Moscow

Review Moscow Salsa & Kizomba Festival (Salsa – Kizomba – Bachata)

2.6. – 5.6.2016

 

I have to admit. I am in love. With this city, this crazy city and the beautiful dancers this event hosts. My second time I came to this event, and surely I did not want to miss one minute of this weekend. I met in those 4 days many many nice people, opposite of what we might tend to think sometimes, when we think about Russia and russian people. Yes, if you walk through the city or you are taking the metro, you see all those kind of depressed faces and you will hardly ever get a smile from anybody. But the complete opposite was to be encountered at this event.

Thinking about what matters most when you review an event or better said your personal experiences and memories, I am sure it is the dancing part, the dances you had. And Moscow did not disappoint me with one dance. I really need to go back in time to find, to remember, another event where I had so many amazing dances with beautiful & smiling women. And I was watching also quite a bit the dance floor when I could. It was really calling my attention the fact, that the russian women, when dancing, they start to sparkle, to shine, to smile and they seem to really enjoy every single dance, every single minute. As a leader, this is probably what you are looking most for and what you are enjoying most and – believe me – it is hard to find. But here, at Moscow Salsa & Kizomba Festival this very rare species could be find anywhere on the dancefloor. So needless to say, I – and many others – had a really good time here. Oh, and yes, the level of dancing was really good.

Another remarkable point was the music. The DJs did a really good job to keep us dancing all the time, great choice of music. I stayed – i ahve to admit – all the time in the Mambo room, so I cant give any remarks about the other rooms, Cuban room and Kizomba floor. But on the Mambo floor we certainly had a great time !

So, two of the most important things were already checked. Another great thing is the venue. I might think it is closed to be perfect. Hotel & venue – all in one place. Nice and very affordable hotel rooms. Nice ballrooms in the same building. Plenty of different restaurants in the same building. They even have a supermarket in the same building ! In fact you would not need to leave the building the whole weekend, if you didnt want to ! It is probably not so easy to reach, as the next Metro stations are eacha  15 min walk. From from there you have easy, safe and affordable transport to the airports.

However, once you come here, you MUST also explore the city. Certainly most of us we have our images already in mind about Moscow, and I am sure many times they will be proven to be wrong. Moscow is a crazy, huge, and sometimes even beautiful city and it can certainly compare and keep up with cities like London and Paris. And if you are lucky and the weather is nice and warm, then you might even fall in love with this city.

Back to the event. Great line up, of course. Nice workshops, not too crowded, plenty of space.

The weak point here are the shows, which I am sure many not care much about. I certainly do, usually. To be more precise, it is not the shows, many of them were really good. The production on Saturday night, compared to last year rather disappointed a bit. But here is the thing: I understand pretty well, that if a good portion of the audience speaks rather less english or not at all, you will need to translate the MC and the announcements you make. HOWEVER. The russian MC (aka “translator”) talking 15 min (!!) in russian on Friday before even the first show started is just not acceptable. Well certainly not if you want to attract people from outside the country, which obviously in most cases will not speak any russian word. Here we do not talk about translating to the russian speaking dancers, but about an ego boost for one person, which loves to talk. I think the idea of an MC is to introduce the shows, not to make a show out of yourself. Just saying. At least on Saturday they kept the talking to less, at least in the beginning. But then taking another 15 minutes to bring after the production all artists on stage as to create another opportunity to talk- just not needed.

But – as I said – many nowadays anyway ignore the shows and make up their own entertainment, so many will not care.

Anyway – an event with a really great atmosphere. If you love dancing, dont miss it next year !

Resume: Must go event if you like to dance.

Ratings:

Music/DJ   *****

Level of dancing *****

Venue/Technique *****

Organization *****

Accessibility ****

Atmosphere *****

Shows **

Workshops/Line Up ****

All info at http://mskbfest.ru/en/

This is my personal point of view. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

 

 

Advertisements

Athens

Review: Salsa Spring Festival Athens (Salsa-Bachata-Kizomba)

Athens, 13.5. – 15.5.2016

A lot has changed since I went the first time to this event 7 years ago. Not only it has become MUCH bigger being the largest Salsa event now in Greece, but it also has improved a lot. The forced change of venue only 2 month before the event due to the bankruptcy of the former venue made this event only much better, in fact it was real jump in quality for this event, as the new venue was REALLY good.

