Congress/Festival Reviews

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

  1. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Lots of timba? Ugh, never going there then.
    SnowDancer and Smejmoon like this.
  2. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Riga salsa festival was a blast, even though I was doubtful about that. Our salsa scene got eaten by kizomba and we basically had small, but quality almost underground parties. In 2016 festival took a break.

    This year it was unexpectedly good. See rave reviews on the internet - they are right. The venue was new, so things got a bit rearranged after first night to better. Sound could be improved and location could be better accessible by feet/public transport. And it was unexpectedly hot. Weather was so good, we went swimming every day.

    DJs were very good. Dancing was very good. Friendliness/emotions were very good. Hundreds of very good dancers came from Trondheim to Timișoara, from Rostov to Tenerife. From Singapore to Morocco. I did not have time to dance with all people that I wanted, to hang out with all I wanted. Slept very little, danced a lot.

    Festival break till September, I guess.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
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  3. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    Dammit! I missed that one. I wasn't sure as it was a come back festival. I hesitated but the last minute plane tickets were too high.
    How many people do you think attended roughly?
    Are you from Riga?
    So would you say the city worth having a look for the kizomba scene now? Last time I went to a party there (3 years ago) maybe 6 people were on the kizomba floor including the DJ.
  4. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    About 500.


    I have no idea, lol, I avoid it. But there are several parties every week and I think two kizomba festivals. The scene is not big, but it's growing. Music is better than 3 years ago.
  5. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    Break on Budapest Review

    This will likely be my only festival this year (I've realized that I'm not a festival person), but if this is the last festival I go to, it was worth it.

    Venue (4/5): Very very conveniently located in the center of Budapest. There was only 1 room for the entire weekend dedicated for Salsa. I thought there would be a sensual room but I was mistaken. Anyway, it was pure salsa through and through for 3 nights straight. Room was a tad on the small side, but for the crowd (150-200 people) it was perfect.

    There's also the Terry factor to consider, who occupies about 15% of the room with his circle of onlookers. A bit annoying... but hey, he's a superstar and this event was built around him.

    Music (5/5): Exceptional. The 3 DJs were DJ Patrick El Clasico from Switzerland, DJ Freelancer and DJ Stilo from Budapest.
    A great balance from every style. Not a lot of Romantica. Absolutely no Bachata. For salsa lovers, I think it was perfect.

    Dancing (5/5): Highest level of dancing I've ever seen in Budapest. From what I understood, there were a large contingent of dancers from Timisoara, Romania. I had my best dances with follows from Moscow. More girls than guys, but from what I saw, the guys were pretty good. I stayed until the end on Friday (4am). Stayed on the Saturday party until 5:30am (after arriving at 1am). Stayed on the Sunday party until 2am. I was dead by Sunday, but the level of dancing was the highest on Sunday with most of the hardcore advanced people staying until the end. No rejections the whole night (but I was picky and I didn't dance all the time). I danced only on2 (I had one On1 dance the whole weekend)

    The floor was always full, but never felt too overcrowded.

    Best dance of the weekend goes to Terry and Martina Petrosino on Sunday night. I was watching Martina the whole weekend. She is on another level and is the only person I would say who can match Terry in musicality. They hit every single accent exactly the same way! Beautiful.

    Shows: No shows, so 5/5. Just one performance by Terry & Cecile's bootcamp participants. It was an intensive 2-day bootcamp and the students were mostly teachers and really good advanced on2 dancers. It looked ridiculously hard and I am glad I did not participate. But it was fun to watch really good dancers/teachers struggle for 4 minutes (yes, I am mean that way).

    It was the most international festival I've been to in Budapest. To me, this was the true mambo marathon. No guest limit. Awesome music. Extremely high level of dancing. I think having Terry & Cecile there did something to raise the level. Yes, it's annoying to see so many people watching Terry, but the atmosphere was still very good considering.

    I would go back next year, but really, the one big thing I took away from this festival is that...

    I need to go to Russia to dance salsa. :)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
    Offbeat, wol, Marcos and 3 others like this.
  6. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Agree that Bob was awesome. Partly because welcome drink tradition :D For me music was 4/5 and dance level 4/5, but I had a lot of good dances and was very happy. So much that after sightseeing on Sunday, skipped the party.
    Also agreed that Martina was on the wave. She asked me just once, but the vibrations were very good and playful dance it was. I did not dance with Terry. I think there were just two girls from Moscow and one from St. Pete 's. And there were a lot of musical locals as well.

