Congresses/Festivals with a focus on Cuban Salsa or Casino?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by TomSchueler, May 29, 2017.

  1. TomSchueler

    TomSchueler Changui

    Closest to what I was looking for seems to be
      • San Diego Cuban Dance Congress
      • Unidanza Hamburg
      • BailAtlanta 2017
    I still cannot add links, so please go ahead and check them out yourself. Shouldn't be hard to find, though!
     
    #1
  2. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    Pretty much every festival in Eastern/Central Europe right now is focused on Cuban.
     
  3. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Probably better to ask where you are.

    In Germany there are many little Cuban - often hardcore afro though - festivals but many of them are promoted very badly, so it's hard to find them, if you are not part of the right facebook groups.

    Biggest one in Germany is said not to be unidanza, but the one in Stuttgart. Never been there though.
    http://kuba-festival.com
     
  4. TomSchueler

    TomSchueler Changui

    Currently I am living in Berlin, so every festival in Europa would come into question for me to travel to. I haven't been to any of the festival yet but most often it seems that the European festival are focussed on Mambo/Salsa on 1/Salsa on 2.

    Take London ("Mamboland" - the name says it all), Paris (for 2018 already 18 Mambo artists confirmed - compared to 3 Cuban dancers), Amsterdam Salsa Congress (Five floors, 3 for mambo, 1 Bachata, 1 Cuban + Mambo + Afro). Mostly it is only one Cuban workshops track and that one is even intermixed with other styles.
     
  5. Salsquatch

    Salsquatch Changui

    I was at Unidanza last year and thought it was a great congress. I've been to three congresses and it has been my favourite so far. I would go again without hesitation this year but the date clashes for me.
     
  6. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    All major western european cities (and the biggest ones at that).

    Travel to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Austria and you will find Cuban festivals.

    But you will also find Cuban festivals in the west in Spain and Italy. Even the UK has some.

    I use https://www.festivalsero.com/festivals/list/europe Also try http://www.salsapass.com/en/events/continent/europe

    There are literally tons of them.
     
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  7. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao


    I would like to know, who are the 18 ? ,any list ?
     
  8. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Over all around here linear Styles are much more commercialized than Cuban style, including a much more professional event promotion. This can be seen in the people, taking part and in the conception of the festivals.

    Many Cuban Style festivals are promoted by non profit organizations or by small promoters with little business experience. Their internet promotion is non existent and they are mainly promoted locally.
    On the other hand there is a much larger number of larger linear style festivals that are promoted in a professional way. And the linear crowd being much stronger selected for the needs of a shiny commercial product.

    Many of these are promoted as "mixed" but the treatment of Cuban style is usually between "little brother" and "an extra skill for the people to buy" - with the most problematic, that we are often treated as second class citizens.
    I have seen "mixed" festivals, where you had to decide which kind of class you wanted to visit before hand but for the same price, you got only 2 instead of 2 1/2 days for Cuban style.
    If there is only 1 salsa floor there is a 50/50 chance that the prime time (11 pm - 1 am) will be catering for the On2 crowd only - who on local level are a minority wherever I have been in Germany - and only the others being at least a bit mixed. I have seen "mixed" parties that were that one sided, that even the linear dancers started to complain, because most actually prefer a mixed setup.
    Of course the Cuban style specialists just do not go to these events then.

    So unless you got a Cuban only room, do not expect there to be much party dancing on a "mixed" festival for you, as a Cuban style only dancer.


    And now the problem with the better promoted Cuban style festivals.
    The commercial oriented faction of the Cuban style dancers are the "afro body movement people". I set it in air quotes, because I have no better label for it and that it is, what they babble about all the time, while they move like broken marionettes.
    These people are all about buying skills that they think of being the movement of the "real" afro Cuban dancers - skills that are useless on local level, outside the relatively small festival dancer group. (Our local community has 1 of them, the neighboring city may be a dozen).
    Most of the mid sized Cuban style festivals cater for these people and have no focus on partner dancing at all (unless you count Rueda as partner dancing). That target group is not large enough to fill festivals with 1000+ customers. (Unidanza and Stuttgart Festival are more generalized ones - they are the only Cuban ones in Germany I know of to hit that mark.)


    If you want to have fun dancing Cuban style with people from outside your local scene (for you coming from one of the largest ones in Germany) it actually might make more sense, to check which areas are great for dancing in Spain and go there for holidays. Might be better invested money.
    If you know where to look, you might find mid sized "local" festivals there outside prime season. Flights are relatively cheap, hotels are cheap and the entrance fee is cheaper and people probably are more open than at the polished "international" ones.