So indeed, if after a long winter and a rainy and cold spring you were looking for some entertainment at the pool, in the warm Greek sun, combined with Greek food, a nice line up of artists and a lot of dancing, this event might be your choice. I surely enjoyed this edition a lot, so might you.

The venue is a 5* hotel close to Athens right at the sea with a beautiful pool area, a nice beach, beautiful rooms and nice ball rooms – all under one roof. The event organized shuttle services from the airport and from the city as well, so it was in fact easy to get there. And yes, the shuttle service worked properly. And the shuttle was included in the full pass.

This event is extremely affordable for what you get. The Full Pass Package including Full Pass, accommodation for three nights in double room, breakfast & dinner, shuttle service was only 265€ per person. I personally think a very good offer. Please note that they do not offer such things like a Party Pass, which makes sense as this event is not only cheap but also outside of the city, so all dancers will come and stay there, for what would they need a Party Pass ?

They organized a really fun pool party on Sunday afternoon which everybody enjoyed a lot. I need to point out that the people were dancing most of the time just Salsa & Bachata in the warm sun, and only a tiny little bit of animation, which I think is worth to point out as in many pool parties you always have plenty of attention junkies aka “instructors” which are in search of this little bit of attention they otherwise do not get and those feel the need to “animate” you all day long. Didn´t happen here. Great. Just great. And this combined with nice sunny weather (even so the wind was kind of stormy) made up for a great atmosphere with everybody having fun. I also noticed that the DJ realized that it might be difficult to dance to fast pace songs so he kept it low and had a great choice of music for a pool party.

The workshops were really packed. Nice workshop schedule. Nice workshop rooms. Actually some really great workshops. Greek dancers obviously are really keen to learn. I mean they had 10 (!) workshops in a row from 10 am until 8 pm, but all of them were packed. Good thing, if you wanted to take a break, the pool and laying in the sun was only a few steps away. Many in fact did.

Shows. I mean they had many shows. In fact TOO MANY. Saturday night 33 shows. Some really nice ones, a lot of…well …. shows. But one thing I surely learned this weekend. Do NOT bring all teams back on stage after shows finished. Can you imagine how people feel after 33 shows ? They were running out of the room, of course. When they finally managed to have all 33 teams on stage (which takes obviously a long time), the room was already empty.  Come on, guys. This is so old school. NOBODY wants to see them all back on stage. People want to dance. So surely a few shows less would make the show program much better. And on Friday they also had a competition qualifier before the shows, so that made up for more then 3 1/2 hours of shows. I think that is too much. Really.

The music was really good. Only exception was Saturday night one DJ which obviously had no clue how to get from one song to the next, he was just cutting the songs in the middle. All others were really nice. Nice flow of music, some faster songs, some slower ones, a ChaChaChá once in a while.

The level of dancing was okay, not really high, but all those people had real fun to dance. So if you choose carefully, made it to the right spot on the dance floor, chances were high, that you would get an nice dance. Even some of the artists were spotted on the dance floor…..

 

The organisation, as far I could see was good. Nothing to complain. Did I mention that the food in the restaurant, included in the package, was really good ?!

 

Making your plans for 2017? Keep this one in mind.

Ratings:

Music/DJ ****

Level of dancing ***

Venue/Technique *****

Organisation *****

Accessibility ****

Atmosphere *****

Shows ***

Workshops/Line Up ****

All info at http://www.salsaspring.gr

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

Mambocity 2016Review: Mambocity 5 Star Congress (Salsa-Bachata-Kizomba)

Heathrow, 29.4. – 1.5.2016

No, doubt, I admit, I am biased. I mean there obviously must be a reason I come to this event already the fifth time in a row! The reasons are easily explained: best accessibility, very nice people and awesome music of the DJ´s. Definitely for me some of the key reasons why I would go somewhere, even if I were really a regular dancer.

