A 100-SECOND Brazilian samba stampede at the ANU’s Sport and Recreation centre? Could it be yet another Centenary event?Well, yes, but more than that, it’s the Canberra Latin Dance Festival’s way of saying “Happy Hundredth” to its home city.
Co-directors of the coming event, Ecuadorian-born sisters Andrea and Raquel Paez, couldn’t be more pleased.
“This year”, says Andrea, who holds a UC degree in tourism management with majors in Spanish and marketing, “double the tickets have been sold, we’ve got 30 or 40 more performances and we’re getting in more seating.”
And no wonder. As “CityNews” can verify from having attended last year’s sell-out inaugural festival, there is a huge subculture of Latin-loving Canberrans who crawl out of the office and, by night, become salsa kings and mambo queens.
Andrea has noticed “locals who’ve never performed giving it a go on stage in front of hundreds of people… people you wouldn’t imagine in Brazilian ‘thunder” costumes.”
This year, the Paez sisters promise, there’ll be innovations.
The first will be Canberra Latin Industry Awards, described by Andrea as “a new, great idea to recognise people who have contributed to the Latin dance and music scene in Canberra itself.”
In another new venture, a first for Australia they think, five Latin American ambassadors will introduce traditional dances from Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.
“We could only do that in Canberra, we have better access,” Andrea says.
Then there’s a “Jack and Jill” salsa competition that will offer patrons the chance to win a full festival pass for 2014. You can register on the day.
On the Saturday night, in the middle of the festival, running from October 18-20, the salsa, bachata and zouk rooms will play host to their first “Suit and Tie” night, best-dressed prizes. That’s a ploy to “add a bit of glitz and glamour”.
With flamenco, salsa, bachata, reggaeton, samba, tango, mambo, bachatango, cha-cha, burlesque/jazz, dancehall, zouk, lambada and pachanga, participants will come from the ACT, NSW, WA, Victoria, Queensland and, notably, the US.
The visiting contingent is headed up by CoboBrothers Dance Co. Founded in North Carolina by James and Milton Cobo, it’s a showcase for freestyle specialist James and Milton, the “Flow Guru” of salsa.
Another key visitor will be Melissa Rosado, “The Mambo Princess”, an exponent of NY-style mambo “On 2″. She’s been dancing since age nine when she began taking classes with mambo king Eddie Torres in the Bronx.
And that mass samba parade? That’ll be the festival’s last hurrah on the Sunday.
Canberra Latin Dance Festival, ANU campus sport and recreation centre, October 18-20, program and bookings to canberralatindancefestival.com.au/Tickets.action