The idea of organizing a Bachata Tour in Australia was formed in our minds one particular day in Johor Bahru whilst admiring the beautiful beaches and enjoying the tropical atmosphere of the Malaysia Salsa Festival 08. The Bachateros crew got together under the shade of one the many Palm trees (oh the hard life of a Bachatero!) and brainstormed finally coming up with a tour idea to promote Bachata across Australia as well as increase the Bachata community, its culture and to make it a familiar dance not only in Sydney but in other states and cities in the country.
At that time, contact was made with Jorge Elizondo from Bachata Fusion in the US. In several of our conversations he mentioned that he hadn’t been to Australia yet and expressed interest in visiting one day. One day turned into September 08!
So the idea to Tour was set in concrete, Jorge and Juan were to tour Australia teaching and promoting Bachata! So the creation of the “Bachateros Do Australia Tour” was well under way. The first to jump on board the Bachateros Tour was Natalie Montano from Synergy Salsa, Melbourne. Our second supporter and promoter was then Latin Energy Productions from Brisbane who were very excited about the opportunity and Salsa Republic from Sydney and Latino Grooves in Adelaide were quickly added to the list.
Destination 1, Adelaide. It was a quick job, but very intense! We arrived on Friday afternoon and were picked up by Hugo from Latino Grooves. We had a quick break from a very troublesome yet somewhat entertaining flight (We have to mention that Samantha is afraid of flying) and then we went straight into teaching a Beginners Bachata workshop that evening. Teaching Beginners is a great experience because it is usually at the early stages that they begin to fall in love with Bachata, the dance and especially the culture. Also that evening, Samantha and Juan performed the infamous Bachateros United routine, and Jorge free styled a very memorable demo. With a full house of 300+ people, the night was certainly a night to remember for the Bachateros crew. Hugo and Julia really know how to party, what a night! On Saturday Jorge had a jam packed day filled of teaching workshops to the Adelaide Bachateros. Phew!
With the Adelaide tour complete, the following week we found ourselves back in Sydney where we arranged for Jorge to teach his Bachata Tango workshops at Salsa Republic. No time to rest with workshops in the evenings, then hitting the clubs to use the new moves learnt. Juan and Gaspar (a famous Zouk master from Brisbane) taught a quick mini Bachata and Zouk workshop at the night club to hype people up for the tour.
Destination 2, Melbourne. Natalie from Synergy Salsa had a pretty hectic weekend prepared for us. We called her that weekend, the TIME MARSHAL! Everything was planned on the dot! If we were late for an ‘appointment’ well lets just say that we really didn’t want to feel the repercussions of upsetting her entire plans! Lucky for us we were running on time. Friday night, Jorge and Juan taught workshops at Cuban Dance Academy and then out to the clubs, Saturday we had Bachata boot camps followed by the Mambolita Salsa/Bachata party. All up we had an entourage of 8 Bachateros from Sydney that thoroughly enjoyed the party and could be found dancing the night away with the Melbournites. Jorge taught his renowned Bachata Rueda to more than 50 people, and Juan got to spin his music at the DJ booth. The performances were great. The Bachateros performance got a long and loud cheer and applause from the audience. We also have to give credit to Mitch and Natalie (who are apart of the Sydney based Modus Vivendi Project Team) for their wonderful Bachata performance. Sunday was yet another day full of workshops, in which Jorge taught his Bachata Tango style workshops, and Juan taught his Bachata Moderna workshops. It was clearly evident that people were very excited to learn new styles of Bachata. (Watch a video of the performances)
With Melbourne now a big tick off of our ‘To Do List’ we were back in Sydney again. The evenings were yet filled with more workshops and then once again to the clubs. Jorge performed another incredible demo with Melissa Lam at Coolabar. A fantastic performance for her first debut, she certainly moved like a professional.
It was a lovely surprise to receive the awesome compliments, comments and feedback from people all over Australia who had heard about how successful the Tour was. Juan started to get emails from Perth and Darwin asking why we hadn’t planned to go there. Don’t worry guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. We promise next year for sure!
Destination 3, Brisbane, the last stop of our Tour. This was the third week into the tour and we landed in Brisbane to be met by Shaw from Latin Energy Productions ready to collect us. Samantha wasn’t able to attend the Brisbane tour, so Josie Cote (second place winner for the On2 division at the ASC) came with us, which to her acclaim , only had one week to learn the Bachateros performance (no pressure Josie! J ). We arrived at the hotel and met up with the Bachateros Student Team from Sydney who were already there in Brisbane. A total entourage of 16 Bachateros from Sydney! The Friday night workshops were awesome, and as predicted people who attended the Beginner’s workshops yet again fell in love with Bachata right away. Saturday saw us teaching our promoted styles, the Bachata Tango and Bachata Moderna workshops. A quick change and we had to get ready for the party. Debby and Shaw did a fantastic job organizing the party. The vibe that they add to their parties is one of affability, genuine friendliness and family orientated. We felt like we were partying in a living room with all our friends (or maybe it was due to the set up of the many comfy couches). Juan taught a Pasitos de Bachata workshop, and Jorge taught his famed Bachata Rueda at the party to more than 40 people. The performances after were amazing. The Bachateros Student Team from Sydney was first, and instantly got the crowd in the right mood. Then, the Latin Energy Productions team performed a wonderful Bachata Tango piece who also, by the way had only 3 weeks to prepare! The last show of the night being the Bachateros routine, this time performed by Juan and Josie who again, like all the other cities, received a loud and long audience response.
Back to Sydney to wind down after an incredible and unforgettable tour of 3 cities (Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane) or 4 if we count Sydney as well. We couldn’t believe just how successful the tour had been. Photos on Facebook and other community websites started to show up with status messages saying “thank you bachateros”. The Bachateros hand sign became a national symbol (lol) which created some international notice (apologies to the Italian Bachateros… an article about the hand sign coming soon).
In total, we taught 7 to 8 hours of Bachata in each city and almost 30 hours of Bachata during the tour. We had more than 500 people in total attending the all workshops. We performed in each city to a combined audience of more than 1000 people and we had the fortunate opportunity to form some very strong friendships, more than we could have hoped for.
The goal of the “Bachateros Do Australia Tour” was to create a Bachata community around Australia, which we are very happy and confident to say was very much accomplished. Also, 2 of our students, Nick and Cleday got engaged during our time in Brisbane! (Congrats guys! Looking forward for baby bachaterinos)
So, with the tour over and a few emotional moments that are typical to an incredible ending, we were happy to see our dream of promoting Bachata in Australia a huge success. Our minds have started creating an even bigger tour next year and we are currently turning our thoughts towards the Sydney Bachata Festival 2009! From the Bachateros tour, 4 intestate teams have already confirmed their participation, so time to make the Festival another huge success!
The Bachateros would like to thank:
- Adelaide – Latino Grooves. Hugo and Julia, thank you for the amazing time and effort you spent making the tour successful and for the amazing gift to the Bachateros. We had so much fun with you guys!
- Melbourne – Synergy Salsa. Natalie, we couldn’t be more thankful for your hospitality and the good times we had over there.
- Brisbane – Latin Energy Productions. It has been always a pleasure to work with you Debby! Shaw, don’t let Tia lead you on the dance floor
- Sydney: Salsa Republic. Sherylanne, what can I say, working with you is just easy! House of Mambo, DJ G – Graeme: thanks for your support on your Mambo nights at the Pump House, really appreciated! DCE Entertainment, Thursday nights at Cruise Bar, simply rock!
- Our friends from Modus Vivendi, for your support and advice!
Until Next Year! Bachateros United!