Lets start with accessibility – I don´t know of any other event where you basically drop out of the airport and 10 minutes later you are at the event venue, for no costs. You say, no way ?! Yes, here is is like that. Said this, it only applies if you fly in to Heathrow airport, if you didn´t check properly and you choose Gatwick or Luton, or even worse Stansted because you wanted to save a few bucks, well, then you f****d it up. Landed in Heathrow you simply take a local bus, and you get out in front of the Radisson Edwardian, the venue.

Which of course brings me to another point – many nowadays prefer those all-in-one-venue-events. This is such event. Nice hotel with a surely very confusing lay-out (you easily get missed in this labyrinth) and some nice ball rooms all together in one place. However I have lately mixed feelings about it. Even though the ease to go from your room simply down to the party or workshops certainly comfort you , but on the backside of the coin, it also means that many people – including the artists – come extremely late to the party, if at all. It is just so tempting to go up to the room, get a drink, change, have a “preparty” (the magic thing nowadays) and then only attend the last two hours of the “official” party. Me personally I would prefer to have all people at the official party – all night long instead of separating in small groups.

The official parties stood out by simply great music from the DJ´s. One more time the proof, that the DJ´s are surely the KEY to every great party! If you like to dance your shoes off, this is certainly your place to be. Plus many great dancers, and everybody is dancing with everybody – other then in some Italian or Spanish events.

Another great add up – the Olu Olu Coffee Lounge. Even though this format has now been established in a number of events, Mambocity stand out as here people are not afraid at all to raise their voice and speak out. So we witnessed a heated up great discussion, which I think is a very important part of such an event. Next time you attend an event and you see the Coffee Lounge posted somewhere – don´t miss out and go to listen and speak.

I want to point out another thing, and that is the great atmosphere during the shows. Great shows ( at least really most of them) but the crowd animated and heated up by the amazing MC Rohan definitely gave their all, they were screaming and applauding as much as they could. I am sure, as an artists, this might be one of your favorite stages! And yes, they managed to keep the temperatures in the room above the freezing point, other then previous years. Anyway, still better if you come with your coat – especially the ladies – unless you are British, they go out in February in a T Shirt, so they are used to it.

The organisation, as far I could see was flawless. Easy for everybody. Nothing to complain.

Nice line up. Workshops for everybody. Well, all this you expect for an event which is running for so many years, so no surprise here.

I guess there is not really much you can do much better. And the reaction of the crowd when asked if they will come back in 2017 was pretty clear: “Hell, yeah!” And something I noticed when walking around, there is only few events (if at all) where you have so many people returning every year. I would say well above the 50% people who return. So it is rather like a family feeling.

Critics, where are the critics?! Well, I think the parties could be a bit longer. I mean in the main room. And more variety of restaurants in and around the venue would be great. But, I know, that is out of control of the organizer 🙂

Making your plans for 2017? Put this event on your short list! Certainly a five star event.

Ratings:

Music/DJ *****

Music/Live band ****

Level of dancing ****

Venue/Technique ****

Organisation *****

Accessibility *****

Atmosphere *****

Shows ****

Workshops/Line Up ***

All info at http://www.salsadance.co.uk/congress/

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

Paris 2

Review: Paris International Salsa Congress (Salsa-Bachata-Kizomba)

19.4. – 24.4.2016

Surely a new star has risen on the sky of salsa congresses ! In the city of love, almost in the heart of it, with a view on the famous Eiffel tower, this event has already set standards in its first edition. No doubt, whenever I go to the first edition of an event, I am clearly very skeptical, too many people think that it is simple and easy to organize such an event and then badly fail. But Paris International Salsa Congress (PISC) has certainly exceeded the expectations. By far.

I mean it is clear, already the fact that it is organized in Paris, a city so many want to visit – with Salsa or without – gives this event a kick start and this extra sparkle, you need when promoting your first time event. So, yes, you may wanna join and get some sightseeing done. Paris is a beautiful city, just walking around in the center is already worth it to get here for a few days. You know what I mean. And, also no doubt, recently the sightseeing factor has become increasingly more important for the travelling Salsero in our community when making up his/her mind where to go next.

It might also be worth to mention that over the past 15 years many have tried to put together an event on large scale in Paris, but all have failed until now for different reasons. Obviously it is simply logical to assign such an event to this great city. So it is a real pleasure that it seems finally somebody came and make it happen.

