the speaking portion of the Spanish exam. To open up the workshop, we observed a practice DELE exam online, then began to practice pronunciation. We focused on trouble sounds, like R, L, and the S versus C sound in Spain Spanish.
Aside from pronunciation, we were also tasked with getting in touch with our creative sides! The class broke down into teams and we were given various images. The goal was to develop a backstory and give life to the characters in the photo. The class then happily presented their ideas over laughs. We did similar activities throughout the week, and concluded with Spanish tongue twisters, known as trabalenguas.
The other workshop, dance, was a mix of both bachata and merengue, two dances native to Latin America. In the beginning, we each individually worked on different steps and distinguished between the two dances. After initial warm-ups and familiarizing ourselves with the rhythm, we were broken down into pairs; this is when everything got interesting.
By the end of the class, our instructor encouraged us to perform on Friday during the workshop presentations. Naturally, I volunteered because I love to dance, along with 3 other Temple students. In order to properly prepare, our dance pairs decided to attend both dance sessions each day and practice outside of the class. After hours of practicing the routine dance steps, making sure our steps aligned, and keeping our movements in accordance to the rhythm, we were performance ready.
The workshop presentations were two hours long and our group closed. Although we experienced some technical difficulties with the music skipping, throwing us all off beat, it was still a great time! It was so fun to learn a new style of dance and learn about its origins. I have always had an interest in dance and wanted to learn about Spanish dance specifically because I am a big fan of Spanish music. This was a great ending to a very fun week.