Festivals/ Workshops/ Congresses / Performance

Salsera in the City gives the lowdown on Benidorm Salsa Congress 2013!

Hola Chicos y Chicas!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, it’s been all go go go since I moved  from Paris back to the UK two weeks ago! I was only in London for four days before flying to Barcelona to stay with my friend Delphine. Barcelona was sunny and beautiful, as I expected and I especially enjoyed strolling around the old apartments and shops in the Las Ramblas area where the food market was amazing! Oh and the fake beach was not bad either, I’m super tanned y’all!

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Delphine and I on the third night in Benidorm

I didn’t get to spend as much time with Delphine as I had hoped however as on one of the days she was running around Barcelona between giving English classes to buy a costume and shoes before several hours of rehearsal: there was a chance she may have needed to fill in for another girl in Adrian and Anita‘s amateur company show at the Benidorm Salsa Congress. In the end she wasn’t needed and ended up pretty much holding next months rent in the form of a neon costume and some sparkly shoes. It certainly shows true dedication though and I know she’ll be needing that costume soon! 

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View from our hotel balcony

We were staying in the Gran Hotel Bali with everyone else for the congress which was pretty ideal as eating, dancing, shows and pool time were all located in one place! Being with Delphine meant I had plenty of opportunities to go backstage or hang out with some of the performers before the nights social dancing began and, without saying too much, some of the stars certainly seem to know how to have a good time…!

 Below I’ve laid out some of my overall impressions of the congress and my highlights. Enjoy!

With Marquitos and Anna my roomies before their show for Adrian y Anita amateur company

With Marquitos and Anna my roomies before their show for Adrian y Anita amateur company

Performance Highlight:

Ansima Ballet – this group are… wow. I think I’m not going to write to much here and instead cover them in a performer profile. What I will say is they are all super hot, their shows are full of energy and moreover completely mesmorising: mini-sagas that last up to 13 minutes. I couldn’t look away..

Workshop Highlight:

Karel Flores Lady’s Styling. As expected, this workshop was packed out (I think some women only went to the preceding workshop so that they could be the front row for this one, I am not kidding you) Despite her suitcase not arriving with the plane and therefore having next to nothing and probably feeling tired beyond belief, Karel was chirpy and fun: i.e ever the professional. Her class started with some sexy body movement to club tracks and afterwards she demonstrated some of her signature moves. Sadly I don’t speak Spanish so some of her class was lost on me, however if her online classes are anything to go by, she is a pretty great teacher in terms of explaining stuff, unlike some salsa stars who really do not do the crossover to teaching very well.  Oh and did I forget to mention that she is really tiny? As in, tiny :-0

Delphine and I with the Amzing Karel Flores after the workshop

Delphine and I with the amazing (and petite) Karel Flores after the workshop

Social Dancing: ones to watch

Bersy Cortez. Hot, Venzuelan, winner of the ‘Pasitos Libres (shines)’ competition in Barcelona recently. I mean, I don’t need to explain too much, watch the video.

Who did it better?

Full project have emerged as a pretty awesome male duo… and they had very similar costumes to Adolfo Indacochea and Juan Matos… so what I want to know is: who do you think did it better? Los Mambo Ace

Or Full Project? (footage from Frankfurt congress)

Festival ratings:

Social dancing venue: 7/10 – as far as social dancing venues go this one wasn’t bad, very well air conditioned, but unfortunately after the first night the floor was just sticky and it made spinning somewhat more effortful.

Workshop venues: 8/10 – again pretty good, but putting Karel Flores in a tiny room was a mistake as obviously half the women in the congress were going to show up. Also, the front rows had to keep bending down so that people at the back could see… so a taller stage would have been cool.

Music: 6/10– I would have enjoyed a few more mambo tracks, cha cha and latin jazz… I feel most of the tracks chosen were fast paced and a little crazy at times. I’ve been to congresses where the music was more to my taste such as Sydney, but this may have been to your taste!

Overall organisation: 9/10 – things ran more or less on time, there were no hitches, it seemed to be run a  lot more smoothly than some congresses I’ve been to.

Dance level: 9/10– depending on where you stand in the room will affect what kind of dances you have. Pros and experienced dancers tend to cluster in one corner. The first night I hadn’t yet figured out the ‘zone’ and so I had some… questionable dances, but I would advise moving about and leaving that corner as sometimes it just gets a bit annoying that everyone feels the need to cluster together> Overall high standard of dancing though.

Overall rating: 78%

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The Pool party (click to see a bigger image)

My personal highs (and lows) of the weekend:

Quickly the lows:

  • On the fourth night my feet became crippled and I had to go home at 5.30am instead of 9am… tragic right?
  • A man spilt his drink on my right (spinning) foot and didn’t apologise: what a douchebag.
  • *Some* people in the salsa world can be vain and self-absorbed and unfortunately at times I really noticed it.
  • I still have SO MUCH to learn. Argh.

And now the highs:

Interviewing Karel Flores was awesooome 🙂 I admire her so much and so it was lovely to sit down and ask her questions that I actually wanted to know. I  shared a room with Natalia who runs Salsolicos Anonimos (salsaholics anonymous) and so we were partners in crime when it came to hanging out backstage and I helped her film some interviews with other performers including Bersy Cortez and Sabor y Fuego (I kid you not my arm died from holding that camera). Natalia’s youtube site has some great interviews and while most are in Spanish there is some English stuff on there such as an interview with bachata stars Ataca y La Alemana. She was so much fun to work with and I hope to see her again soon ^^

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With the lovely Natalia of Salsolicos Anonimos

Anyway, muchos besos my fellow salsaholics, what will your next congress be? Let me know and maybe I’ll see you there!

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2 thoughts on “Salsera in the City gives the lowdown on Benidorm Salsa Congress 2013!

  1. Ansima Ballet are insane! Their Footwork, spinning! No words! They really show you how much more you have to learn.
    Karel, Karel – well what can I say? She is 1 of a kind that lady. Dynamite does indeed come in small packages.
    Overall Benidorm sounds cool, maybe ill put it on the list for next year. Thanks for the rating system, it’s cool. mind if I steal it?

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