The venue, the Hyatt Regency, is quite nicely located, easily being reached by all airports (Metro station almost in front with train connections to Charles de Gaulle and Orly, and a bus station with busses directly going to Paris-Beauvais!) only a km or so from the famous Eiffel tower. And for those staying directly in the Hyatt they got rewarded with an incredible view over the city from the 30+ level. This luxury had a quite big price tag, so surely not everybody could afford the Hyatt. Not to mention that the hotel is in the process of renovating their rooms – and for a good reason as the hotel and the conference center still breathing the air of the 70s of the last century. So big price, not so much comfort. And looking forward for 2017 I am scared what price they will call once they finished renovating. Anyway, nicely located, and also the ball rooms are quite spacious with just enough space to fit the number of people attending. On the bad side of the coin, they are very low ceiling, which made them quite hot during the night and certainly makes it very difficult for the shows to give them proper conditions. Plus the hall way connecting the different rooms was REALLY small, and also hosted all the shoe vendors…after the shows in particular there was almost no getting through as all were getting out of the main room at once. Maybe would be good to find another solution for the vendors for 2017 to keep the hall way viable for the dancers.

The Thursday preparty in O´Sullivans was already a great start, jam packed, sadly only little space for dancing. Here you could already see what might be the best selling point of this event: great level of dancing and incredibly good music from the DJ´s! Yes, that was dancers heaven, all nights. It can´t be mentioned enough, that so many events fail to understand the importance of the DJ´s for the success of an event. Surely PISC did not fail on that, even so I would still give them different marks, but in general just the kind of music and the mixture dancers love! And yes, plenty of good dancers to dance with.

The shows were very good in time, and short. And they had seating. The performances itself were – for me – rather a bit disappointing with a few exceptions, of course. But I guess many didn´t care. Actually I KNOW, many didn´t care. Due to the low ceiling of the ball room the technical possibilities to present them nicely were also very limited, so I think many did right to skip that part and come later directly to the party.

The sound was good, actually to my surprise, as only a few speakers could be seen, but seems like they used them to the best way possible. The lights the first night were shooting right into the dancers eyes when dancing socially, but after they got noticed, they immediately changed that. (organizers, take notice, this is how you do it= you get complaints, react immediately to it – if possible).

A very nice line up, not the biggest ever, but some good names and many which might not be the big names, but probably are dancing more socially then the “big” names. Good workshops, nice choice of workshops. What was calling my attention is that they only offered 3 workshops parallel, so going away from the usual ” We offer 100+ workshops” exaggerations to a rather selected choice of workshops. And, yes, that worked very well. And takes away from the dancers the hours of meditating over super complicated workshop schedules where you need to have a master degree to understand them!

What else? Well, the organisation was also very smooth, didn´t find anybody complaining. Smoothly running, smiling faces, all speaking English.

One more thing needs to be mentioned. Paris is a VERY expensive city. Food and hotel will require a rather large budget, so maybe not the best destination for low budget travelers. Considering that it was April….hello?

So if you definitely should keep this event in mind when making your plans for 2017!  And take an extra day (or five!) to explore Paris, the city of love. A Must Go event or 2017!

Ratings:

Music/DJ *****

Level of dancing *****

Venue/Technique ***

Organisation *****

Accessibility ****

Atmosphere *****

Shows ***

Workshops/Line Up ****

All info at http://www.parissalsacongress.com

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

 

Bailamos

Review: Bailamos Festival, Mumbai. Salsa – Bachata – Kizomba- HipHop – Contemporary

8.4. – 10.4.2016

Many in our community nowadays are looking to combine their vacations and travelling for dancing as a way to optimize their use of resources, in particular time and money. This explains maybe a bit the raise of the now increasingly huge number of summer events, located somewhere at the beach. But until today this was limited to events in summer due to the weather conditions in Europe. UNTIL TODAY. How about dancing and your vacation at 32° guaranteed in APRIL? You just survived winter time in Europe, now you are looking for SUN BEACH FUN DANCING, there is a place, there is an event, you are looking for: Bailamos Festival in Mumbai, India! Seriously, anything better then escaping rain and cold for some days in the sun, travelling with your friends, dancing with new people ?

