x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Get a taste of dance passion at the third Dubai Latin Festival

This year, the third annual Dubai Latin Festival, promises an enthralling lineup of some of the best local and international artists including the tango and salsa World Champions.

Alexander Norena and Laura Arboleda will perform at the Dubai Latin Festival. Courtesy BNF Dance Company
Alexander Norena and Laura Arboleda will perform at the Dubai Latin Festival. Courtesy BNF Dance Company

This year, the third annual Dubai Latin Festival, organised by BNF Dance and Entertainment Company, promises an enthralling line-up of some of the best local and international artists including the tango and salsa world champions.

A dance to remember

This weekend, the Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel will be transformed into a Latin music and dance hub, with more than 50 global entertainers including dancers, DJs, instructors and musicians. Workshops, performances and parties will also be held throughout the event. One of the highlights is the main gala dinner on Thursday, featuring the 14-member orchestra Mafia Non-Stars direct from Venezuela. This will be followed by a party for artists and attendees to dance and mingle.

Performers include the Salseras Dance Company from Sweden; the award-winning Colombian dancer and choreographer Richard Garcia; the international award-winning Colombian team Juan Carlos Buesaquillo and Evelyn Laurido; the Dubai-based couple Alexander Noreña and Laura Arboleda; and Stefania Sonzogni along with her partner Andrea Possenti from Italy, masters of the tango.

"We have visitors from South America, Central America, the US and even Australia, all Latin music and dance lovers, therefore having such an event attracts people to get to know this magnificent city while dancing, learning and socialising," says Eider Rua, the director of the BNF Dance Company. "We were looking for major title holders worldwide. We wanted to bring the best of the best and we were able to achieve it."

The 2012 Tango and Salsa World Champions will be performing their award-winning routines while local acts include the director of the annual Abu Dhabi Salsa Festival, JJ Shaban, and his partner Leena, and one of the oldest dance groups in Dubai - Familia De La Salsa.

Muy caliente

On Friday, the Salseras Dance Company will perform its famous salsa-hip-hop routines, as well as hosting a Brazilian Carnival during the company's first visit to the UAE. Its director, Adriana Mendes, says the company is "excited" to perform during a festival which allows attendees and performers to make connections, learn new techniques and enhance professional profiles.

"Our group is defined by ladies only, and we interpret the music to our own style, fusing Latin styles with other genres of modern, contemporary and hip-hop," says Mendes, a Brazilian national. "For one of the nights, it will be our greatest pleasure in having a Brazilian Carnival. Costumes are being designed and fitted specially for this festival; all we can say is that it will be caliente!"

The group hopes to teach UAE Latin music lovers that "even in countries as cold as Sweden, the Latin rhythm is alive and kicking".

"Taking part in this festival allows us to show our talent all the way from Sweden, and at the same time being able to experience local and international talent," she says.

Learning from the best

According to Edwin Rojo, the artistic director of BNF Dance Company, this is no small festival. "It involves all Latin genres and all kinds of Latin music and dance aficionados," says Rojo.

In Dubai alone, he estimates there to be at least 1,000 regulars at various salsa or tango nights, not including those who visit the company on a regular basis or "Latinos living in the UAE that do this at every family gathering".

"People seem to feel the passion that it invokes … salsa invokes the sense of happiness and joy while tango invokes the passion of love and pain," says Rojo. "The uniqueness of this festival is it allows attendees to see the acts and learn from them at the workshops. The same people performing on stage will be teaching attendees how to do what was performed - that's why it's important to have the best of the best."

The Dubai Latin Festival starts tomorrow and continues until Sunday. For the full schedule of events and ticket prices, visit www.dubailatinfest.com

melshoush@thenational.ae

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