Congress/Festival Reviews

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

  1. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon Clave Commander

    Feedback should not complaining, should it? :) And blaming everything on tempodrome means we can already predict next years complaints.. Expensive water, cutting dance time short, bad dancefloor and arrangements, crowdedness, and so on. Good thing - they'll shorten the ads and other TV watching events.
  2. vit

    vit Clave Commander

    I don't understand why people are complaining about no own drinks on the workshops. Since they are owercrowded, they are not useful to learn anyway. So it ends up being similar like in theater - there is a salsa megacelebrity on the stage and there is audience, just that instead of sitting, they move a bit, trying to do something roughly resembling things happening on the stage. And in theater, own drinks are usually not allowed either. Simple and cost/time effective solution is avoid congress classes or attend them on smaller congresses
  3. Al Israel

    Al Israel Tumbao

    I was in Berlin a few years ago, the workshop format makes workshops useless and the drinks are overpriced. Social dancing was great but the sensual room was terrible because it is round. I considered coming back because I saw parties were till 10 AM but with the shortened parties not as exciting IMO. EL sol has parties till 10, I am a big fan of long congress parties as they allow you to dance at your own pace without worrying about the party ending.
    vit likes this.
  4. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    Star of salsa festival organised by the SOS Crew January 2017
    It's a relatively small congress other a week end.
    The price was very affordable especially considering it takes place in London.
    In December the party pass was £30 and full pass £60. For the full pass there is only one full day of workshops plus some 1h classes before parties.

    This year the party were organised in 3 different venues in central location.
    - Friday near London bridge. 2 dancefloors with the same music playing and another one (more like a bar area) open later with another DJ playing.
    The place was very hot. One of the room has a concrete floor but people were spilling powder so it was ok. The other room was packed.
    - Saturday near King's Cross station: big venue with high ceiling. Enough space to dance but as always people who still manage to dance in your line. :meh:
    The floor was slippery, at least for me with dance shoes.
    - The Royal national hotel where SOS is held every sunday. They used the full room for this event with 3 dancefloors in the same room.
    - The workshop were in another venue, I think a dance studio

    The parties finished early: 4am the friday and saturday and 1am on Sunday.
    The music was mainly mambo/crossbody with hints of bachata.
    One kizomba was played each night.:wacky:
    There were few cuban songs also (maybe 4 songs on sunday), nothing crazy but more than last year .
    I'm not sure why they invite cuban and kizomba dancers to give workshop but don't play those musics.
    The DJ's were good some more to my taste but that's a more a question of each person taste I guess.
    The sound system wasn't good on saturday, maybe due to the shape of the venue.

    Congrats for the prices at the bar Saturday. £1 for water or soft and I think £3 for alcohol.;)

    On Friday I couldn't see anything so I gave up.
    I saw only the Sunday ones as they were in the middle of the party. No thing special to say about them, usual shows...

    I haven't done any. They were done by a mixture of international and local teachers.

    - Mostly London/UK people with some people from abroad. Apparently this year was the highest in term of foreign attendees.
    I managed to dance with people I don't think I have danced with before for the majority.
    - Equal lead/follow balance. Maybe lead heavy at the end of parties but no problem for dancing.
    - A couple of drunk ladies on Saturday (the booze was cheap). I don't know for the guys
    - Pleasant people, not too much attitude.
    - Not too much a place to meet and bond. With fewer workshops, no afternoon social, boat trip or pool party, etc, it's harder to get to know people.
    - I got few polite rejections
    - The level was very good. They were some beginners who seemed to be lost.

    General impression:
    I had a good time. It was in London where I live so I didn't have to travel or stay in a hotel.
    The pass was cheap. I recommend it to anyone living in London or nearby.
    For people coming from abroad, I would say only if you miss good dancers in your local scene or you are passing by or want to do some sight seeing.
    Al Israel likes this.
  5. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    PISC 2017: Paris

    One of the posh and expensive area of Paris: Porte maillot.
    Easily accessible by tube, train, coach, car.

