UT alum becomes full-time dancer after joining Longhorn Salsa

Jordan Madrigal entered UT hoping to continue his father’s legacy in the McCombs School of Business. Instead, he found his passion on the dance floor, moving in tune with the rhythm of salsa music.

In 2011, Madrigal became a member of Longhorn Salsa, a dancing club at UT. He was later promoted to be the club’s vice president and also offered free private lessons to students.

Soon after graduating with a degree in advertising, Madrigal joined Austin Inspired Movement, a dance company that teaches Latin dance classes, as the business manager and as a teacher specializing in salsa and bachata. Madrigal said the impact that dance had on his character persuaded him to dedicate himself to teaching full-time.

“It wasn’t until I saw the transformation in myself as a person that dancing really started to click,” Madrigal said. “I thought, man, ‘This has got to be passion when your whole life is being changed by it.’”

Continue reading → UT alum becomes full-time dancer after joining Longhorn Salsa

Capoeira helps female students, alumni find self-empowerment

Raised in a conservative Christian household, Amanda Caroline was out of touch with her Afro-Brazilian roots. But after studying abroad in Salvador Bahia, Brazil, Caroline found her passion in martial arts.

Caroline, a Ph.D. student in African and African diaspora studies, practices capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art “played” by two capoeiristas who are surrounded by people singing and playing music in a circle, or “roda.” Although capoeira is referred to as a “jogo,” or game, it was historically created as an illicit art by black slaves in Brazil.

“Capoeira has a lot of historical significance for black people in Brazil,” Caroline said. “Because of its history, it was created as a disguise of warfare but also a communal space for community and spirituality. All these things combined make a very powerful art.”

Continue reading → Capoeira helps female students, alumni find self-empowerment

UT United Muslim Relief officers celebrate Ramadan

During the Islamic holy month, Nida Madni wakes up before dawn for a morning prayer and meal with her Pakistani family to prepare for their 15-hour fast. While the sun shines, they will abstain from food and drink.

Madni, a biochemistry sophomore and officer at UT’s United Muslim Relief, is celebrating Ramadan, one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking anything from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. Besides fasting, followers focus on reading the Quran, reinforcing their faith through prayer and finding ways to give back to the community.

“It teaches you to be grateful for what you have, what you’re given and the food you have on your table everyday,” Madni said. “It’s bringing everyone together, and it teaches you to be humble.”

Continue reading → UT United Muslim Relief officers celebrate Ramadan

Homeless man encourages openmindedness

When he wakes up in his sleeping bag on a side walk between 21st and 26th Streets on Guadalupe, Bobby’s first thought is where he’ll get coffee. While he waits for outreach programs to open their doors, he visits the PCL, admiring the collection of books about religious studies.

“I’ve never really seen the students read the books over there,” Bobby said. “They’re usually with laptops and phones, and they have the best collection of books I’ve ever seen in front of them.”

Three months ago, Bobby planned to travel from Florida to Portland to finish his degree in music. As he hitchhiked through the southern states to avoid the Chicago blizzards, he stopped in Austin. The vibrant culture persuaded him to stay, and he started exploring life on the West Campus streets.

Continue reading → Homeless man encourages openmindedness

Local missionary advocates for homeless with Street Youth Ministry

Missionary Terry Cole worked with impoverished tribes in Latin America and Africa learning about the struggles of prostitutes and playing with children from villages. But eventually, Cole realized there was no need to travel to third-world nations to help society’s outcasts.

“I was shocked to discover I did not need to go to Africa or a village in the middle of the mountains of Mexico because I also found looked-down-on groups right here in Austin,” Cole said. “In one of the wealthiest, most influential cities in Texas.”

Continue reading → Local missionary advocates for homeless with Street Youth Ministry