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Dance Fever: Canberra Latin Dance Festival returns

Laura Peppas

With late night latin dance parties, live music and a recreation of that famous final scene from Dirty Dancing, the Canberra Latin Dance Festival is back and bigger than ever in its fourth year.

Event founders and organisers Raquel Paez Riccardo and Andrea Paez Warner from local Salsabor Dance Studio have confirmed that five international guests, including four world champion dancers, are attending the event, to be held at the Australian National University Sports and Recreational Centre from 16-18 October.

“We are incredibly excited that this year we’ll be featuring four world champion dancers at the festival,” Andrea says.

“Uriel Garcia and Vera Rowe from the USA are four-time World Salsa and Bachata Champions, and Simone Sanfilippo and Serena Maso from Italy are World Champions in Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue.

“Our fifth international artist is Emily Glubb from New Zealand, who is a specialist in Bachata.”

Dance 4

The international guests will perform along with over 42 national artists and a range of performance teams from across the country, before the dance parties kick off in the evenings and a special lunch performance on Sunday.

Workshops will also be held throughout the event, taught by international national and local dance instructors. The workshops will range from salsa, bachata, zouk, cha cha and samba, and will be available to suit most levels.

Andrea says she expects 500-600 people to attend over the weekend, with interstate and international visitors.

“When we started this festival, we never really knew what to expect, but we’re so glad it’s been so popular,” she says.

“Dance, and in particular salsa dancing, has become much more in-demand in Canberra with all the reality TV shows. It’s something everyone of any age can do, there’s no barriers.”

Raquel and Andrea

Event organisers Andrea Paez Warner and Raquel Paez Riccardo

Andrea says she believes the festival has become so popular over time because it has a “friendly and intimate” atmosphere.

“We have a lot of people who have never danced before, or who come alone, it’s just a great way to meet people in a relaxed, fun atmosphere,” she says.

“It has the best of both worlds; people can come to a workshop, watch a live performance, take part in one of the dance parties – there’s something for everyone.”

dance 2

Along with professional performances, there will be live music for the first time by Sydney salsa band Salsa Rica, and the vibrant Brazilian Carnival will make a return.

“It’s going to be a really special event this year, and we are encouraging everyone to come,” says Andrea.


For your chance to WIN a full festival pass to the Canberra Latin Dance Festival, which includes access to all daytime workshops, plus the evening shows and parties, for the entire weekend, simply email [email protected] and, in 50 words or less, tell us why you would love to go. Competition closes at 5pm on 9 October 2015.


the essentials 
What: Canberra Latin Dance Festival
When: 16 – 18 October
Where: Australian National University Sports and Recreational Centre
How much: From $35 – $290
Web: www.canberralatindancefestival.com.au or view full schedule www.canberralatindancefestival.com.au/event-schedule/


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

  • Julia

    How exciting! I can’t wait to attend this year. I have attended the last 3 years and it gets better every year. Andrea and Raquel thank you for bringing such an event to Canberra.