Congress/Festival Reviews

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Offbeat, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    I also thought the salsa room at El Sol was mostly On2. Or maybe I was just watching The Presence dancing too much. :)
    But yes, I started each song On2 by default, and the followers seemed happy with the choice. All-in-all, I liked the level of dancing, and saw little 'attitude'. Can't remember one bad song.

    But I did like the bachata room music. Seemed like a mix of modern 'romantic' hits, cheezy pop songs, and traditional music. Like someone else mentioned about the Cuban room, the marble floor was far too slippery.

    Great idea to have inexpensive food for sale all night. Also the free wine from El Sol. But that was for us early birds. :)

    The one funny thing I noticed was a few women who looked like models, totally dressed-to-kill and made up, walking around the room in a group, and looking completely unapproachable (like VIPs in an exclusive 'normal' club, as I'd imagine it).
  2. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Was this in Bachata or Salsa room? :D

    I didn't notice anything like that in Salsa room, but why do you say they were unapproachable? :) Because they were dressed to kill and you didn't want to die? :p
    SnowDancer likes this.
  3. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    I had the same experience on1 although I've been asked on2 sometimes. By default or if given the choice I was dancing on1.

    I noticed those groups of women as well, the hype highschool cheerleaders types :D
    Some were parts of the performance groups they were wearing there stage outfits partially sometimes. I think they were just celebrating and releasing the stress after being on stage.
    Some others were acting like VIPs as you said with the arrogant attitude, the "look at me I'm model" walk nose in the air. They would walk around the salsa room or in the lobby outside taking selfies.
    Question: have you seen them dancing?
    You always have those cliques in festivals just parading and never dancing unless it involved a large audience watching them. Warsaw being one of the biggest they were just more.
    But any way even if there were 20 of them (let's see big and say 40 max) out of 2000 women that's a nothing.
    So men have all the opportunities to have a good time.:dancingbanana:

    Talking about dress to kill, as there were no dress code, it was funny to see that women made effort to dress to impress while men were rocking their best pairs of jeans and t-shirts (except the usual on2 blazer, pocket square, skinny pants dancer:p)
  4. Al Israel

    Al Israel Tumbao

    With red/white shoes and a long-sleeved dress shirt
    thepresenceon2 and mlemonl like this.
  5. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    Salsa room. Yes, didn't want to get shot down in flames.:facepalm:

    Actually, I'd usually try just to see what happens. Often, it's just a facade. But there were so many other women to ask...
  6. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    No, I never saw them on the dance floor; but I assumed they were looking for the right guys (instructors, sharp-looking men, etc).
  7. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Or may be strutting around with little interest to dance socially. Especially if they were performing. In my experience the performers spend too much time practicing to enjoy the congress. After the performance it is like a release valve. They are more interested in drinking and partying than dancing.
  8. lidiap

    lidiap Descarga

    I started a review of Fusion Salsafest in Mexico City after we came back but somehow never got back to it to finish. Before forgetting all the details (and going to the next congress this weekend), here it is:

    I went with fellow SFer MAMBO_CEC, so this combines our impressions, which were pretty much the same.

    I’ll start with the two aspects that were most important for us, the music and the social dancing (salsa only, as we're not into bachata or kizomba.) On both counts, Mexico City delivered big time! The music played by the DJs was excellent, very danceable, with lots of variety. There were only three DJs, working well together, and we believe that allowed them to present their music personalities more fully, unlike other congresses where too many DJs get to play very short sets that sometimes don’t have a great flow. One of the guys became our favorite (Mario Martinez Perez/DJ Oficial Salsero), playing lots of great mambos and dura, also not commonly heard songs, which for us is a plus. Wanted to run to him all the time to ask what song that was, but I only did it twice, lol. Late in the night another DJ was playing more romantica, which normally is not my favorite, but this guy was coming up with one nice song after the other, in the vein of Mujer Erotica or Reflexiones by Tito Rodriguez Jr., nothing boring, so it was still great dance music. One nice touch on the organizers’ part was that on Sunday night these DJs were brought on stage and presented with some awards and a nice little appreciation speech, recognizing that they were indeed important for the event’s success. The audience cheered them warmly, I loved that. Saturday night there was also a local live band, they played well but mostly mainstream songs, and thankfully not dragging them too long. Their set was pretty short, probably about an hour or so.

