WHEN “CityNews” dropped in on the big Saturday night showcase of the Canberra Latin Dance Festival, it was just as much of an education as last year’s event had been.For as well as the dazzling Brazilian Samba from Canberra’s Salsabor and Paulini and the Fierce Sambistas and sophisticated showcase performancesof mambo by US visitors Melissa Rosado and Salsa whiz kids, James Cobo and Erin Leger, there was an array of the hybrid Latin forms that are quietly stealing the centre stages at Latin dance studios around the country.
Australian Bachata champs, Nestor and Rebecca, from Sydney, Canberra’s Kokoloco dancers presenting mixed reggaeton and WA’s elegant Alisson and Audrey all broke the boundaries of convention Latin dance.
The only reservation is that the floor seemed extremely slippery, suggesting that in future years it might pay to hire a dance floor.
This year for the first time the Latin Dance Festival’s directors, Raquel and Andrea Paez, introduced traditional folkloric dance into the mix, with the lively rural dance from Canberra’s Baila Chile ACT and a refined dance from Colombia by the Macondo ballet company, commented on by the Colombian ambassador to Australia, Dr Clemencia Forero-Ucros.
During the evening, Rosado, known in the US as “the Mambo Princess,” presented a performance team of women whom she had trained for 6 hours only. Admittedly they all looked like experienced dancers, but their showcase mambo was no less exciting than that of elsewhere.
The evening concluded with the perfectly-costumed dancers joining the entire audience on the floor for a rather silly improvised dance that got everyone laughing.
The performances done, patrons retired to three separate dance areas for social dancing as the night wore on.