Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
Friday night on board the Victoria Star, Under the Stars
The Launch Cruise Party celebrates Latino culture and is open to all those who just love the colour, passion and people of Latin America.
South America and Central America, continent and group of islands alike, are surrounded by water and are cultures with strong links to the sea and maritime adventure. The tradition of cruises, be it associated with Salsa, dancing, travel, fun or even exquisite wining and dining, is a prominent part of Latin culture. There is no better way to declare the Melbourne Latin Summer Festival open, than join the Launch Cruise Party, and dance, sing or even chat the night away as the Victoria Star explores Melbourne's unique and historical waterways.
Lovers of all-things-Latin are invited to board the Victoria Star at 6.30pm from Dock 9, Central Pier, Victoria Harbour on Friday the 6th January. The Star, a double-deck cruise boat that caters for 350 people, will return to dock at 11pm. Festival organisers Casablanca Events, estimate that of this crowd, 100 may be of Latin American descent with the remaining 250 'just lovers of Latin culture'. Melbourne Salseros and Salseras are familiar with the Salsa cruises that have also been rocking our waters for the last 10 years. This cruise, however, is designed to explore to all sides of Latin culture, which means a diversity of musical, dance and entertainment traditions from the Latin world.
Boarding is at 6.30pm from Victoria Docks. On the way, check out the out-and-about summer café culture for which Melbourne is famous.
Every type of Latin music will be heard, from the traditional Salsa, Tango, Cumbia, Bachata and Samba, as well as modern, funky and even fusion styles that are designed to appeal to a younger crowd, some of whom may not familiar with traditional Latin influences and strict, classic musical styles. You can expect Casablanca to make full use of the double decking, and deliver variety within the Latin genres.
The Launch Cruise Party is only the beginning. Saturday, at the Royal Botanical Gardens becomes a free thoroughfare of Latin carnival fun.
As music is varied, so too, will dance styles. However, as it is not organised by a dance school, this is not about dance technique or practicing your skills, spins and turns. The Launch Cruise Party is all about having fun on the 'high seas', the sea which in itself a metaphor for freedom, release and true abandon.
There are still tickets left, but you will need to snap up the last remaining ones quickly. If you risk it and pay on-collection at the dock, the cruise cost is $45, as compared to $35 for pre-purchase through the website or the Facebook event link. If you think that is a bargain price for a Latin all-night cruise you are spot-on: Casablanca have made a deliberate decision to keep the price low so as to appeal to more people, and to charge for food on-board.
Latin-style street food is prepared on the Victoria Star by an invited chef. If you want to try it out, or if the wind from the water makes you hungry, bring some extra cash to satisfy rumbling stomachs. Alcohol is also an added extra. The add-on policy means that if you do not want to eat while cruising Melbourne's waterways, then you do not pay for that which you don't consume.
Other Festival Events
Casablanca Events have worked with The City of Melbourne to put Latin American culture in the spotlight. Getting on board the Victoria Star is a great way for friends and work groups to kick-off 2017.
The Launch Cruise Party is only the beginning. On Saturday January 7th The Melbourne Latin Summer Festival becomes a daytime cultural festival with over 100 entertainers and artists ready to enliven the Royal Botanical Gardens. This is a free event, from 12pm-11pm and is family friendly. Events and activities include: a Mardi-Gras style parade with musicians, dancers and circus acts, dance and Latin-exercise classes throughout the day, Latin street-food, hand-made and cooked onsite, handicrafts, exhibitions, improvised busking, interactive performances and a mega-beer garden for well-earned time-out.
It doesn't end there: after the one-day carnival, there is a Salsaton After Party at Copacabana in Smith Street, Melbourne's Latin heartland. Tickets for all-night dancing to two live bands (Bahia and LA 45) start at $8.50 if you buy pre-paid. The party winds up at 3am Sunday morning.
Be aware that Friday's temperature is estimated to be in the mid-30s and this cruise begins in daylight, with the sun speaking its mind. Bring a hat and sunscreen and please take particular care of young children. Wind burn and solar reflection can be equally as powerful as the sun and it does creep up on you.