Congress/Festival Reviews

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

  1. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I can add that DJ sets were very good, best ones from Cycy and Dmitri. There was less salsa and lower level of dancers than previous years. Šibenik is much better and many many good dancers don't go to Rovinj any more.
    I probably won't go again, but I've said thay before :D
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  2. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    Clearly dancers focused more on bachata and kizomba even if they were salsa dancers.
    Regarding the salsa music I thought it was sometimes to "mamboish" or complicated and not really in a summer mood.
    Each year I meet people who say they won't go again or that It used to be better and they still go for two weeks :D
  3. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    My first impression of Sibenik Salsa Festival:

    This was my first time to Sibenik Salsa Festival. If you don't want to read anything more - the dancing level was excellent, no shows and lot of time for dancing, mostly mambo focused dancing, only one other room that played Bachata and Kizomba alternatively every few sets. I visited sensual room (where they played bachata and Kizomba) twice or thrice a night for a few minutes (since my people I was sharing accommodation with. preferred to hang out there). They did expand the the bachata/Kizomba room to include two wooden dance floor instead of one. The number of dancers could easily fit on single wooden floor. In short, Sibenik doesn't seem to attract sensual and kizomba crowd. I need to tip hat off to the organizers that they wisely choose to label the room as "Sensual" than Bachata.

    For anyone that hasn't gone to Sibenik, don't expect it to be like any other congress or festival experience. That is primary because it is held on a private resort by the sea. Unless you have a car, it is not easy to get around. Nor is there much to go and see, anyways. Therefore for most parts you are stuck in the resort. It is a big resort with several hotels, beach cabins, etc which are all expensive. Many dancers stayed outside of resort, kilometer or two away, where you can rent apartments to share. It does take good 25 minutes to walk from the dance venue inside resort to those apartments. With temp ranging around 32-34 degrees centigrade (around 80-85 Fahrenheit), and feet tired after dancing, that 25 minutes can feel a lot longer. I stayed in one of the cabins by the beach, which was very crampy but very convenient location to get to everywhere. The best option is to stay in the hotel at the resort (the rooms are expensive). Over you do feel like you are on vacation and dancing. The resort is packed with lot of families visiting from other European cities.

    There were hardly any people from North America or Asia. Only North Americans I ran into were the instructors and one guy from LA, who happened to be there only for the last two nights. Most girls I danced with were from Germany, Russia, Solvenia, Romania, Netherlands and Poland. The size of festival is small - about 500 to 600 people over 6 days I was there. It is small enough that you can start getting to know people and big enough that there are enough people to dance with. Most people are serious salsa dancers. Dancing level is fairly high (good) and there is plenty of opportunity to dance during the day and night. During the day time you can dance on a deck by the beach from 2pm to 8pm. The social dancing in the night starts at 11 and goes on till 5am. Then there is option to dance from 5am to 8am outdoors by the same deck that you can dance in the afternoon. I didn't see any workshops myself. Half a dozen people I was sharing the cabin with attended most of the workshops. From the descriptions the workshops were properly spaced and interesting. I think in total there were probably less than 8 salsa instructors.

    There was one particular DJ in "Sensual" room that was really really really bad! Everyone agreed with that assessment. As far I remember he played most of the sets every night. The best music was at the 2pm-8pm afternoon outdoor dancing (80% salsa dura and 20% mix of Kizomba/Bachata) - most people I spoke to agreed with it. The night time salsa room music was good, but it felt like it could be much better - again a sentiment shared by some other dancers I spoke to.

    Over all very positive experience. A lot of fun and relaxing. And opportunity to meet and connect with other people, better than at any other festival I been to due to nature of the event (resort, day/night dancing, parties, etc).

    That is my short review. I have to run for meeting and may write more later.
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  4. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I'm curious to know, what you mean by " mambo " focused ? .
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  5. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Very much agree with your sentiment on the music, and I think everyone I spoke to agreed as well. Ser-J and Patrick El Clasico both played most of the daytime sets and I can't remember ever hearing so much good music. Absolutely stellar. Though they both played in the evening as well, I didn't like the sets they did there nearly as much - though the last set on Sunday was pretty sweet.

    A pretty unique experience overall. In previous years the floor has been on the beach (by the pirate ship) at night as well, which makes for a more "special" atmosphere which I preferred (not the least because of the fairly poor air conditioning!) - but they weren't allowed by the resort this year.

    Me and the gf stayed at hotel Jure and would absolutely recommend that as the best option if you can afford it. Certainly more of a mixed holiday/congress experience than most others, especially if you stay for the entire week like we did.
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  6. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    What can I add.. hotels at Šibenik totally suck for the price. We knew that. Level of dance is very high. We knew that, but I'd say even more. This is up there in the top after Rostov and Warsaw; in terms of percentage of skilled and dedicated dancers. Like in Rostov even newbies went all in. And newbies often have 10 years of experience in other dance style.

