On the 22nd of October, 2011, Australia crowned its new AUSTRALIA BACHATA CHAMPION! This yes, it was no other than the very famous Oliver Pineda, with dance partner Vali Damaskou. We sat with Oli and chatted about his winning choreography and his views in Bachata. Enjoy!
BACHATEROS: Oliver, you are a very influential and respected person in the Salsa world. Tell us, what inspired to you take on the Australia Bachata Competition?
OLIVER: with the return of Vali from her Europe tour, I became inspired to challenge myself & do something different. I really enjoying debuting Zouk with Vali at HQ & Brazil Central so the Australian Bachata Championships seemed like the next logical challenge 🙂 . Vali is also a very versatile dancer, hence giving me the opportunity to explore other avenues. But don’t worry, this is just the beginning. 🙂
BACHATEROS: The connection that you and Vali on the dance floor, was incredible. How did you guys’ train and what did you focus on, on this competition to make sure that your Bachata look amazing?
OLIVER: although we are quite competent at Bachata, we both have neither performed and competed in Bachata. Having 40 years of dance experience between the two of us however helps, no matter what style we are executing. It is because of this experience that our rehearsal schedules are not very intense. In terms of connection, well that is something that just comes naturally 🙂
OLIVER: No funny anecdotes, just a couple of disagreements along the way :), after all, being familiar & comfortable with your partner does come with it’s ups & downs & pro’s & con’s 🙂
BACHATEROS – As the Bachata Champions, how do you see Bachata in Australia? and in the world?
OLIVER: Australians in general could always focus more on the ‘flavour’ of each dance & less on the actual patterns as they so often get caught up in. The flavour or as we say, Sabor is the essence of the dance & represents the feeling one should encompass to truly understand & interpret the style properly, whatever style that may be. Bachata is no exception. Don’t get me wrong; Australia in general has a very high level of dance, as we by nature are quite the perfectionist, competitive type of people, just not a high level of Flavour or Sabor that’s all. However coming from a country where dance is not part of our culture, that’s not surprising!! I therefor believe that it is the responsibility of the instructors to implement this focal point back into teaching, as students will only replicate what they’re taught.
BACHATEROS – As you mentioned before, this is just the beginning of Oliver and Vali in the Bachata world. Can you tell us what else can we expect from you guys?
OLIVER: Well right now we are happy with our Australian title. Other than that, our next natural progression would be competing at an international level which is very much on the cards. We will obviously continue teaching & performing bachata worldwide as well & come up with new choreographies in the future.
BACHATEROS: WOAH! It will be great if you compete internationally in Bachata! With your experience, what is your advice for the Bachateros our there?
OLIVER: My advice would be to learn dance, have fun and get out there! Get out of your comfort zones, meet new people and enjoy the ride But beware, you WILL become addicted! 🙂
BACHATEROS: How can people contact you and learn from you guys?
OLIVER: Latin Motion; the school of the 5 time World Salsa Champions specialises in Salsa, Zouk & Bachata and offers other great styles such as Samba & Zumba as well! Classes for ALL AGES in ALL LEVELS in 4 venues to choose from!
Latin Motion Dance Academy
Hope to see you dancing real soon