Cubadupa in Wellington lasts just for a weekend and this is a weekend you don’t want to miss. The dates change every year, but they are generally falling at the end of March, to farewell the summer with the best party possible. Cuba Street and the surrounding lanes and public spaces becomes a playground dotted of different events, an explosion of colours and sounds.
Street performances are well distributed all along Cuba street. We went to workshops for swing and Bollywood dancing which were quite fun and easy to follow. Then just walking along the main areas we were able to see different street performances happening. If you want to do something in particular though you should plan your day and check the programme; so many things are happening at the same time!
Music is on every corner, from jazz to blues to Latin music.
Big samba bands coming from Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga and Nelson are protagonists of the street music scene for Cubadupa. Each one has a staged performance followed by a parade around the central streets. With Darren leading AKSamba, Saturday evening was spent on the streets playing music (and dancing for me). The band had an awesome performance at the Wellington Airport Swan Dancehall, only too bad they couldn’t play on the stage and be more visible from afar. The best part was though when they paraded on the streets and the crowd joined behind them dancing and jumping. It was pure adrenaline and happiness. Two hours of continuous play require some good resistance, but they managed to keep the beats and the dances going high until the end!
The other bands were really good too. Tauranga Samba and Sambatron from Hamilton joined forces with break dancers and Brazilian dancers, one with a costume mimicking the famous Cuba Street fountain.
If all the dancing makes you hungry don’t despair, there is plenty of choice with food too, from street food to nice local cafes.