Beginners dance and drumming course 2024

We’re back! Come and join us!

Wellington Batucada CubaDupa 2024 team photo

After a year’s break for beginners’ dance classes, we’re back with a bang – and so are our annual beginners’ drum classes. We’d love you to join us!

The Sunday afternoon classes will run for 6 weeks, from 21 July to 25 August 2024, at 1pm – 3pm.

The cost is $135 for the course, with a special price of $75 for Batucada members who are keen to learn to dance, learn a new instrument, or refresh their skills.

Drumming classes will take place at the Cook Islands Society Hall, 220 Hanson St, Newtown.

Dance classes will take place at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown.

Booking your spot on the 2024 course

We’ve made it super-easy for you to register and pay for a beginners’ course.

DRUMMERS REGISTER HERE: Batucada beginners’ drumming registration form

DANCERS REGISTER HERE: Batucada beginners’ dance registration form

Spaces on our beginners’ courses are usually in high demand, and numbers are limited, so please make sure you are able to attend all of the sessions before signing up.

We already have over 150 people on our “Expressions of interest” spreadsheet this year, including those who’ve been waiting two years to come to our dance classes – so we know demand is going to be super-high for 2024. Get in quick so you don’t miss out!

We’ll be in touch with more info once you’ve registered. If you can pay for your spot on the course as soon as possible, that would be great. Thanks!

More info about the courses can be found on our Join page

Come fly a flag at CubaDupa with Wellington Batucada

Be a part of our stage show and parade with a Batucada flag

Flags blowing in the wind

Ever since the first CubaDupa back in 2015, we’ve thought about how great it would be to fill the streets of central Wellington with flags and bunting during the festival. Looking up to see colourful fabric flying in the breeze, silhouetted against the blue sky, can give your spirits such a lift – and you see flags and bunting all over the place at CubaDupa these days.

We want to add to the fun, with our own Wellington Batucada flags, carried (and enthusiastically waved) by our audience at our Sunday afternoon Swan Stage show, and the street parade afterwards.

Our dancers and drummers fill the stage with colour and sound, and we think there’s a wonderful space above the heads of our audience that we can fill with flags. A bit like Glastonbury, but on a much smaller scale 🙂

We also think you’ll look amazing following behind our street parade, dancing with us and waving your flags high in the air.

Collect your flag from Thistle Hall (cnr of Cuba & Arthur St) on Sunday 23rd March at 1.30pm

You can then either accompany the band on our back-streets meander down to Ngā Taniwha Swan Stage, ready for our stage show at 2.30pm, or you can race ahead of us with your flag in hand, to get a good spot to watch the show. Enthusiastic flag-waving is strongly encouraged at all times.

After the stage show we’ll be parading from Swan Lane around the block and up to Carnival Central – the Southern Cross on Abel Smith Street.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers parade at CubaDupa. Photo by Paul Taylor.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers parade at CubaDupa 2021. Photo by Paul Taylor.

Following along behind the dancers and drummers – and part of the spectacle – is all of you with your flags, creating a “fan-tail” as we make our way through the streets of central Wellington. More enthusiastic flag waving, and plenty of on-the-move dancing is again strongly encouraged.

We’re so excited to be able to involve you in our show in this way, and for you to add to the colour and spectacle of a Wellington Batucada performance. We look forward to meeting you when you come to pick up your flags. See you then!

PS we’d love to get the flags back from you after the parade, so that we can re-use them again sometime. Thank you!

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Netherlands vs USA

An orange extravaganza

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Netherlands vs USA. Photo by Alison Green.

It’s quite tricky finding orange clothing. It’s just not that popular a colour these days (oh to be back in the 1970s!) – but I really think it should be making a comeback, because it’s quite spectacular – especially en masse. As you will see from the photos.

The reason we needed orange gear – not a colour generally associated with our Batucada uniform – is that we were invited by the Dutch Embassy to lead their fan parade from the Shed 6 Fanzone to the Stadium. The game was a BIG ONE – featuring the two finalists from the last Women’s World Cup – Netherlands vs USA. Of course we said yes – how could we not? How exciting!

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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Spain vs Costa Rica

Kicking off the FIFA Women’s World Cup in style

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Spain vs Costa Rica. Photo by Carolina PratoCasanova.

We were rather thrilled to be asked to provide entertainment for those in the Fan Zone at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. We’ve done our share of waterfront performances and parades for big sporting occasions over the years – and it’s great to be able to add another fantastic event to our collective CV.

Our first game was Spain vs Costa Rica – on a super-cold winter’s late afternoon/early evening in late July. What fun! At least if you’re a drummer you can layer multiple undershirts, thermals and vests under your band uniform t-shirt (I was wearing six layers in total, plus scarf, hat and gloves) – but pity the poor (super-staunch) dancers who have much less of a uniform under which to hide extra layers – I’m in awe, quite frankly. They are amazing.
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CubaDupa 2023 – day 2

The mass samba bloco

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2023 day 2 - mass samba bloco. Photo by friends of Jennifer Montgomery.

Over the years, the various samba schools around Aotearoa have developed their own styles, arrangements and choreography, based on the rhythms of Brazil. But we still all share a few patterns, mainly those taught to us a few years ago at the Jambalaya Festival and our own Sambanui immersive workshops.

On day 2 at CubaDupa we were given the opportunity to showcase a couple of these arrangements, with all the samba schools drumming and dancing together in the mass samba bloco. It’s a fantastic experience.

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CubaDupa 2023 – day 1

It’s great to be back!

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2023, day 1 - the parade. Photo by Varun Konikkara.

Oh CubaDupa, how we have missed you!

Our big CubaDupa performance this year was a little more low-key than in previous years – being off-stage at Swan Lane instead of on – but that gave us a fantastic opportunity to include all our signed-off drummers and dancers, rather than having to select only as many as we could fit on-stage.

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Island Bay Festival Parade 2023

The long parade along The Parade

Wellington Batucada at Island Bay Festival Parade 2023. Photo by Deborah Shuker.

We’ve been doing the Island Bay Festival parade for a few years now – it’s one of just a few local parades in suburban Wellington, and we always enjoy it. This year was an earlier start than usual – with heaps of festival activities planned for later on in the afternoon, the organisers had decided to kick things off nice and early on Sunday morning.

It’s a long way down The Parade to the waterfront, and perhaps saving the best until last – or maybe it’s because we’re not particularly speedy – we always get placed almost at the end – just in front of the horses (poor things!).

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