    The festival took place in the Hyatt Hotel. All the workshop and parties were at the 4 floor where you already have a nice view.
    Some attendees stayed in the expensive rooms of the Hyatt. Paris being a small city it was easy to find some cheaper hotels/airbnb within a short tube/uber ride.
    The venue is quit big. Apparently it was bigger last year but under refurbishment this year. They limited to 2000 the number of dancers this year.

    Nothing to notice, every thing seemed well organised. I got my pass in like 2 min.
    The security and staff were nice and welcoming.
    There were some clear signs on what was happening where and when.
    The workshops started and finished on time.
    The drinks were a bit pricey (4 euro for a glass of juice). Water was 2 euro though. The festival pass was expensive anyway.

    A lot of on2 workshops which is surprising as Paris scene is mainly on1. The other ones were on1, cuba, bachata, kizomba workshops.
    I did few of them, some were just entertaining, some useful. Terry and Cecil workshops were nice but jam packed and it was hard to see the stage.
    The rotation system wasn't very good.

    I just quickly saw one or two the first night. I can't really comment on the quality.
    The first night almost all the attendees were watching them when I arrived even though two other rooms were open for dancing.
    They started late on Saturday apparently.

    From 10pm to 7am every night.:cool:
    There were 3 rooms: Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba.
    The rooms where very hot at some point.
    - Salsa room: the biggest room, even bigger on Saturday and Sunday as they extended it. It had two or three wooden floors.
    It was busy but there were enough space to dance honestly.
    There were some collisions on the dancefloor but only due to people not paying attention or starting to dance in another couple line.
    The floor was fast and slippery.
    The sound system was nice in general, a bit loud in front, a bit weak on the side floors maybe.

    - Kizomba room: a small room with a wooden floor and a huge carpet space but the wooden floor was enough anyway.
    There were too much light in my opinion and a weird light system with spot light coming straight in the eyes.
    The setup of the room wasn't engaging to dance. It was also the last room in the back.
    I have the impression that some congress organizers put some Kizomba in their congress to bring more people but don't really put a lot of effort in it.

    - Bachata room: a small room which was bigger the first night. Some space was sacrifice after to extend the salsa room.
    I'm not sure I danced on the too small wooden floor, just on the carpet.

    - No Cuban room this year because of the lack of space in the venue despite Cuban workshops. It should be back next year.

    The three nights had different dress codes (pink, white and gold, free) and people respected it in majority.

    People, atmosphere:
    People were friendly and seemed to enjoy the event. I only had general positive feedback from those I spoke to.
    A Facebook post said that 60% of the tickets were sold outside France.
    The level was pretty high (same as Warsaw at least), the only couple of beginners I danced with were just beginner in crossbody and were cuban dancers.
    I had only one on2 dance. I dance on1 by default and had only one demand to switch.
    I didn't have any really bad dance, exept 3-4 boring ones where my partners were completely passive with a moody face. I prefer them to say no upfront in that case :meh:
    It was follow heavy, you could feel it everywhere (dancefloor, sideline, bars, corridors, lifts, queue at the washroom...)
    A follow who wanted to dance could as there were always some free leads around. I got invited few times (I lead) and got only one rejection.
    I didn't see any man following or woman leading except in Kizomba.
    Dj's were awesome for me, playing the kind of music I like most of the time. Even when not dancing I was enjoying just listening to the music.
    They played some good chacha as well.
    I couldn't get my Shazaam working because I was busy dancing but if some of you know some of the chacha songs played I would like to know the names.
    I'm thinking of buying a smart watch just for this purpose :D

    The Kizomba room is the second place I spent most of my time. I love kizomba so the presence of a kizomba room is a big plus when I choose a congress.
    Nice place to be a guy as women outnumbered men there even more.
    There were always a bunch of women bored waiting on the edge for a man to invite them and the same 12-15 women always dancing.
    Some looked very upset which didn't motivate men. I saw a lot leaving with a disappointed face or coming and giving up after two minutes.
    There were sometimes more people waiting than people dancing.
    What I got from few guys I spoke to is that it was too scary to dance in that room (light, too many women, need to cross the room to invite someone, people watching)
    Add to this instructors like Kwenda Lima, Felicien getting a lot of attention.
    The music was good and the DJ's with different style were playing all kind of "Kizomba" from cardio work out semba to slow music to make babies.
    Which prove there is no need for a kizomba and guetto separate rooms at congresses, but that's another subject...