Usually, my reviews are centered around certain aspects of the events, describing the organisation, venue, technique, dancing level, workshops and shows…. but for this event I want to go a bit beyond, as this is what it is about. Crossing borders, explore new limits, and discover culture. Bailamos Festival offers you beside a mega well organized event (by European standards) also the chance to stay a few more days with the crew and many of the artists at the beach in Goa (doesn´t that sound nice already…”GOA”) but also to explore other parts of India, for example visiting the world famous Taj Mahal in the north of India. That is surely something you don´t want to miss after flying for 12 hours from Europe to Mumbai. Flights are at that period of time quite affordable, just check it out.

This year there was quite a big group from the UK and some frenchies joining in for this experience. The event was held in a 5* hotel, the Renaissance hotel which offered not only nice & specious rooms, but also everything else needed for a nice event: great ballrooms, good catering, amazing pool area, affordable prices for the drinks and food. Reached in 30 min from the airport with a ride which can cost you as less as 3 €.

The organisation of the event was flawless, and that measured by European standards. Everything run well and quite in time.

Bailamos gathered a quite impressive number of participants, even in Europe it would be one of the larger events. Mainly dancers from all over India, some from other parts of Asia, a few Europeans. A great chance to dance with people you haven´t seen before and which you might hardly ever meet in Europe at your usual events. I admit, the general dancing level is not very high, but I think that is a rather general characteristic for those beach events.

It needs to be noted, that Bailamos Festival also included a Hip Hop and Contemporary section which was also then reflected at night during the shows and by the fact that they had an extra Hip Hop room at night. For me, as I am a lover of all dances, certainly a great add up.

The workshops were very well filled with dancers, and a nice variety of styles and workshops were offered. Line Up included great well known names as Marco Ferrigno & Karel, Adrian & Anita, Supermario, Nina & Zerjon and many others combined with the best instructors from all over India.

The shows were definitely different of what you get to see in Europe at the events. Let´s be honest, if you make a few events over the year, you get to see quite a few times the same shows, and even the best shows can get boring. At Bailamos they had also contemporary shows, and many shows from Indian dancers, so that was quite a relief ! And boy, the contemporary shows were on really high level performed by some of the super stars of dance in India, quite impressive!

Another thing I noted, in general, about the shows in our events, is that more and more performers use this ugly radio song music, popular pop songs, as maybe they suite them better to get from one acrobatics to another, filling the gaps with posing, a lot of posing. Seriously, if you would switch of the music you would not be able to tell what type of music they are dancing, it starts to look all the same, not only the Bachata shows, but also the Salsa shows! Hell, if you hate this music, if you refrain from using any of the great songs they have produced in the last 60 years, why would you call your shows a “Salsa” show, or “Bachata” show or “Kizomba” show ?!

As for the parties, they were really cool. I heard. Maybe not for me. Whats happening is that as it is so convenient to stay in the venue (hotel & venue same place) people now start to go up to the room after the shows to meet for a few drinks and come down later. Too late for me, surely. Noticed the same already in other events. I officially prefer now events where the venue is not also a hotel! Getting too old for this s**t!

Anyway, good for me, that the pool area was great…so I spend quite some time at the pool in day time, enjoying the sun. Oh, and they also had a pool party on Sunday afternoon. Saw the videos. Some crazy shit was going on there…

So, Kuudoos to the organizer, Neeraj Maskara and his wife Neta, which made this event an really enjoyable and well organized event, which can easily keep up with most of the events organized in Europe.

So – you LOVE – SUN – POOL – DANCING ? Keep this event in mind when making your plans for 2017!  And surely take more time to go also to Goa and other parts of India!

