Maggie Villarroel grew up celebrating love and friendship on Valentine’s Day.
In her native Venezuela, Villarroel also was exposed to Latin music on a daily basis. As a child, Villarroel recalls attending a friend’s birthday parties where that music fueled dance competitions and the winners received the biggest piece of cake.
Villarroel’s passion for Latin music and dance grew as she worked toward her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at Mississippi University for Women. While she was studying at The W, Villarroel became a Zumba instructor in 2009 prior to earning her degree in 2010.
Villarroel will return to Columbus Monday, Feb. 13, to be the instructor for a Latin Dance event from 6-7 p.m. at the Stark Recreation Center’s Aerobics Studio. The event is organized by The W’s Culture Club and Erinn Holloway, an instructor of Spanish, and Dr. Reyna Vergara, an assistant professor of Spanish in The W’s Department of Languages, Literature & Philosophy.
“All students are encouraged to bring their friends and learn the basics of merengue, salsa, bachata and more,” Vergara said. “The Spanish faculty is grateful to Ms. Maggie Villarroel, who will donate her time as the instructor.”
Vergara said the event is designed to be a celebration of friendship a day before Valentine’s Day, which is known as El Día del Amor y la Amistad, The Day of Love and Friendship. To highlight that close bond, Vergara said she and Holloway sought to find a way to bring people together to celebrate the music and spirit of Valentine’s Day. She thanked the Kossen Center for Teaching and Learning for its support of the Culture Club and its faculty.