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How to become part of Wellington Batucada

Wellington Batucada is for everyone, regardless of experience. We have a range of authentic Brazilian instruments that beginners are welcome to use and we encourage people to come and check us out at one of our regular Sunday rehearsals.

Batucada BeatThe band rehearses for two hours every Sunday from 3pm to 5pm. Our rehearsal space is at the Cook Island Hall, 220 Hanson St, Newtown. Park in the Hanson Street car park and walk up the track to the hall.

Occasionally we also hire the Pipe Band Hall for beginners’ classes and sectionals, which is situated on the left-hand side of the Hanson Street car park. Drummers and dancers sometimes rehearse separately for the first hour and then come together for the second hour.

You are welcome to come and watch rehearsals, but in order to become a member, drummers and dancers must participate in our beginners’ classes.

Beginners’ drum classes for 2021 (and 2022)

The long-awaited 2021 Beginners Workshops have begun and are fully subscribed

Once a year we run a block of beginners’ drumming classes. These are held on Sundays from 1pm to 3pm, before our regular band practice. All are welcome in our inclusive workshops.

The 2021 workshops run for 6 weeks on Sunday afternoons 1pm – 3pm, 9 May – 13 June.

The cost is $120 for the course.

Drumming Workshops take place at Cook Islands Society Hall, 220 Hanson St, Newtown (see map).

Overview of the course

This is an opportunity learn the basic techniques and patterns on a number of instruments and cover the rhythms of Brazil including samba, samba reggae and merengue. You will be guided by our directors Darryn Sigley and Tim Cooke into the wonderful world of samba.

In Wellington Batucada we play nine different percussion instruments. Find out more about our drums and other percussion.

You’re welcome to stick around and listen to the main rehearsal after each class – and we encourage our beginners to do this, as it gives you an idea of our choreography and our range of rhythms, patterns and breaks before you actually have to play them!

Cost

If you’ve already registered for this year and haven’t paid already, please pay the $120 course fee ASAP via internet banking to:

Wellington Batucada
38-9012-0348830-00
Reference “Your Name” and “Beginners”

There’s also a special price of $25 for Batucada members who are keen to learn a new instrument or refresh your skills.

Registering your interest in the 2022 course

The 2021 course is now full. We’re already accepting expressions of interest in the 2022 course, so get in touch. Fill in the “Find out more” form on this page to register your interest for next year.

Beginners’ dance classes for 2021 (and 2022)

The long-awaited 2021 Beginners Workshops have begun and are fully subscribed

Wellington Batucada has a dedicated dance troupe, in addition to our drummers, and each of our performance pieces incorporates a choreographed dance sequence that matches the drumming pattern. Once a year we run a block of beginners’ dance classes, and all are welcome in our inclusive workshops, regardless of experience – even if you’ve never danced before! These are held on Sundays from 1pm to 3pm, before our regular band practice.

The 2021 workshops run for 6 weeks on Sunday afternoons 1pm – 3pm, 9 May – 13 June.

The cost is $120 for the course.

Dance Workshops take place at the Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre. NOTE THIS IS A CHANGE OF VENUE to accommodate more dancers.

For the 6 June session, we will meet at Wellington Pipe Band Hall, Corner of Hanson St, Newtown (see map).

Overview of the course

Our dance directors Arawhetu Berdinner and Hillary Reid cover the basics of samba dance, guiding you through our dance moves and choreography, all of which are linked to the various rhythms, patterns and breaks played by the drummers. You will get to dance alongside members of Wellington Batucada while our Dance Directors teach choreography from our repertoire. No dance experience required and everyone is welcome (all genders).

Cost

If you’ve already registered for this year and haven’t paid already, please pay the $120 course fee ASAP via internet banking to:

Wellington Batucada
38-9012-0348830-00
Reference “Your Name” and “Beginners”

There’s also a special price of $25 for Batucada members who are keen to refresh your skills.

Registering your interest in the 2022 course

The 2021 course is now full. We’re already accepting expressions of interest in the 2022 course, so get in touch. Fill in the “Find out more” form on this page to register your interest for next year.