    There were plenty of Asians; just maybe @Offbeat does not recognize people from Russia and Turkey; but there were people from as far as Vladivostok and Japan. The core were Central/Southern Europe.

    Overall Rovinj is to party, do lazy sensual stuff and some good salsa in between.. Šibenik is to pound the dance floor 10 hours per day, then do the sensual stuff and beach.

    The DJs in Šibenik were good; but some excellent DJs played in Rovinj as well. They can't play in both events because politics.

    I will definitely go again. Probably rent apartment in 15-20 minute walking distance. Then I'll complain about air conditioning and dogs barking. :)

    The best would be to make such event near warm lake somewhere in Central Europe, not far from cheap airline hub and have shuttles to airport. Croatian tourism industry and climate makes it harder than necessary.

    Also Rovinj has better food. In case you care about that.
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  7. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    Pretty much the experience I had last time In Sibenik. It's a shame they don't do the night party on the beach, this was for me the strong point of this festival even beyond dance level considerations.
    Can't stop thinking about this song when I hear Sibenik

    "Groooooove til the early morning light" :sing:: that summarize it.
    Unfortunately the hotel prices are ridiculous during high season if not book a year in advance.
    Also they now do it back to back with Rovinj, good move from them as they can attract people who are already in Croatia, I know a lot of people do both. Did you do both @Smejmoon? Can you still walk after that?:D
    Also I didn't like the last day pool party, I thought they were trying too hard to do a Rovinj pool party type with the wrong people to animate it and wrong music. They didn't play enough salsa, bachata and kizomba which is why people come. House, rnb, disco and choreo animations can be fun but not there and for so long. Maybe was it different this year.

    Do artists have a contract clause to not perform at both festivals? I remember in the past seeing some of them as simple attendees in Rovinj and performers in Sibenik.
  8. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I did both and it was tough. I stopped preparties on Friday in Rovinj. Did some yoga, park exercises, gym (mistake, too much energy). Learned about stretching. Took naps as much as I could.

    I did not like that either. If I do kizomba/bachata once a year I want to do it in the pool.

    Yes. They have to choose. But many artists and even promoters of Rovinj danced in Šibenik. I'm not sure who's artist and who's not, before they become my friends, because I skipped all shows in all fests, sorry. :) Many people have stopped going to Rovinj alltogether.
  9. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    - No Casino or Cuban style dancing
    - No timba or reggaetone songs (except may be one or two timba songs thrown in a night)
    - Many dancers preferred dancing on 2 (though there were many on1 too)
    - Hardly any Salsa romantica music
    - Salsa dura and similar music
    - great place for on2 dancing
    - Not too many Kizombies and Bachtar@s running over the place

    That may not meet your definition of "mambo" focus, but it does mine. I would go on to say any place that plays 90% straight up music that is conducive to dancing on2 and has good dancers who can dance with you on2 is mambo for me in today's day and age :) That is just my personal preference.
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  10. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I was using "Asian" term as it is normally used in North America. That is East Asians. There were far less compared to all other festivals I have been to. It is all relative :) I think I only danced with one person from Turkey. I know Turkey is spread across two continents, but politically and otherwise Turks are categorized as Europeans and not Asians. The same with Russians (even those from Siberia which is geographically in Asia). :D
  11. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    Would be interested to hear if anyone is going to Heidelberg Mambo Marathon at the end of July. Sounded interesting until I saw the 150 guest list limit. Sounds like an exclusive party for good/great dancers only. Would be so awkward getting a rejection as you'd be seeing the same person again and again. I can't imagine any beginners/intermediate dancers attending this festival given the description. Looking at the schedule, what exactly is a dancer's talk? Oh god.
  12. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I got invited, but there are no good flights and I'm not sure how this Marathon will turn out. There will be some very good dancers for sure. And such events usually are beginner friendly. It's like in family. Some are stronger, some are shorter.. ;)

    This is first time they do it, but there are some experienced organizers behind it.
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  13. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Here are the remainder of my thoughts/observations and comments

    The gender ratio seemed fairly balanced. On the first night of the pre-party (that I attended on Tuesday), there seem to be slightly more guys than the girls. I think as the event progressed there were slightly more girls than the guys. Being a smaller event, you ended up dancing with same people almost every day for most parts. It was a bit weird that on the first day, I think I got about 6 or 7 Nos (tired, sitting out, etc). But I danced for about 5 hours so it wasn't much but very noticeable. On top of that the three girls that said no, saying they were sitting out, I saw them start dancing with someone else within few seconds :D After so many years of salsa dancing and with so many others to dance with, it was merely interesting stat for me. Usually something like that happens to me may be three or four times in a year. Here it was all in a single night. When I narrated my experience to a few guys, everyone's reaction was the same - that is pretty rude. For the rest of five nights, I might have got may be two or three Nos in total. Which is more in line with the rest of the European salsa festival experiences.