    I didn't spent much time in bachata room. The reason was that I didn't like the music played.
    I was maybe unlucky but I had the impression it was always some boring, flavorless, computer made bachata music.
    I don't even know were DJ's get those music from. Clearly not Dominican Republic, I'm not even sure from US.

    I think most of the instructor/artists/star (whatever people call them) were social dancing.
    Some of them warned during the workshops that they were existed to be invited during parties and told people not to be shy whatever is their level.
    I suspect it was a part of their contract as it is unusual to hear that.

    Conclusion: I haven't done many congresses (10ish) so my standard may be low but It was one of the best I attended. Not sure how to rank them but top 3 for sure.
    I danced so much and slept very little that I still feel tired.
    It's quit expensive. I bought an early bird pass and it was still 145 euro with no live music, pool party or afternoon social . The next year passes are already on sale and they raised the price.
    I couldn't meet the SForumers at the restaurant and still don't know who is who. I may have danced with some of you without knowing and if I did it was certainly good.
    DJ Yuca, LarsM, Chris_Yannick and 4 others like this.
  6. ctcmichael

    ctcmichael Changui

    Can anyone write a review for Mamboland Milano? It clash with my exams so I couldn't go but I would like to hear about it.
  7. Offbeat

    Offbeat El Sabroso de Conguero

    Paris Salsa Congress - 2017 edition.

    Finally opening up salsaforums, two or three weeks after the congress ended.

    One thing that stood out in stark contrast to all other congresses I attended (except Seattle) was lack of live music on any day. It would be good to have a live music at the congress of this scale. Here is my brief grading on a scale of 5.

    1. Live Music - 0
    2. D.J Music - 3 to 3.5 (I expected better music and feel for the dance floor).
    3. Friendliness - 4.5 (most friendly congress I attended)
    4. Dancing level (Leader's perspective) - 3.5 (compared to Warsaw which I would rate at 4)
    5. Lead/Follow Ratio - 3.5; Slightly follow heavy, but since there were so many people, there were always leaders available on the sidelines.
    6. Organization - 5 (very well organized).
    7. Venue - 2.5; It is under renovation. Should get better. The location is very good. The venue is very expensive. No food after 10pm. Breakfast was 20 Euros if not included in your room.
    8. Shows - I didn't witness any shows.
    9. Social dance time - 4.5 (the dancing went on till 7am everyday)
    10. Expenses - 1; more expensive than NYC congress!
    11. Workshops - didn't attend any.
    12. Hotel Wifi - 0.5 - Worst Wifi and internet experience in my life!!!!

    I carried injury into the congress and didn't have my full range of motion. It affected my experience. This is most friendly congress that I have attended. I would say slightly better than Warsaw in terms of friendliness. I can remember only one rejection or may be two the entire 4 nights I danced.

    After attending Amsterdam, Warsaw and Paris, I have started to recognize some faces. It seems on there is a certain segment of social dancers who are permanent representatives of the congress circuit - they usually happen to be from eastern seaboard of USA and London. And a couple from west coast of USA. These dancers are usually busy dancing with each other or those that they know which is natural.

    There was no live band. It would have been great to have a few hours of live music by a good band. Especially give the price for passes and how well attended this festival is in an expensive city like Paris.

    I would have expected a better DJ music. Especially to read the dance floor. Music wasn't bad. Just the way music flowed through the night left more to be desired. I would have loved more variety within the music. They did play a good amount of cha-cha on all nights, which is good.

    I don't think anything can be done about airconditioning when there are so many people crowded in that space. The hall was spacious enough to dance.It got hot very quickly. I always prefer staying in the venue hotel because I can take a quick break to run back to my room, shower and change. At Paris I was really glad I was in the venue hotel. I must have changed on average at least three times every night.