    Now to the social dancing. O. M. G. The dancing was superb!!! We expected the dancing to be good based on what we had heard and a previous congress in Mexico, and indeed it was the highlight of this congress! As a follow, I absolutely love the Mexican leads! In my opinion, they are the epitome for social dancing. The first thing I noticed is how smooth and light they are, wow! No excessive patterning, no endless spinning, no mechanical dancing, no force. Amazing connection! Their excellent leading skills and technique make for the dancing to just flow easily and seamlessly, a quality I just love. In my opinion, their musicality was expressed in a more understated way, not necessarily hitting every single break or accent, but more selectively here and there. The follows were just as good, with beautiful body movement, great connection to the music, sabor, plus pleasant attitudes.

    The ratio of leads and follows appeared pretty well balanced, maybe just a few more leads. We got the impression that everyone seemed to be glad to dance with everyone, regardless of the “hotness” quotient. That was especially true for the local celebs, they were dancing with everyone, but the visiting artists too. I also noticed that many follows were doing the asking, which I didn’t quite expect in Mexico (MAMBO_CEC was getting asked), so I didn’t feel shy about asking the good leads I wanted to dance with.

    Did I say that most everyone was dancing on2? Oh yes, heaven!

    This congress confirmed our impression that many dancers in Mexico take their dancing very seriously. They were talking with respect about their teachers, and it seems like it’s just not acceptable to be a bad dancer. This is reinforced by their practice of participating in competitions (as in other Latin countries), which of course gives them another level of motivation. There were endless competitions and categories at this congress during the day (we didn’t watch any) and we saw the dancers practicing non-stop in the lobbies, even at 2 – 3 a.m.!!! Some of the competitions were broadcast live on FB. Dancers also participated en masse in the various challenges offered, we’ve never seen so many participants, by far. The kizomba challenge group was incredibly huge, we couldn’t believe it. All this tells me they are thirsty for learning and becoming good dancers.

    One thing that’s different about dancing in Mexico City is that the high altitude will have an effect on your stamina. We had spent a few days in the city before the congress and we were not bothered much by it so we kind of forgot about it. However, the first dance we had was, wow, what’s going on, why am I so tired and out of breath already? We had to pace ourselves the first night, but after that we adjusted and it wasn’t such a problem anymore.

    Shows: We did watch them, and they were pretty good. One thing to mention was that the audience was wildly supportive of their Mexican celebs, which was nice, with Karel Flores getting a giant cheer. The non-celeb (I don’t think there were any true amateurs) dancers/teams were quite good, and much better than what we typically see at American congresses. So the shows were not totally boring to watch.

    Venue: There were only two ballrooms for the event, both not large enough for the number of dancers. The dance floor in the salsa room was pretty crowded, at popular times very crowded. We peeked in the smaller bachata/kizomba room a few times, it looked jam-packed, also very dark. The AC was blasting in the main room (positively freezing during the shows) so it didn’t feel too hot. The dance floor was good.

    Hotel pros: Nice, modern, very good rooms, large, nice bathrooms. Restaurant was decent, and relatively cheap. Cons: In the middle of nowhere, nothing exciting close by, or other restaurants, except a popular drive-in taco place (huge parking lot with an army of workers, all in white clothes, running around among cars delivering tacos.)

    Organization: The shows run late and they were pretty long the first two nights. On Saturday they started super late and ended at 2 am! So the social dancing started late too, and we went back to the room at almost 7 a.m.

    On Sunday the program started much earlier and the shows took place on the main dance floor, with people sitting around, thus saving time to clear chairs, etc. The social dancing started right away after the shows, which was nice, and they used only one room with mixed music. For some reason it worked ok, the atmosphere was nice. It was the first time that we had been in an environment where they played salsa, bachata, and kizomba together and we didn’t feel like bolting for the door. Some really nice dancing in all three genres coupled with some great tracks sure helped.

    There was no water in the dancing areas! This only proved to be a minor inconvenience though, as there was plenty of bottled water in the rooms, so you only had to remember to bring it down with you. Most people however didn’t appear to drink water, but had cups with most likely alcoholic drinks.

    Nobody was too concerned about checking wrist bands during the night, only early on when entering the ballroom for the shows, after that there was no one at the doors.

    There was minimal information on the website, all announcements/updates were on FB, even the general program, so you had to keep checking so you don't miss stuff. On Sunday we didn't know that everything started much earlier so we had to shuffle dinner plans, etc.

    We didn’t take workshops, so nothing to report there.

