Taina Gaitan wants show Nelson it doesn’t need to fly to Latin America to shake its hips or dance the samba.
Gaitan is among the organizers behind A Journey Through Las Americas, which runs at the Capitol Theatre on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
The event will feature performances by 50-to-60 Nelson and Castlegar residents originally of Latin American countries including Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Martinique, Columbia, Nicaragua, Peru, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
“We’re going to bring that culture to Nelson and share with everyone.”
The performances are framed as a flight through Latin American countries. Each country will be represented with acts that include music and dances such as the bachata or salsa. Traditional dishes like Brazilian brigadeiros will also be available.
Gaitan is on the Capitol Theatre’s board, and pitched the event as the theatre’s first post-COVID fundraiser. It’s also a rare chance for residents to introduce their native cultures to their adopted hometown.
“Most of them say they haven’t had any opportunity to show exactly what is this dance from their country. It’s very hard. They are very happy to have the opportunity to give this to Nelson.”
Nelson has a small population of Latino immigrants. Gaitan immigrated to Canada with her family five years ago, and found the culture shock difficult to adapt to. Even now she only knows two other native Panamanians who live in the area.
But recently a community of native Latinos have started to find each other. Gaitan said whenever she hears someone speak Spanish she introduces herself. If they are a recent immigrant, Gaitan tries to help them with the basics of living in Canada.
“There is a lot of support now in the Latino community, not just with our dancing or culture. More like we are here to support everyone and tell everyone our experience.”
Tickets for A Journey Through Las Americas are patron’s choice of either $25, $40 or $100 and can be purchased either online at capitoltheatre.ca or in person at the theatre’s box office located at 421 Victoria St. The box office is open Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.