    About 10-15% of my dances were with the followers I had danced before in Amsterdam or Warsaw few months back. On the first night of the congress, I got in may be about 20 minutes after the dancing got started. For first half dozen or so danced I didn't get to ask any follower. The beginning of the night was follower heavy. First six or seven dances., I was asked by a follower. Some other leaders had similar experience that night. At one time in the night, when I was dancing, there were 4 or 5 followers standing right next to the edge of the floor where I was dancing. The pressure was too much :) [which of five followers whose eyes are following you, do you ask to dance!]. As soon as I finished my dance I darted off to get water. I am not use to be in a position of having to ask one of five or six followers who are all standing right next to each other!! It was not unusual to get to asked to dance at pre-party or at the congress.

    Either the Russians had taken over the congress, or for some strange reason I ended up dancing with a lot of Russians every night. More than Warsaw, where there was a strong Russian contingent. For the first two nights, I may have danced with only three or four locals!

    I thought most of the dancing was on2. I can remember very few requests to dance on1. The good part was that the Bachata and Kizomba rooms were not that happening. After the first night they cut Bachata room to half the size and shifted the recovered space for salsa :) For the size of salsa room and people dancing there, the Bachata and Kizomba were minuscule in comparison.

    The best part was of course meeting the SF people! Always great to have them around. I missed out on the dinner because I simply forgot about it. I don't read SF when I am not at work on my desktop. Several of us completely forgot about it. T

    The last part that must be mentioned! Presenceon2 is a celebrity. Even after the social dancing and night ends, he has at least half a dozen followers gathered around him. You see followers lining up to dance with a celebrity. But after the dancing ends? When you ever see them lining up for a leader :D Anything less than half a dozen is disappointment! The guy is hugely hugely popular :D :D. To anyone that asked me where to find Presenceon2, my reply was simple - look for any place with a lot of girls :p
  8. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon Clave Commander

    If I'd live in Manhattan or London zone1 I'd also rent my 99 square feet apartment over weekend and for this money you'd have cheap flights and festival expenses covered. :)

    I also was wondering about that before. And why there are much more good Russian dancers than any others? Until I realized that they are largest ethnic group in Europe, so it's pretty natural distribution. Last Sunday in our local salsa party we had 20% people from St. Petersburg and it was because they had connecting flights/buses. That city is so big their salsa scene probably did not notice. :D
  9. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    Why was it a good thing that the bachata and kizomba room were not happening? That was one of my disappointment. Having so many people and such a poor experience in those dances...
    I also missed a Cuban room which should be back next year.
    For the Russian contingent, I think they just love Paris in general. I had the impression at least for the follows that they were not dancing that much if not at all.
  10. Offbeat

    Offbeat El Sabroso de Conguero

    Is that true? I wouldn't have guessed that Russians would form largest ethnic group in Europe!
  11. Offbeat

    Offbeat El Sabroso de Conguero

    I dislike sensual bachata. Even when I like dancing bachata, I will only dance a few songs. I hardly dance kizomba and can't take that music for more than 15 minutes.

    Al Israel likes this.
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I am not surprised.. !
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    They also dominate the Prof BR world in standard and latin..
    has a lot to do with their work ethic and the age they start to learn..
    Smejmoon likes this.
  14. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon Clave Commander

    And salsa scene has a lot of retired ballroom dancers.
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  15. Aurel

    Aurel Son Montuno

    Has anyone been to the Mamboland 2017 in Milano and could post a review?
  16. Offbeat

    Offbeat El Sabroso de Conguero

    I am aware of that. I think almost 50% of our local BR instructors are Russians. I think almost 30% of our local Tango scene is Russian. It is very rare that my dance with a Russian and/or East European follower (in any dance category) is a disappointing one (irrespective of their levels).
  17. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    Any reviews on the recent Salsa Bachata festival in NYC or the LA Salsa Festival? I saw some of the live streams on the net. I got the impression that it would have be nice if both events could have somehow been combined.
  18. Offbeat

    Offbeat El Sabroso de Conguero


    I am wondering if with the last minute venue change and passing away of Albert Torres, if the LA congress got a lot of support of the locals.
  19. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    Haven't heard much about LA but the bands sounded good on the live stream.

    People were complaining about the NYC event being $40 despite no live band. The shows looked ok on the live stream. Some people said the DJs were soso.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

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