    Parties really start an hour and half after advertised, also I came from different time zone, so even if I arrived "an hour late", I was always early.
    Chris_Yannick likes this.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I remember that Boleros were very popular in my younghood, in the 80s. Those were the songs that usually were only danced between people who were romantically involved or romantically interested in each other. The genre's place in dancing has been overtaken by more modern sexy tropical dances such as Bachata and Reggaeton.
  8. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    Lucky you! Yes, and those 2 girls from Moscow I distinctly remember being the most connected to me. Lots of musical follows especially from Romania, but I didn't connect with all of them. Hungarian locals are awesome too!
    Smejmoon likes this.
  9. Al Israel

    Al Israel Tumbao

    Denver Salsa Bachata Congress review - Saturday party

    Venue: Great, wood floors, good acoustics most of the time, lighting was reasonable, not too hot.

    Music: Bachata music was usually not to my taste, and I am open to both Dominican and Prince Royce type music while they seemed to like playing a great deal of Bolero or bland songs with no tempo changes. Salsa music was fairly good while djing.

    Live band: Boogaloo Assassins, I was not blown away, they also played songs which were many times too long to dance to. I was honestly waiting for them to finish to continue dancing.

    Prices: I paid 45 dollars for the party which is quite expensive, water was free, and beers were 5-6 bucks but the selection was terrible, I had to drink Corona, ugh!

    Dancing level: Very low, possibly the worst of any congress I have attended, particularly follows.

    Lead/Follow ratio: I would say 65/35 making it the lead-heaviest I have been to outside Israel. You had to actively invite in order to get dance partners.

    Altitude: The high altitude in Denver made dancing quite tiring, I was incapable of doing more than three salsa dances in a row at maximum.

    Length of party: It theoretically started from 10:30 but things started happening at 11:30, party lasted till 4, but Salsa room was dead at 3:30.

    I was considering attending Sunday party too, but they shortened the social dancing from the original 2 am to 1 am, and at 25 bucks I decided to skip.

    Final verdict: Glad I didn't buy a full pass, have had much much better times at local parties in Budapest/Warsaw/London/New York. Worth attending for follows who want attention and are not too picky about dancing level, suitable for older crowds. Uncomparable to festivals such as El Sol and Berlin SC.

    I met TurqoiseHexagon, a really nice guy!
    Chris_Yannick likes this.
  10. dav7802

    dav7802 Son

    Thank you for the review. I was born and raised in Denver but didn't learn how to dance until moving to Los Angeles. It is interesting to hear your thoughts on it, you confirmed some of my thinking from watching videos of the night life there on Youtube and Instagram.

    The altitude does take getting used to. :) 5280 feet above sea level.
    Al Israel likes this.
  11. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Prague salsa marathon

    I was there from Friday night till Sunday afternoon. Noone regretted doing Thursday-Monday. This time it was not a TV tower, but regular venue for afterparty which was much better.

    Music - the best DJ selection I've ever seen in one event. Cyrine, Dmitri, Martina, Patrick, Sergio, Shems. The music at times was not experimental/inspiring enough for me and others, but it was very good. :) All DJs were dancing, so no more non-dancing DJs in Prague.

    Average level of social dancing - high. It turned from family dancing event to elite dancing event; still has not lost a family feel, but there were a bit too many people for me. I did not manage to dance with all great dancers I wanted and who wanted to dance with me.

    Food - very good. I ate too much. Chocolate fountain is reason why many people go.

    In general I need to prepare for such events as for a real marathon and do some cardio training. I missed many good dances and underperformed, because I was weak.

    Venue - excellent. The sound was not that good on Friday night, then improved.

    Foot massage robots! you have to try that! Great bean bags as last year.

    Friendliness - very much.

    There were very few people from Africa/Americas/Asia, but they were excellent dancers and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  12. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Berlin salsa congress

    First of all I must say that I finally understood that BSC is an reenactment or postenactment of the movie. This time Mo Flex spelled it out for me. So maybe it needs to be judged by different criteria than salsa festival.

    Shows: mostly boring, but much shorted than previous years. Adolfo did the same shows again as he does for years, but changed clothing. Terry and Cecile were good as always.
    I took a book with me and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Workshops: did not attend, but heard from Mo that they have ideas how to improve it.

    Afternoon dancing: please chime in; I got party pass, and that meant I was not allowed to go to afternoon parties.

    Sound quality: Friday really bad, other days better.

    Live music: Boris and Changuito - quite good, but not too engaging with the crowd; did not work for latinos, it seemed.

    Music from DJs: Friday - good, feminine, much romantica. Saturday - bad; Cisco and Joker played good last sets. Sunday - very good and the end from the twins was the blast! Last two hours was festival as it should be!

