If you had the options of a party with great dance performers or one with a great salsa band...

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by granrey, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Yes. Also the performances were very good. I don’t think any of the performers had paid the organizers to perform.

    The band was absolutely top notch in the performance they gave. The venue of old town square was a perfect setting. That is something very hard for 90% of the congresses to match. Sibenik got many things right including good dancing and the music. The only knock (major) I have is that one is literally locked up in a commercial resort for 4/5 days. I would prefer if it had more dancers (I think any given time there were 300–400 salsa dancers in the night). But that is all nitpicking.

    You were there?:)
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    It seems that in this respect, US congresses and European congresses are complete opposites. True it costs more to bring a band from the US to Europe, but I don't think that can be the sole reason. Maybe for Europeans the music is of less importance.
  3. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Only one congress? I have known DJs who would prostitute themselves out to Albert Torres when he was the king of congresses. From business standpoint it makes sense. Many business employ loss leading pricing to acquire customers. So nothing wrong in DJs trying to establish themselves by doing a gig free for the organizer or paying him. The question is if organizer should focus on the music and good DJs or making money. It can be tough. Every time I analyze the economies of salsa festival from profit making and ROI, I shake my head. An organizer barely breaks even. Unless it is a labor of love, organizing a festival is lots of effort for very poor commercial returns.

    On the instructors and classes, now that I have friends in Europe I can understand why. In USA we are lucky to have both live bands (local) and famous instructors visiting the town very often. I think in Europe that is perhaps not true. One of primary goals at the congresses and festivals for my European friends is to take workshops. They are so exhausted by workshops that they hardly have energy to socia dance. Their priority is to hit the bed so that they can do that 10am workshop next morning. Kind of oxymoron. But I understand. Outside of festivals and congresses I don’t think most of them get a chance at top quality instructors teaching in their local town (excluding big name cities like London or Paris). On the other hand most of the dancers I know in USA skip the workshops or are very selective.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  4. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Yes you would be a minority wrt to Congress festivals being referred here. Congress that we are referring to is a dance festival first and foremost. Similarly at least where I live, there are music festivals where dance is not a focus. These are large music festivals open to public, usually free or minimal fees and usually attract a far more crowd than congress could only dream off. Compare to one salsa festival in a year with may be 300 dancers, we have four or five major music festivals a year with 10000+ people attending where you hear everything including salsa to Latin jazz. We also have two or three single day public events in a year where you hear nothing but the live salsa music all day long, attended by both dancers and those that come to listen. I am not counting smaller local appearances in the clubs or commercial events in auditoriums/jazz clubs/ etc. Then you are in majority. In short it depends on the context and what is the focus of an event.

    Regarding interaction with the band at congresses and long songs it is a two way street. If the band is playing at a dance focused event, the the onus is on the band and not the dancers to keep it happening. I have seen bands that are good at it and ones that aren’t. You can’t be a band at a dance event and play 4 songs for 45 minutes. It is fine to improvise and play a few long songs. You can’t let bands off the hook in that settings. And I have seen bands that are simply great at making dancers stop dancing and hear them play instead, at the dance festivals and generate a lot of interaction with the crowd. Just because you are a band doesn’t entitle you to appreciation from the audience. You have to earn it.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  5. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    There's nothing wrong with a congress in which the DJs are paying to DJ? Maybe the bands should pay to perform too? And the instructors should pay to teach?

    And maybe next time I'm in a restaurant I'll refuse to pay, explaining that if the chef isn't paying to work there I'm not going to pay to eat there.

    As Europeans we have even less access to the great bands and singers than we do to the big name dancers (many of whom do tours here anyway).
  6. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    They are known as salsa congresses. Not salsa dancing congresses or salsa workshop congresses. Therefore there is no innate reason why the focus has to be on taking classes and practising moves instead of enjoying music. Salsa is a style of music as well as a dance.
    Such events are pretty rare in Europe (at least afaik).

    That's the same for anything. It's the promoters' job to ensure the bands they book are of a high standard. The less of a live music scene there is then the less opportunity there is to know the quality of bands beforehand and the less experience of playing to an audience the bands have, but still, it's up to the promoters to do their homework.
  7. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Why you ignored my following sentence ? :). I said it is upto the organizer to decide whether they should focus on good music and DJs or solely their short term financial interests. Unspoken was that if they don’t deliver a good product they will not make money by losing their customers.

    As far instructors, yes I have known instructors do the same - offer their services for free or pay to perform.

    If we can allow competitive businesses to deploy loss making services and products to establish themselves in the market against the existing competition, in that case from cold rational commericial stand point it makes sense. If that creates a race to the bottom, then eventually everyone loses out by destroying the market. It is akin to making your customers addicted to a product for which there are any number of sources to provide low quality low price supply. E.g. audiophile equipment market in USA.
  8. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'm confused now: people pay a lot to attend, the promoters only make a small profit - yet there is no money to pay the artists?
  9. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Judging by some of the workshop videos I have seen, that doesn't surprise me.
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Time and time again, in congress reviews on this forum people complain about the music. Without having gone to those events myself I can't say if the complaints are justified (and I know for a fact that no matter who DJs, there will always be someone who doesn't like the music). Still, and with all due respect to the congress DJs, many of whom I'm sure are doing great work: if DJs are paying to play then in the long term that is going have a negative impact on the quality of music.

