Cali style Salsa triumphs and Ballet dancers dominate
Britain's most popular Latin Dance Performers are revealed today in the Latin-UK Awards 2014 (The LUKAS). Winners were chosen after two months of voting by the British public and the verdicts of a panel of expert judges.
From Spanish Flamenco to Argentine Tango, via Caribbean Salsa, Brazilian Samba, and Kizomba, the genres that have captured the British imagination, whether at pub classes or on Saturday night television, have been judged by those who know them best; Latinos who grew up with them and lovers of Latin culture.
Cali style salsa won the public and judges' vote, following a global trend, with Sami & Roxy storming through to become Salsa Performers of the Year and Cali swing winning Salsa School of the Year. Tango couple Kim & David win best Latin Dancers of the Year, with Rachel Greenberg as runner up. The flamboyant samba show Tropicalia won Brazilian Dance Performers of the Year, with London School of Samba winning Brazilian Dance School of the Year.
"Every year the quality of the LUKAS dance winners just gets better and better." said Richard Marcel, Strictly choreographer. "All these were deserved wins from the UK's most talented and hard-working Latin artists...UK Latin Gold...and I'm looking forward to working with them to put on a great show at the gala ceremony."
The plethora of Latin American ballet dancers at the Royal Ballet has invaded the Personality of the Year Award, with Principal Couple Thiago Soares (Brazil) and Marianela Nuñezno joining First Dancer Fernando Montaño (Colombia) as finalists. The 'Personality' winner will be revealed at the LUKAS Gala ceremony at KOKO on 30th April, where dance winners from all genre will perform in a spectacle choreographed by Strictly's Richard Marcel. One of Spain's most popular Flamenco dancer's Rafael Amargo will also perform.
LUKAS director Amaranta Wright says: "The British public have been fascinated by Latin dances for decades, but rarely have these dances been celebrated in their cultural context. It is about time that the real stars of the show come out from behind the scenes as choreograohers and Teachers to the celebrites and TV shows and take their rightful place in the spotlight."
Tens of thousands of Latinos and others voted for their favourite Latin dance performers, teachers and schools of the year over the last two months. In all, 234 nominations were submitted for 11 Dance Awards.
The winners of the awards for outstanding contribution to dance are:
· Tango Performers of the YearKim & David
· Tropical Performers of the Year Sami & Roxy
· Brazilian Dance Performers of the Year: Tropicalia
· Tango Teacher of the Year: Raquel Greenberg
· Tropical Dance Teacher of the Year: Saulo and Sabine
· Brazilian Dance Teacher of the Year: Monika Molnar
· Zumba Teacher of the Year: Sonia Lollia
· Kizomba Teacher of the Year: Eddy Vents
· Tropical Dance School of the Year: Cali Swing UK
· Flamenco School of the Year: Ilusion Flamenca
· Dance or Music Festival of the Year: Scottish Salsa Congress
The LUKAS is the only annual award ceremony to recognise the contributions of one million Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese residents to British life. Now in its third year, it is the fastest-growing awards ceremony in the UK and most media-covered Latin event.
The award winners will pick up their awards at a gala ceremony held at the legendary KOKO venue in central London on Wednesday 30 April. It will be hosted by Cuban Fury star Yanet Fuentes and Boris Izaguirre, one of the Spanish world's biggest TV show hosts.
People voted in seven award categories marking contributions to the arts, music, sport, dance, food, business and community. More than 1200 individuals and organisations were nominated for one of 56 LUKAS awards.
The event is organised by Latinolife, the UK's leading Latino lifestyle magazine. Visit www.thelukas.co.uk.
- ends -
Notes to editors
The runners-up for the Dance Awards are:
· Tango Performers of the Year: Raquel Greenberg
· Tropical Performers of the Year: Osbanis & Aneta (Deakocan)
· Brazilian Dance Performers of the Year: Oi Brasil!
· Tango Teacher of the Year: Tanguito
· Tropical Dance Teacher of the Year: Misael Cordero
· Brazilian Dance Teacher of the Year: Ella Mesma
· Zumba Teacher of the Year: Liliana Martins
· Kizomba Teacher of the Year: Christian Jean-Francois
· Tropical Dance School of the Year: Pexava Dance
· Flamenco School of the Year: Escuela de Baile
· Dance or Music Festival of the Year: 5 Star London Salsa Congress
The winners and runners-up were decided with the public vote counting for 50% and the remaining 50% by votes from a panel of experts.
Last year's LUKAS awards were presented by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, fashion queen Vivienne Westwood and ballet star Tamara Rojo. The LUKAS were founded by journalist, writer and social entrepreneur Amaranta Wright and Latin DJ, producer and promoter Jose Luis Seijas.
More quotes: "The LUKAS are doing a great job celebrating and rewarding the talent and efforts of our cultures in the UK and Europe." Juanes, multi-Grammy award winner and currently the world's most popular all-speaking Spanish-speaking artist.
"In the United States they've been recognising the quality and popularity of Latin and Spanish music for years. With so many Latinos in Europe and the popularity of the culture here, it is natural that we should have our own awards of this side of the Atlantic." David Bisbal, Spain's most successful pop artist of the last decade.
Wednesday 30th April
KOKO, 1a Camden High St, London NW1 7JE
Doors open: 6.30pm
Tickets £10, £50 VIP www.thelukas.co.uk/tickets
Hotline: 07868 715 249 or 07725 368 361