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Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to party

Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to party ... it's CARNIVAL time!

Sizzling Latin music, sultry dancing and flamboyant costumes meld together for the hottest festival of the year – Jambalaya, New Zealand’s Festival of Rhythm Dance and Carnival.

The four-day annual festival at Rotorua takes place over Easter and features top international acts alongside the best New Zealand has to offer in five theatre shows, three parties, more than 100 workshops and New Zealand’s biggest on foot street parade.

Headlining Jambalaya 2006 is world-renowned salsa guru Alex da Silva, Australian-based Cuban rhythm combo Son Veneno and Brazilian capoeira master and percussionist Cabello.

A Brazilian native, Alex da Silva developed and teaches LA style salsa and is known as an instructor and choreographer to celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Love Hewitt, P.Diddy, Will Smith and Vin Diesel.

Sydney-based Son Veneno is a world class band, bringing together some of Australia’s best vocalists, instrumentalists and rappers including Carlos Mora and Maya Jupiter. The band’s diverse repertoire of original music draws on the styles of Latin, hip hop, funk and jazz and mixes it with Afro-Cuban tradition.

The traditions of Latin music also provide roots for US-based Brazilian Cabello who has dedicated his life to the rhythms, instruments, songs and dancers of the Afro-Brazilian culture.

The international acts will perform and run workshops alongside the best of New Zealand’s Latin rhythm and dance performers including Batucada Sound Machine, direct from the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival in Australia, samba sensations Wellington Batucada and AKSamba, Cuban salsa legends Vivio and Greydis, plus the country's biggest on-foot street parade complete with plenty of colour, music and dance.

And, in conjunction with ESPN Television Network, Jambalaya 2006 also includes the New Zealand selections for the World Salsa Championships to be held in Las Vegas.

Jambalaya is at the Rotorua Convention Centre and Rotorua Sportsdome over Easter (13-16 April). Three day festival passes are $165 (plus booking fees) agive entry into all theatre shows, all open-level workshops, after parties and jam sessions. Individual tickets are also available to theatre shows, parties and workshops. Book on the website or at Ticketek. More information is available at


"Thank you so much!! I had the time of my life at Jambalaya! I'm still buzzing
a week later, and I can't wait for next year!!"

"I had no idea how much chilli and pepper lingered in some Kiwi spirits...."

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