Ratings:

Music/DJ ****

Level of dancing ***

Venue/Technique *****

Organisation *****

Accessibility ****

Atmosphere *****

Shows ***

Workshops/Line Up *****

All info at http://www.bailamosfest.com

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

Istanbul

Review: Istanbul Dance Festival 2016, Istanbul (Mambo – Cuban – Kizomba – Bachata)

30.3. – 4.4.2016

Shortcut – reasons why you should want to go:

  • Many beautiful ladies and handsome well dressed guys
  • Very good general level of dancing
  • A crazy city you should visit once in your life
  • Beautiful spacious all in one venue
  • Huge line up or artists, in particular from the region
  • Great weather in beginning of April

Shortcut – reasons why you might not want to go:

  • People do not understand you as they do not speak English
  • Venue is far outside of the city
  • Way too many shows

Well, there are of course way more aspects to valuate such an event, but surely we can notice that they improve every year and surely they are also one of the big players in the game, when it comes to number of participants. But one of the key points is certainly Istanbul as a city and the Turkish dancers you will meet at this event. Istanbul is an amazing city and there is so much to see, that you would need several weeks just to see the main points. But it is also true, that right now due to the unstable situation and the threats with terrorist attacks many might refrain from sightseeing and walking around. Even so I don´t think that this should be a reason. And the Turkish people are known for their hospitality – and the great food. 

However as I pointed out in the shortcuts above – the venue for this year had changed again and was now located in Pendik, south of Istanbul close to the airport Sabiha Gökcen. Good for those who booked their flight to Sabiha. Bad, very bad, for those who didn´t check the location on the map first before booking their flights and which landed in Atatürk airport – as they had up to 5 (!!!) hours travel from Atatürk to the venue. Istanbul is a really HUGE city and you should always look up first where the event is gonna happen before booking. The fact that it was so far outside of the city also was reflected in the decreased total numbers of participants in particular in the workshops and in the Friday & Sunday parties. Saturday night there was a huge number of people attending the Gala party, which means many came only for the party. Well if you take in account that the hotel was great but for Turkish dancers very expensive and basically almost not affordable and knowing that it can easily take 3 hours from the European side of Istanbul to the venue, then you might understand why they focused to come for Saturday.

Due to the general situation and fear for many to travel to Istanbul there where – compared to the last two years – much less international dancers at this event, in fact it was to 85% turkish. But from my point of view, that isn´t bad as many of the Turkish dancers are great dancers and lot of fun to dance with. Anyway why would you travel all the way to dance in the end again with the same people you meet everywhere else?

The hotel rooms where very nice, spacious, with a nice view many of them and a beautiful bathroom. For European standards also for a good price if you booked through the event. However, the staff of the hotel in particular at the bars required a lot of patience from your side as they literally did not speak English, did not understand English and had literally no clue about anything. Something basic as a Rum & Coke was simply unknown to those. And this in a big hotel hosting huge international conventions. Slightly better the staff in the restaurants. But in the bars and the restaurants the prices were subject to rapid change depending upon the person serving you. Highly irritating. And from the people working at the registrations desk of the event, also many did not speak English or had no information about the event if you asked them anything. I think this should still be improved seen the fact that this event is aiming to be one of the biggest INTERNATIONAL events in our community.

The event offered a huge number of workshops distributed over 4 days from Thursday to Sunday. I counted something close to 160 workshops, so no way there wasn´t something there for you. Most of the rooms where big enough to hold the number of people attending, only the Kizomba workshops – as usual – were very crowded and probably in rooms to small for those. I personally wished for a map of the rooms somewhere to make it easier to find them, but by Sunday I got it sorted out. Definitely huge choice of workshops.

As for the shows, I only went to see them on Friday. They were presented in a nice theater-like auditorium holding almost 1200 seats. But it was very visible that not everybody is watching the shows anymore as on Friday – even towards the end of the show program – still quite a few seats were empty. On Friday it was almost only Turkish dancers on stage, some of them really good, some rather disappointing. In total 27 shows, and even before the last show finished everybody jumping up from the seats as they couldn´t hold it anymore after such a number of shows. As I heard that Saturday & Sunday will be more then 30 shows I decided to skip that part. Even sitting more then 20 shows is hard to follow. I get to old for this s**t.

