Latin American Music and Dance form a big part of Latin American culture. The ones that have got us Kiwis excited the most are Salsa, Merengue and Tango. Most Latin bands play a mixture of Salsa and Merengue when performing at Latin clubs around New Zealand. Tango seems to take a back seat and evenings usually start with Tango before the bands arrive. You will also find a bit of Cha Cha happening at the clubs, with the most popular song being “Let’s Get Loud”! Most cities in New Zealand have adopted these dances as their own with training institutes and Latin clubs emerging everywhere. On the other hand, at the events you will also see a bit of Rueda with anything from 10 to 50 dancers in the circle.
As the population of dancers taking up Latin Americal dancing is increasing, other variations such as Mambo, Bachata, Cumbia, Rumba. Every now and then, there is an event that has a Bateria followed by Samba all round. Most Brazilian events in Wellington are organised by the guys at Wellington Batucada.
Having said that, Salsa is still the crowd pleaser. Cuban Style Salsa is more popular in New Zealand clubs, although Linear style is gaining in popularity. However, the best dancers seem to save their Linear moves for competitions and performances. With more and more Kiwi dancers getting into in, it shouldn’t be long before we start seeing council organised events meant for hundreds of dancers. The new Waitangi Park in Wellington would be a perfect location for a community event of this kind.