WHAT WE DO
We are a fun and friendly afro-latin dance school in Castlemaine, central Victoria. Milla Dance is proof that people from diverse backgrounds can find stimulating connections through music and dance — and improve their fitness at the same time. The passionate and energetic rhythms of Cuban Salsa, Afro-Colombian and West African dances all start in our lively, enjoyable classes. Along with our weekly sessions, Milla Dance creates showcases and workshops for different settings such as high schools, universities, corporate events, cultural events, weddings and parties.
Our Founder, Camila Serrano, grew up in Colombia. After a stint in New York, where she met her Australian husband, she has finally settled in Castlemaine Victoria with her family. Her passion is making cross-cultural connections through movement and dance. Camila trained as a psychologist and has extensive experience sharing her culture through dance and storytelling.
HOW WE STARTED
In 2015 the Castlemaine State Festival brought a Cuban band — “El Son Entero” — to Australia to perform over 10 days. Camila hosted the band’s manager Seila in her home. Following an epic week and a half of celebratory music and dancing Seila told her: “Why don’t you start a salsa dance school in Castlemaine. You dance very well.” So Camila started a Cuban Salsa dance school along with hosting Salsa Social dance evenings. She also organised cultural events where she introduced the beauty of Colombian music, dance and culture to many regional Australians.
Camila undertook Cuban Salsa teacher training in Sydney. She also wanted to explore her Afro-Colombian mother’s roots and completed training in African dance. In 2019 Milla Dance hosted a cultural event at Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal to share our love of dance and our students performed three different acts: Afro Fit, Afro-Colombian and Cuban Salsa. The community joined in on special dance classes for this two-day cultural showcase.
In 2019 Argentinian drummer Gianni Boragine joined the Milla Dance team to offer live drumming during dance classes.
Camila creates spaces that acknowledge cultural diversity where the history of dances is respected. She thinks that the more variety of dance styles that exist in a community, the more empathy we will develop towards seeing the diversity and the varied forms where we come from. She loves to invite people to try, to dance, moving the body it moves the mind and the soul.
Milla Dance has a purpose to connect and uplift communities through the power of dance. We acknowledge and embrace differences, create an awareness of diversity and bring different cultures together in regional Australia.
We respect and acknowledge Colombian Indigenous and West African people, their roots and their dance forms that we practice. We also acknowledge and pay our respects to the Dja Dja Wurrung people on whose Country where we live, dance and perform.
Camila grew up in Bucaramanga, in the northern part of Colombia. She has always loved singing and dancing and Afro-Colombian dances were part of her school curriculum. Camila was fortunate to have learned and performed many styles of dance through her school’s amazing performing arts program and has performed throughout Colombia.
After training as a psychologist and living in New York (where she met her Australian husband) Camila has now settled in Castlemaine to raise her family. Being so far away from her homeland has motivated Camila to study her heritage through music, dance and cultural appreciation and she brings a Latin vibe into everything she does. Dancing makes her feel at home, happy, and most importantly alive. Sharing her heritage with regional communities to encourage awareness and respect gives her immense joy.
Gianni Felipe Boragine is a djembe* player and drum maker. Respect, love and warmth are the words that define African music for Gianni. He was born in Argentina and his study of percussion instruments led him to African rhythms via Mexico and his beloved teachers, Daniela Mora in Cordoba Argentina, and Diarra Conde in Chile.
Gianni’s love of drums has merged into beautiful craftsmanship as he learnt to carve and make his own drums. This meditative craft has given Gianni precision and patience. To be able to invest time and energy to create instruments with natural materials to create music is a special privilege Gianni is profoundly respectful of.
* From Wikipedia: A djembe or jembe is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose. ]
Castlemaine St Mary's Hall
Tuesdays and Fridays:
Castlemaine West End Hall
Castlemaine Seniors Citizen Centre