    Also, I very much doubt that having performed at a salsa congress will help a DJ to get work locally.
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  11. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I appreciate your honesty here, and obviously it's entirely up to you what you listen to and don't listen to in your free time. However my point is that the people who are 'not salsa music enthusiasts generally speaking' seem to be dictating the tone of the salsa scene.

    Which is fine - they are investing money in their hobby so they deserve to be catered to. Otoh, are the people who actually are salsa music enthusiasts generally speaking also being catered to? I don't think so, although to be fair I have no idea personally how to rectify that.

    From what I know, a decade or so ago when the UK salsa scene was in its infancy, live bands were far more common at salsa events. Why? They were, or were seen to be, crowd-pullers. (Apparently salsa DJs used to get paid well back then too.) Eventually the promoters realised that, generally speaking, the demand was for instructors not bands. Was it always like that? I suspect the people on the scene changed, and those with an interest in the music became the minority, hence the change. (Or maybe it had always been like that.)
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  12. LarsM

    LarsM Tumbao

    Agreed on all counts. The resort is ok, but I don't particularly like resorts - and this one is overpriced for what you get. Yep, I was there with gf and other dancers from my city. Fewer this year (~10) than the year before (18), but still a decent contingent.
  13. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    I rarely listen to any music. Period. But if I am listening to the music, I tend to be very picky (including when dancing).

    If I were a betting man, I will say the scene has changed. It is different in USA that there is still significant portion of people who grew up listening to salsa music, if not dancing to it. Hence 10000+ people for the music oriented festivals. For those who have taken up dancing (like myself and scores of other people in Europe), liking music is an acquired taste. More people are coming to music through dancing than to dancing through music.

    Based on the current salsa dancing scene, an average (non–Latin) dancer is lot more interested in dancing aspect than the music. Appreciation of music and musicality comes much later, if at all, for such dancer. This all manifests itself in different ways – patterns/ moves, only technicality focus, lack of interest in culture and history, music, etc. I think among non–Latins, the number of people who appreciate music, culture, etc is same as before. What has increased vastly are the people who have started dancing to the salsa music and get to be very danced focused in their early years.

    It is an interesting contrast with Argentine Tango scene. Most Tango dancers (self excluded) are very knowledgeable about Tango music and orchestras from the golden age. I know many who within first year or two of dancing can name the orchestras that the music belongs to. The dancing and music is very intertwined from very early on. On the other hand live music is rare compared to salsa scene. Both are dance scenes but the contrast is worth studying on when they go in different directions. Average Tango dancers care very much about the music from start. Average Argentinan would know much less. Average salsa dancers are indifferent to the music. Average Latin person from salsa congress countries/region knows a lot more about the music.

    P.S. salsa congresses/festivals don’t have to spell out the ‘dance’ part of their centrality. That is the target audience and is packaged to attract that particular audience :). A promoter who is organizing all the workshops, is not going to be making any money from the music only afficiandos, right?
  14. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Not true. If you normalize how much people pay vs what they get, average Tango festival costs 2.5x to 3x (usually with no live band and far less workshops). Most Tango organizers seem to do it more out of love than money.

    In salsa festivals not all artists are paid. Some are only given free boarding but have to pay for their own airfare/travel. They make money by giving private lessons. Very few are paid airfare plus appearances fees. Of all artists you see advertised, probably ten percent of less actually get paid. At least that is how it has been in USA.
  15. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Rhythm Deputy

    I have found the opposite to be true. My European friends are party lovers and will stay for the parties but won't do many workshops. Of course there are a few who prefer to do workshops and only go to the parties for a short while but generally I find them to be in the minority.

    In the US/Canada, I have found there to be a much stronger performance and competition culture and so the emphasis is on that... while social dancing takes a back seat, albeit still well-attended.

    I have found that the linear dancers in Europe generally don't stay out as late as the Cuban dancers do at their parties.

    But maybe it's just the company we keep.

    As I get older, I am hanging around other aging people :)) and we "old timers" prefer to rest up and not put too much strain on our bodies, hence I am finding more people going to bed earlier and doing less at congresses.
  16. LarsM

    LarsM Tumbao

    I'm not an advanced dancer by any means, but depending on the festival they might not be worth it due to

    1) Super crowded rooms --> hard to see and hear the instructor
    2) Partner classes are usually just a random pattern, often with worse quality than I can find online, and often too long and focused more on quantity rather than quality
    3) Very short descriptions, meaning you often have no idea what the class will actually go through, meaning there's a bigger chance it'll be a waste of time
    4) VERY variable english speaking skills, meaning quality goes dooooown, depending on the class (hard to teach if you can't communicate with your students)

    I've taken to skipping full passes due to this, I'd rather save the energy to social dance with all the awesome followers :) I don't care to do classes all night then dance all night, too exhausting!
  17. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    That is/was true! I think it is a major reason oxygen got sucked out of social dancing there!!
  18. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Probably the same here. But still: those who do get paid are probably not those who provide the music. This speaks volumes.
  19. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    It's the length of the title which was the issue. I've changed the title a little to fit in your sentiments while changing the word to 'performers' :)
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  20. granrey

    granrey Son Montuno

    Ty very much :)

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