Becoming a member

Once you have completed the beginners’ course, if you decide you’d like to join Wellington Batucada, you will begin attending main rehearsals with the rest of the band. Membership is $45 per year for both drummers and dancers, or $35 for students/unwaged.

Members only: Fill in our annual membership form online.

We send out a group email each week to all our members to keep you informed about gigs, rehearsals and any other news we need to share with you. We also provide our members with a PDF copy of our instrumental patterns book, which shows the musical notation for each of our rhythms and pattern variations for all our instruments – very useful for practicing at home!

Performing with Wellington Batucada

Generally known as earning your uniform – but also known as earning your trousers!

Everyone is different. Some people arrive at Wellington Batucada with absolutely zero experience in playing any kind of instrument, while others may already have musical skills or previous drumming and/or dance experience. If you’ve started from scratch it may take a little longer, and if you’re already an accomplished musician or dancer it may be a bit quicker, but on average once you’ve been with us for 6-18 months you will probably feel ready to perform with the band.

Getting signed-off to perform

When you’re ready to perform (and there’s no set time period – it’s when you are ready) you can ask one of our directors to watch you playing or dancing during a rehearsal. They will assess your ability and look at whether you know the rhythms, breaks and choreography well enough to perform and whether you can keep up with the speed at which we play.

At the end of the rehearsal they will give you their feedback and tell you whether they think you’ve reached the standard needed to perform. Some people get signed-off at their first attempt, and for others the directors may recommend that you spend a bit more time practicing before inviting them to re-assess you.

This assessment process allows us to retain our “everyone welcome” philosophy while ensuring that our performances reach the required standard of excellence.

Uniforms for drummers

We’ve had a few different official Batucada uniforms – initially we had one white, one black – consisting of a t-shirt or singlet and a pair of trousers. White uniforms were usually worn for day performances, and black ones at night. Then we changed to a single black uniform that we wore all the time. More recently we’ve updated again to multicoloured T-shirts (you can choose between red, blue, green or yellow, or buy all four if you want) and your own choice of white trousers, shorts, skirt or capri pants. Once you’ve been signed off you can buy the official T-shirts, the cost of which is subsidised by Wellington Batucada to keep prices affordable for everyone. Uniforms are mandatory for all performances.

Sevens Parade 2010

Leading the Sevens Parade, 4 February 2010
Photo by Lance Andrewes

For special occasions, such as CubaDupa, we make additional costume elements such as headdresses, capes and wristbands which add to the spectacle. For the past three years we have designed our own CubaDupa fabric and have used that to make costumes for all our performers.

Wellington Batucada at the Cuba Street Carnival

Cuba Street Carnival, 22 February 2009
Photo by Murray Short

Uniforms for dancers

The basic Wellington Batucada uniform for dancers consists of a white top, singlet or T-shirt – plus a multicoloured flowing skirt for women and white trousers for men. You provide your own top and skirt/shorts/pants in whatever style you like, and add flowers, sparkles and whatever else you wish.

Wellington Batucada at the 2011 Hastings Blossom Festival

Wellington Batucada at the 2011 Hastings Blossom Festival
Photo by Geoff Infield

Our dancers generally get together for a sewing bee to make new costumes every year or so, often to coincide with a big event such as the Wellington Sevens, CubaDupa or the Rugby World Cup. The cost is subsidised by Wellington Batucada to keep prices affordable for everyone. Uniforms are mandatory for all performances.

Our general-purpose uniform is quite modest by samba standards, but for special occasions, such as CubaDupa, we make costumes that are much closer to Brazilian-style carnaval – and therefore somewhat more revealing.

Batucada dancers at Cuba Street Carnival 2009

Batucada dancers at Cuba Street Carnival 2009
Photos by Chandima, Michael Edge-Perkins and Andrew Gorrie

We also have a range of other Wellington Batucada official clothing for sale to members, including Batucada t-shirts, sweatshirts and zipped hoodies.