    And for classes: You live in Berlin, take them at home. Good chance you find better ones there.
    (Unless you are ahead of most of the local teachers.)
     
    TomSchueler likes this.
  9. TomSchueler

    TomSchueler Changui

    Thanks for this amazing answer @MrR , and sharing all your festival experiences! Concering the minor role of Cuban salsa seems to play during most Salsa congresses, that is really a sad development. I am still glad Cuban Salsa is not as commercialized as Mambo. Also I have nothing against Afro body movements as such, I do agree that it seems to attract much larger crowds. It does not really help with getting the fundamentals of Cuban dancing right, I think (my personal opinion!). I am taking an Afro movement class myself, but I see it more as helping me with letting lose and enjoying dancing in itself more. You mentioned Spain as a great country for midsizue festivals, any areas to go that you could recommend? What I have mostly seen and heard so far was Salsa On 2, not so much Cuban Salsa.

    @Chris_Yannick Tons of Cuban Salsa festivals? I really did not find many of them, not even in Eastern Europe. Maybe you could help me out and give me some examples? Here is what I found, but I would not call that "a ton" and most of these are not located in Eastern Europe and focussed on Kizomba (Chisinau Salsa Bachata Kizomba Fest) or other styles (All Stars Festival 2017 5th Edition) https://www.festivalsero.com/styles/22-salsa-cubana.

    Again, my list - updated with a few more I found.
    • San Diego Cuban Dance Congress (US, California
    • BailAtlanta 2017 (US, Georgia)
    • Unidanza Hamburg (Germany)
    • Festival Cuba Baila Festival Freiburg (Germany)
    • Dias Cubanos (Netherlands)
     
  10. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Most of the "experience" is second hand. But over all they are consistent in what they describe. Just the way people analyze it, is different. (And of course I analyze their home page to death - you can see a lot just by looking at the workshop plan, the workshop-showacts and the parties.)
    I am a gatherer of information and before I went to my first festivals, I read anything I could find. Without the knowledge how to interpret the information, I went out to find wisdom, but I found religion. (Yes, there is a huge cult like factor within the festival crowd, but I ended up at a specially cult like festival for the first try.) Now my focus with festivals are the parties anyway, as they are the place where I have fun and actually learn more, than in those shows called workshops.

    The mentioning of Spain was more an addition as you seem to be looking for something bigger to dance in. The Cuban salsa (in Germany) is still locally based with the festival crowd being more of a sub-scene. (Unlike other music based scenes, where large festivals can gather 10+% of the nations scene.)
    Never been dancing in the larger cities but I know many people who have lived there for a year and come back as "advanced" dancers - by our standards. The level and the livelyhood of the scenes is totally different. Even the smaller towns, where I was for holidays, had lively scenes with a surprising level.
    I was looking for festivals nearby, where I go for holidays, but they all interfere with my possible windows of holidays. Seems, that there are more than in Germany. Better ask a Spanish speaker, as many of them have no English documentation. (My Spanish barely is enough to navigate the Homepage.)
    This probably is also true for some other countries, but there I have no experience at all to validate.

    For finding festivals:
    Google: Salsa + Festival + Kalender
    There are some results. They all have slightly different festivals, so you probably should check all of them. As they are all done by non professionals, the way of filling them is strongly depending on the individual. Some line dancers will actively ignore (smaller) Cuban festivals, others will include anything, that can loosely associated with Latino. But I think most will allow any promoter, to place their festival there.
    I'd say there is at least one "bigger" per month. Just didn't find any for August and September (Never seen one with an acclimatized location - and outdoor dancing is too risky.)

    There are some facebook groups - it is a plague, that many Salsa promoters do not even have own home pages anymore, but organize everything through closed facebook groups. I am in non of them, so I cannot tell you which is good and which isn't.
    And if you are friends with the festival photographers, traveling teachers etc you get their shared links a lot. Often combined with promotion codes. But that is mostly for the larger festivals.
     
  11. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    I might be biased because I live in Zurich, but the festival in February usually has a nice Cuban room ... Main Focus of thje event is still on salsa, but The Cuban Part is fun too. They need a new venue so check first if the still can deliver ...
    Check Strasbourg, Stuttgard, I know there are Cuban festivals there....
     

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