My summer as a Dama

Brooke Bennet is into dance as well as pom. This summer she participated in a Quinceanera, where she was able to put her skills into motion.

Courtesy photo by Sharanjit Kaur

Brooke Bennet is into dance as well as pom. This summer she participated in a Quinceanera, where she was able to put her skills into motion.

Roxy Hernandez, staff writer

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    Brooke Benoit had no idea how exciting of an experience it truly was to participate in a Quinceañera. A Quinceañera (Quince) is a traditional Latin American fiesta to celebrate the 15th birthday of a Catholic girl and coming of age. The preparation for a Quince is similar to that of a wedding.  

    When Benoit began her summer, she had no idea that she was going to be involved in a cultural building experience that included the ceremony, dance and festivities with family and closest friends.  Being part of the Quince is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate alongside the special birthday girl.

    A typical Quince required a court made up of a few guys (called “Chambelanes”) and girls (“Damas”) that are important to the girl being celebrated. Bennett explained how she was a “Dama,” meaning she was a part of the court and performed a dance with a given partner for the guests to enjoy. 

    “Learning the dances was not that hard,” Benoit said. “I found I was able to learn it in almost no time, the only kind of problems were within the court participants themselves which ended up not being an issue. The Quince was exciting, fun, and I loved both choreographed and free dancing.”

    Commitment and working alongside others is a huge part of a Quince. Everyone must have set dates for practices as well as agreement in coordination. 

It was a great night which took much dedication and coordination.”

— Brooke Benoit

    “I came in late but I feel it still took a huge commitment and effort for being to practices on time and learning the dances,” Benoit said. “It felt as if practices were normal and ran at a good pace while the actual night seemed to fly by…It was a great night which took much dedication and coordination, but above all, it turned out great!”

    Benoit’s summer was interesting and filled with ups and downs. She put into practice commitment and working with others. Her insight of culture was also expanded with being in such a big event filled with traditions.  Needless to say, it was an experience like no other and one that will be treasured in the years to come.