The parties. As pointed out before the level of dancing was pretty good, even so I noticed that many of the Turkish dancers preferred to dance with each other rather then dancing with a foreigner. Anyway – Turkish dancers are THE reason to travel to this event! The music this year was all in all pretty good as they changed considerably their choice of DJs to the better. Still a few – bad – exceptions but in general much better then previous years when the music was the key point of complaints. I know I had a good time and I know so had many others dancing until early in the morning. I think the sound could still be improved, but – at the end who cares if you have good dances ?!

So if you definitely should keep this event in mind when making your plans for 2017!  And take an extra day to explore Istanbul.

Ratings:

Music/DJ ***

Level of dancing *****

Venue/Technique ****

Organisation ***

Accessibility ****

Atmosphere *****

Shows ***

Workshops/Line Up *****

All info at http://www.istanbuldancefestival.org 

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

 

20160318_214219

 

Review: Monaco Salsacongress 2016, Monaco (Mambo – Cuban – Kizomba – Bachata)

18.3. – 20.3.2016

Monaco. Doesn´t that sound glamorous ? Somehow special ? And indeed it is special to be in Monaco and at Monaco Salsacongress. Let me explain why.

We landed – as everybody – in Nice airport and stayed another day in Nice. Which is highly recommendable as Nice is a really beautiful place, lots of things to see and nice food.Well, we were kinda lucky as we had really good weather for March, sunny and warm, but I guess even with less favorable conditions almost everybody would like Nice.

Next day we took the local bus (1,50€ to go to Monaco. Hell, yes!) to Monaco which gave us another special experience as we traveled all along the coast with beautiful sights on the coast and the deep blue see. Amazing.

Luckily we stayed in the main congress hotel, the Monaco Marriott hotel. Again beautiful sight from the 11th floor over the harbor, amazing yates and boats and the see. So if you ever consider coming get a room in the Marriott. Or in the appartments which are just 200m away with an even closer look on the harbor. Just recommendations.

The venue of Monaco Salsacongress is a beautiful place with great wooden floor, best suited for dancing. Elegant and spacy. On Friday even a bit too large for the amount of people. Well, this is not a huge congress, it is rather familiar. You should know that this is a mixed congress, catering to both crowds Cuban as much as to the Mamberos, so if you are a Mambo fanatic you might not get happy with the music. However on both nights we attended (Friday & Saturday) we were served great music in particular from my all time favorite DJ Willy (Amsterdam). Sadly enough for us the general level of dancing was rather low, even a bit higher on Friday as many of the artists were taking the opportunity and were dancing like crazy on the dance floor. But Saturday only few outstanding dancers could be found.

The shows were nice, a small but fine selection of shows. What was to my disgust was on one side that the sound technician (same as years before when I came last time) put up the sound volume so hard, that you had to protect your ears. Completely unnecessary. And the second – the lights. They had a LOT of lights from the back, which they overused to shine right into the eyes of the audience. Many times I hardly could see the shows, and when there was a video on the screen in the back, you had difficulties watching the video because of the lights. Strong recommendations to use more front lights as this way you could also see the dancers on stage better then only in some fuzzy colored lights from the back.

 

The line up of artists was not the biggest ever, but included a fine selection of the big names such as Tropical Gem, Adolfo & Tania and Terry & Cecile. Another proof that it doesn´t take the biggest line up ever to make a nice event if you choose the right social people. The workshops were well attended, not too many, but nice. As another which was not quite perfect is to mention, that all workshops (due to the city´s decisions) took place in the main venue (other then years ago when they used the stadium for the workshops with plenty of space) so that two workshops had to take place in the main room, one on stage only separated by a thick curtain from the other workshop on the dance floor.

So if you look for something different in 2017 – here we go. Watch out for Monaco Salsacongress 2017!  And take an extra day to explore Monaco & Nice !

Ratings:

Music/DJ ****

Level of dancing **

Venue/Technique ****

Organisation *****

Accesibility ****

Atmosphere ****

Shows ***

Workshops/Line Up ***

All info at http://www.salsamonaco.com 

This is the personal point of view of the author. It doesn´t reflect necessarily the opinion of the other authors of this blog. Feel free to comment and discuss. Critical voices are welcome. VERY critical voices are welcome too. If you are crossing the line and you are offending others or the author on a personal level, if you start trolling here, your comments will be deleted. Respect is indispensable.

%d bloggers like this: