‘Luz de las Naciones’ returns after a two-year hiatus

Nov 6, 2022, 10:36 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A colorful, festive and lively Latin America Celebration returned to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City this weekend.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the event, but the first time back after a two-year interruption due to the pandemic.

This year’s theme for Luz de las Naciones is ‘Juntos es Mejor’ or Better Together.

“We missed this place. We are so excited to be here once again,” said Israel Gonzalez, the show’s director.

About 500 musical artists filled the state performing 11 dances from various countries, including Ecuador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Colombia.

Dance Director Kimberly Baker said it felt good to be back in person.

“Completely different energy being back in person. Last year was fun because we shot videos in different locations, but this year, just having everybody all together in one place. Whole different energy, a whole different dynamic,” said Baker.

Bringing so many talented dancers and musicians together didn’t happen overnight.

The performers have been working for hours and days and months to prepare for Saturday night’s event at the Conference Center. All hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Reanna Villaalta, 14, has been performing in the yearly celebration since she was about three years old.

“My Dance is from Honduras. I’ve spent late nights with my mom and practicing to get the steps right and turns to take,” Villaalta said.

A night to be remembered because we are all “Better together.”

“For me, it’s a miracle, really, because when I think on where we started in March and what we’re seeing now. I’m so grateful for heaven’s help,” said Fredrico Kahnlein, an Area Authority for the Church and the Chairman for the celebration.

The ‘Luz de las Naciones’ celebration will be released for on-demand viewing on November 19th.

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‘Luz de las Naciones’ returns after a two-year hiatus