    I met a number of first timers like myself, but there were were many others for whom this was their second, third or fourth time at Sibenik. It does attract the people again. The time of the year along with proximity to many countries around it, makes it easier for people to keep coming back.

    On my first day I was told that the previous year they had a big tent by the beach where the night time dancing use to take place. This year due partly due to complaints from other non-festival inhabitants and partly due to building of new conference center they moved the even indoors. That was a bit of a bummer for me personally. I would have loved to dance outdoor under the tent. I was changing my shirts three or four times a night. The bar at the night venue was far more expensive than the bar at the afternoon venue. Same drinks sometimes costed twice as much.

    They had a boat trip on Friday, with about 200 people. It was a four to five hour affair with non-stop club style music - hiphop, top 40, etc. The cool part was when the boat anchored and people were jumping off the top of the boat into the sea for a swim. The pool party on Sunday was also a break from regular salsa. I liked the lay out of the place where the pool party was held. If you forget that you are there for a salsa festival and instead think of it like a regular pool party for fun, there was a lot of fun to be had. The people were friendly to each other. Non-Salsa/Kizomba/Bachata music was good. You could jump into the sea for a swim if you wanted. People mostly behaved and I didn't notice any outlandish things going on. Everyone was in for the fun. It certainly wasn't anything like a fart party these things can descend into. After 6 days of dancing day and night, I didn't mind having a break from salsa. Earlier in the afternoon they did play some salsa, bachata and kizomba. The party was more about mixing and relaxing with your friends.

    One of the highlights was the open air concert in the city center. The organizers had arranged buses to take people there. It was on Sat night. It featured live music band playing for about 90 minutes, I think. The band was very good. I have to look up the band. After the band there were shows - about 6 of them in total I think. I could be off by one or two. The shows were very good and almost half were not the usual salsa shows. First three shows were to non-salsa music and non-salsa dancing. The level of performers was very good. No student teams or half baked performances. No torture of having to sit (stand in this case) through two hours of subpar performances. Every performance was thoroughly professional.

    At least the instructors I recognized were out dancing socially on Fri through Sunday, almost all night or in afternoon (if they weren't giving workshops) or at the morning after party and also at the pool party mixing with everyone. Overall this was least cliquish festival I been to. Though a large number of people were traveling and staying together as a group. One german group had sixteen or more people sharing two houses.
  14. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I didn't realize there was 10000 character limits to posts here :)

    I spoke to about five or six people who had been to both Rovinj and Sibenik multiple times. They all echo what is being said above. They said if you want to party then go to Rovinj and it is much larger crowd (2000 to 3000 I was told). If you want to dance come to Sibenik. Also echoed, was that Rovinj attracted more Bachata and Kizomba people than Sibenik did, the dancing level at Rovinj is much lower than at Sibenik. I met people who went to Rovinj only for a couple of days before coming to Sibenik. The Rovinj festival is held all over the town, as opposed to Sibenik which is concentrated in a resort from which you can escape to nowhere.
  15. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I know at least one dancer who was skipping Berlin and going to Heidelberg. I think dance marathons are new to the salsa scene.

    They have been common in Tango for past five or six years. The concept of marathon in Tango world is - a weekend of dancing both in afternoon and nights, no workshops, no performances. Tango Marathons can be invite only or restricted to certain number of attendees. Some require you to register with a partner to maintain gender balance.

    I too don't like invite only events.
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  16. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    That, is a false dichotomy..
    " mambo" in style, dance wise , and music , is a genre unto its self.
    And dancing on 2 does not make a dance, Mambo.
    I think your point would be made better, by saying Salsa " Dura " .
  17. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    It just seems weird to me to have these events in the salsa community. I am the kind of person who will go and attend just the parties and skip everything else. So yes this type of festival is not catered to me, but the idea of having a pure dancing marathon without workshops and shows does interest me! Yet they decided to make these marathons more exclusive. There is a similar thing going on in Prague, which I would definitely go to for a few parties, but not if they restrict the guest list. That's just stupid IMO.

  18. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    I have two follower Friends who go to Heidelberg, I wanted to go too but I cant, I am looking forward to their feedback...... 150 People is very few, also the rooms ar smaller then my regular venue on Thursday. Could be very good, could be worst "congress", So im kinda glad that I cant go ;)
    Chris_Yannick likes this.
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes. Nowadays term mambo is used by hipsters to say that they are dancing variation of East Coast Swing from New York on 2 and that there will be no bachata and kizomba on that dance floor.

    But there will be various genres played, mostly "dura", but also much mambo, guajira, cha cha cha, son-montuno, other sones and so on. Sometimes bolero. Very little salsa romantica.
  20. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Did you get denied for Prague in September? I think there are still some spots left.

    Or you don't want to pay the full price, because you don't want meals or go to all parties?

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