    Good dance time: Friday 4am-5am; Saturday: 5am-7am. Sunday: 12am-6am. (It was cut short all days, so really it finished before 6am)
    Sunday was also good, because it seemed that performancers where chilled and could enjoy dances.

    Many people complained about the floor; for me in toms it was fine. Tempodrom of course is a disaster, but we know that. Prices, environment, service, tokens. As always.

    Dance level: low on average, but there were dozens of very good dancers, so I got my share on Sunday. Also because of low dancing culture, even if there was coincidence of good song and good partner the result might just be that you both get hurt. I had to stop 2 dances, because my partner was masterfully stomping on other people and hitting them with lady styling, even if I begged her to stay with me and calm down. Good dancers go there less and less, but organizers sponsor some to attend. Also Germany has many good dancers, so that counts.

    Weather: much better than expected. Not much rain, Berlin is nice.

    So as always, Berlin is terrible festival for social dancing. But the idea is to drink in preparties and meet people. It was success at that. I'm glad I went, because I met many good folk and also it ended great!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  13. dav7802

    dav7802 Son

    I wish there was a video of this. lol. We watch so many good dancers but it would be fun to see a bloopers video of people running into each other. It might be a good scene for a movie too!! :) :)
    G809 likes this.
  14. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Verdict: not going to return.

    Summary (out of 5):
    location - 5, great city!
    Venue - 4, stadium like venue with good seating and food options
    Expensive factor - 3, for comparable city, venues and congress, it was relatively less expensive. Water, drinks and food we're reasonably priced I think.
    Floor - 1, worst floor of all congresses I been to.
    Dancing level - 3, when compared to Paris or Warsaw or pre-2012 NYC/LA/SF congresses.
    Weather - 2, unfortunate that Berlin got hit by effects of hurricane/thunderstorm from further northwest.
    Music - 3, really good in patches.
    Cliqueness factor - 2, low
    Friendliness - 4, fairly friendly crowd.
    Dancing time - 5, more than sufficient time for social dancing.
    Bachata Music - 4, first European congress where most of the Bachata music was good and not that 'sensual bachata' music crap.
    Bachta Dancing - 2, it was good mix. The level was low. Not too many crazy 'sensual bachata' dancers like in other congresses outside USA.
    Kizomba music - 1, stopped by a few times. Danced only one song. They gave kizomba the small arena which I think was wrong things. The worst kizomba music I ever heard! Sounded more like noise than music. It was loud electronic music mixed to kizomba rhythm. The sound in Kizomba area was ear shattering! Someone was definitely deaf to keep it so loud.
    Kizomba dancing level - 2, frankly from what I saw a few times, I wasn't impressed.

    Weather: something that one would expect in Nov rather than Oct. Too cloudy, gloomy and constant non-stop nagging drizzle of tiny rain!

    Floor: No wooden floor. Can be hard on the legs, especially for the ladies in there heels. Many ladies switched to jazz or flat trainers. If there is single improvement the organized can do, it is to install temporary wooden floors like other congresses do.

    Music: the last two hours were usually the best on each day. The best music was on the last day from 4am to 6am which a pair of DJs played (twins?).

    Dancing: level was low compared to Paris or El Sol (Warsaw), unless you knew or seek out good dancers. The best dancing was on last day 4am to 6am when the dancing shifted to the foyer. That is the level I would have expected both for dancing and music through out the festival.

    Ratio: 52/48 in lead heavy I think. During the most interesting times (good music and dancing) there were a bit more leads than follows. Paris and El Sol on other hand are slightly follower heavy or balanced.

    Afternoon socials: Much smaller crowd. Not that intense. Dancing level really low. Music average to below average. One or two Bachata mixed every four or five salsa songs.

    SF meetup: good! I think we got 80% attendance. Of those that I knew were attending only Smejmoon and Tom were missing. Nikka and Smejmoon were fellow SFers dancing till the end. I met SFers at various festivals over the years. This festival I got to socialize most off the dance floor with most SFers, after the 2012 NYC Congress (but that had a lot more SFers attending).

    I recognized some of the invited 'social dancers'. Some of them kept dancing among themselves most of the time :D. Some of these invited 'social dancers' would count as very average dancers in my local scene.

    Shows: only watched the Sunday evening. Marrakech and Sibenik had much better shows (80% non salsa-bachata). Berlin was run of the mill.

