Latin and Cuban dance enthusiasts descended on the Rotorua Night Market tonight, giving locals a taste of what's in store for the annual Aotearoa Cuban Festival this weekend.

With an array of swaying hips and bright colours, market goers were treated to interactive entertainment from professional instructors, followed by a Cuban street party.

Locals of all-ages got to have a turn at giving the rumba, conga and even the cha-cha a go.

Instructor Adrian Medina said they were really excited to perform tonight and bring a little bit of "Cuban flavour" to the markets.

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Medina said the Night Market was always such a welcoming place and it embraced what Cuban dancing was all about - community.

Christina Monneron, an instructor from Australia, said the festival in Rotorua was the most culturally-authentic in the Southern Hemisphere.

Monneron was so inspired by it, she started up her own overseas.

Instructors Adrian Medina (left), Liza Kohunui, Christina Monneron, Vivio Ramos and Rafael Ferrer all danced at the Night Markets tonight. Photo / Caroline Fleming.
Instructors Adrian Medina (left), Liza Kohunui, Christina Monneron, Vivio Ramos and Rafael Ferrer all danced at the Night Markets tonight. Photo / Caroline Fleming.

Tonight's event was the last of the free community classes, before the festival starts tomorrow.

From today through to Sunday, the festival will see more than 24 hours of workshops, ranging from beginner to advanced skill levels.

The workshops will take place at the Lakes Performing Arts Centre on Hinemoa St, starting with a whakatau opening, similar to a pōhiri, from 4.45pm tomorrow.

The festivities will go late into the night, moving to Crates n Cues on Pukuatua St for an after party and showcase Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets start from $40.

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The New Zealand Cuban Festival Trust chairwoman Kate Maguire said the free community events had been fun, with participants of all ages getting involved.

She said the numbers had been better than ever.

Participants were guided by 13 instructors, four from Australia and the remainder from around New Zealand.

The festival is in its sixth year in Rotorua, and is the largest community-based Cuban dance and music event in the country.

Event organisers were excited this year to be hosting the Cuban Ambassador Mario Alzugaray Rodriguez.

A percussion expert and New Zealand Salsa champions from Auckland, were also there for the first time.

A schedule and tickets are available on the website, www.nzcubanfestival.co.nz.

Iwi Te Whau showing some Cuban pride. Photo / Caroline Fleming
Iwi Te Whau showing some Cuban pride. Photo / Caroline Fleming