    People were friendly and we didn’t see “attitudes”, but frankly we typically we don’t notice that at congresses, just very rarely. It was crazy how many people we knew, even though we’ve never been there before. Again it reminded us how small the salsa world really is.

    Overall we enjoyed Fusion Salsafest and would definitely go back. It was good value too, in general Mexico is cheap if you stay away from the resorts. We did go to one resort though after the congress, so we had a very nice vacation altogether.
    DJ Yuca, Sabrosura, Smejmoon and 6 others like this.
  9. Al Israel

    Al Israel Tumbao

    Sounds fun, never considered altitude effects n dancing before!
  10. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Yeah it's real! I went dancing in Cuzco in Peru, at 11,000 feet/3400 meters altitude (Mexico City is 7,000 feet/2200 meters), and after barely one dance this girl who can dance for hours was huffing and puffing :p

    There are supplements that can help with the altitude acclimatization. At high altitudes like in Peru, the body is trying to get enough oxygen, so you get effects like peeing all the time because your body is trying to make the blood thicker. I took a whole bunch of supplements when I went to Peru, which helped as I did not get any altitude sickness at all during the trip even when other tourists around me were feeling it. I only got sick once when we climbed a mountain that was over 4000 meters, the main symptom was a headache -- the worst headache I have ever had and which did not go away even after I took massive amounts of ibuprofen. It was like someone was drilling into my head for 2 hours.

    The main supplements I took were chlorophyll, Cataplex E2, and antioxidants, like vitamin C:
  11. Al Israel

    Al Israel Tumbao

    I have actually danced salsa in Cuzco! It was 9 years ago and I was a total beginner heh. At the hostel they told me not to do any strenuous activity for a couple days to acclimate, I went dancing after I got used to the altitude.
  12. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    If the DJs are good then it's definitely a better way of running things (and if the DJs are bad or so so then it's better too in a way, because it makes it clear that they shouldn't be there !)

    All sounds good too. I'm curious now - what were the 2 songs you enquired about?
  13. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Not dancing, but I have done far strenuous things at high altitude without acclimatization. But that was 5-10 years back. I am not sure how I will hold up now. Fortunately for me, I have never experienced high altitude sickness. My guess is anything that is more aerobic in nature would be a challenge. Where as something that requires more endurance, is relatively easier to deal with.

    I never taken any supplements for high altitude. I don't know how much of good idea it is to pump supplements into ones body. Of course best is to give yourself a few days to acclimatize but that means you are setting aside two three days for that.
  14. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Very high altitude for someone who is used to a low altitude is a very abnormal environment so it will be very stressful for the body to adapt to it -- thus letting "nature run its course" without any nutritional help, while "natural", is not necessarily the best course of action. Also, even with acclimatization the body deals with significantly more free radicals at high altitude (which have in fact been implicated in altitude sickness) and its own antioxidant enzymes appear to be less effective (,, so unless you are eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, antioxidant supplements are a great idea. "Pumping supplements" is a rather biased sounding expression. I am talking about taking a few natural supplements for a short period of time and which the body can easily eliminate if not needed, not drugs. The worst case scenario is they are useless and the body eliminates them, the best case is they work and they lessen the body's stress load caused by having to adapt to the high altitude. For example, selenium and vit. C and E for antioxidant benefits, and chlorophyll, which helps with oxygen transportation in the blood, which is of course the body's main problem at high altitude.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
    SnowDancer likes this.
  15. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    I seem to recall reading that natives of Peru used to chew coca leaves to help with high altitude. Not sure how legal that is today. :)
    Sabrosura likes this.
  16. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Yep, tried them myself in both Peru and northern Argentina and had coca tea too :) I thought the leaves were legal as they do not contain the highly potent substances in cocaine. Case in point, I didn't feel any effects at all from the coca leaves I chewed, so whatever effect they have is very mild. But apparently either they're illegal or "almost illegal":
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
    SnowDancer likes this.
  17. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    The Berlin guys have done their own review and feedback.
    I found it interesting, it explains a lot of things.
    I'm not sure if other organizers have done the same before:

    Conclusion: congress goers are just a bunch of whiners :p
    vit likes this.
  18. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    I really wonder who actually watches the shows expect those participating in it or those who have friends participating.
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    They did not talk about music, djs, bands in their review. And kept blaming the venue again and again. That answers all my questions.
    vit likes this.
  20. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    What do you mean? Have you heard any complain about djs and music? My personal complain would be that they didn't play Cuban music despite having Cuban artists.
    Their review is more about organisation and logistic clearly.

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