    I didn't face any No or rejections except for one on Friday. That one was both very funny and most rude I ever seem or experience. I seen the follower before at other congresses. I think she is from UK. She had sat out to songs. When the third song started, she got on to the dance floor and seemed as if she was looking for someone to dance with. I walked up to her and extended hand. She simply turned around as if I was invisible :D Not even a no or shake of the head or anything. There was a lady (who appeared to be either an instructor or very experienced dancer) was sitting on the dias and witnessed the whole thing. That lady looked at me with an expression of utter shock, shaking her head and surprise look that said "can't believe she did that". It was very puzzling indeed!!
    vit, UchimaSalsa, SnowDancer and 2 others like this.
  15. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    My Berlin review
    It was my second time in Berlin, the first time was like 3 years Ago . I hated the whole thing as I was only dancing some kind of cuban salsa at that time. but after that experience I finaly took some lessons in linear style and returned now after 3 Years and liked it a was my first congress where I dared to ask people to dance

    Music: I liked sunday the best ,saturday was also good imho , Friday was not my cup of tea( to much romantica and pop songs)
    I liked the concert a lot... I dont understand why it was not advertised more...
    On Sunday they played a lot of well know songs, but never the "album" version, always some nice variation.
    They played some modern cuban songs( havana d' Primera, van van, mayimbe ) as well. like 1 in 20 or so... I always checked who dances those so I knew who to ask for the next timba track...

    I actually covered my ears when I went to the toilet behind the kizoba room :)

    For me the floor was ok, Iam used to better(warsaw mambo room) and worse(warsaw cuban room), Some people put chalk powder on the floor with made it very slippery in some parts of the floor..

    Space: right after the shows it was too crowded for my taste, but like half an hour later the whole right side of the venue was ok...

    Dance level. Iam simply not good enough to actually rate it...Iam fine as long as people dont rush the slow part.. so for me it was good. People were firendly and nice.
    I danced one very funny cha cha cha where the lady basically danced only the cha cha cha part, but on all beats... still prefer this over stone faced princesses who only wait for the guy to entertain her.

    Organisation and prices:
    Prices are ok, but Iam used to Switzerland
    The token system for the cups is annoying but better then cups everywhere....
    the bar people were friendly, the rest of the staff.....
    Friday shows started at 0:30, way to late, did not see any of the shows...

    only had the social party pass.. my friends with fullpasses also skipped the Workshops and only attended the evening social

    lead/follow ratio was ok, A bit lead heavy at the end of the parties, but if you wanted to dance, you could at all times

    I like the evening socials, i hope this catches on at other festivals
    wol, MAMBO_CEC, Offbeat and 2 others like this.
  16. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    each post on congress was not satisfied with the music. I now music is subjective, so, specifically what exactly ( styles, artists ) would have improved your response ? And I don't mean less of a genre .
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  17. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I think rather than any particular genre, it is more about the flow. Is DJ reading the energy of the crowd correctly. E.g. playing four or five songs with heavy percussion after I have been dancing for 5 hours is a definite no no for me. I have been on my feet and when you play 5 or 6 songs like that in row, you are forcing me to dance with high energy feet movement and body movement. Even if I relax a bit, I am not able to reflect the music the way I prefer. Another example is how many and where you put in very jazzy songs in the flow. Sometimes jazzy songs don't have much going on to enjoy dancing to them. When I am dancing, I want something in the music to make me dance. I think some music is better to be played at the peak time and some better for the last hour. Don't put too much music in the last hour which is better played during the peak time. Also, give me some slow tempo bolero like music at appropriate time. Some medium tempo with interesting things happening in the music. I don't mind a good salsa romantica.
    Dissonant Harmony, vit, LarsM and 2 others like this.
  18. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    I was satisfied, but it would have been better to mix the friday songs into the sets of the other days instead of playing them all on the same night.
    For me the music is good when they play other stuff then the usual songs I hear in my local venues.... and that was the case for most of the songs.. of course some well known songs also belong into the mix (old classics or songs that are in the charts right now). I think they did a good job at that.
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Terence, you're trolling here! You know that it's not about specific song, but about right song for right context. But there are some songs that people remember for a long time. I remember that in Rostov couple years ago last song on Sunday was Guaguanco del gran combo. And in Warsaw in 2015, it was Guajira Blanca. This is a mastery or luck of good dj to find time when to play each song.
    LarsM likes this.
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I'm not speaking about songs, but more curious about artists. Did the DJs play any Son for one ex and were the newer artists played ?..

    Of course, one plays to an audience to which the DJ has little or no knowledge and some trial and error is acceptable, but one of the posters was quite specific about the styles of music that were over done .

    And to the playing high tempo songs late on in bunches ( I would not do that at any period ) is a no no for me .
    It's well to remember that the majority of attendee's may not be as particular as are many on this site .
    Dissonant Harmony and Smejmoon like this.

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