My first festival wasn’t actually a Festival. It was a Congress. After 4 months of regular group lessons once a week I had an opportunity to make a further step – attend a festival. I had absolutely no idea of what exactly was waiting for me out there. I just saw an ad, called my teacher and said: “Do you have a place in your car? I’m coming with you!” No information, no gossip around, I had no kizomba-friends yet at that time. I even didn’t have a pair of dancing shoes yet!!
After a 6 hour trip I wasn’t even tired from all the excitement I was feeling. It felt like the time passed by in a minute, chatting about music and dancing with my newly-made friends, and aaaaall the way listening to kizomba!!! (*Paradise) I remember I was checking the workshops program and trying to make up my mind about organizing my dancing schedule, and I was seriously planning to visit salsa & bachata rooms, because that’s what I had done before, that’s what I was sure I liked the most. That day, in that car I announced to everyone: “Salsa is Number One in my life”. I realized how wrong I was three days later, on my way back…
I had never been to Switzerland before, nor after))) because in the whole weekend I haven’t seen it! I don’t even remember if the weather was good or bad. I had my accommodation in the Hotel where the kizomba congress took place, so I didn’t have to go out outside at all. And why would I?? If everything I needed was right there – THE MUSIC! I’ve never heard so much non-stop music, it was coming through my ears, my mouth, my heart, it was exploding my head (must have been very good music to be listening to it for 72 hours straight))) So, imagine, how much one should like kizomba to be able to take it for days with no rest or interruption!
I found myself in a different world, full of absolutely different people, sharing the same passion. I haven’t seen so much positive energy from a crowd of people, gathered in one big place in a long time! It was like living a dream… you open your eyes and the first thing you hear is the sound of your favorite music… you go for lunch, you look at people on the dancefloor, and again and again listening to this music… anywhere you go! No escape even in my hotel room, the sound was drilling my walls all the time. And that was just fucking amazing!!! The only word to describe it – EUPHORIA….
IMPORTANT – WORKSHOPS!
Apart from my constantly good mood, positive emotions and joy, I’ve really learned a lot when attending workshops, and I think that was the point at which I progressed (in my opinion of course, some say I’m still a beginner)). But I could feel the difference. I even remember very well all information I took in that weekend, I remember my first teachers, their words and their demos. I discovered “slow motion”, “acceleration”, “saida”, etc.. I loved Laurent explaining about musicality. He was such an interesting narrator, he gave very clear examples, I was totally hypnotized by the way he danced with Adeline, so special.. And the funny mix of languages of Albir made me laugh a lot! His French, which was actually Spanish or whatever, give his workshops a special unique color, his own elegant footprint.
NO MEAL NO SLEEP
I won’t even begin to say how tired I was, not to mention my destroyed feet and toes, I’ve lost a couple of kilos in 3 days, ’cause frankly speaking I had no time to eat – I used every minute of my life to dance, I wanted to be in all rooms at the same time, to catch every detail, to dance with every different dancer from whom I could learn something new. I could sleep back at home, and I wasn’t going to miss a moment of that wonderful world I found myself in!
- bring with you comfortable shoes, at least 2 (for ladies 2 different heel heights), and something like ballerina full sole shoes or even snickers. You could wear them at day time for workshops and let your feet rest.
- don’t forget toe patches, as many as possible, especially if you have new dancing shoes.
- if you had no time or forgot to buy dancing shoes before the festival, or if you don’t know where to buy them, all festivals usually have a stand, where you could do that.
- make sure you have water in your room, enough water!!!, and make sure you don’t forget to drink it! If you travel by car it makes it easier…
SALSA vs KIZOMBA
Salsa turned to be a bad idea, because after trying to switch a couple of times between kizomba and salsa, I realized I wouldn’t do any of them well. I wasn’t a good salsa dancer, therefore starting two things from basics at the same time would be a total failure. It’s like learning two different languages from zero at the same time. It’s easy to mix them up in your head. I’ve worked as a language teacher and I always recommended getting some level in one, and only then starting to learn a new one. So I’ve stopped and decided to give all of me to kizomba, until I could feel more confident in my dancing. Besides, the energies of these two dances are so different that it made no sense for me to try them both at the same time.
I was sharing a room with a girl who had brought a huge suitcase full of clothes. Mine was small ’cause actually I had no idea what to bright with me. I had no idea about the Dress Code issue either!(( For a girl like me it was really the lack of valuable information. I had to wear same jeans all the time, and I envied my roommate so much!( So, guys, if you are going to your first festival, be well informed about dress code for each night and make sure you have your costumes ready, as it’s a lot of fun to follow! Some dancers say that they never follow a dress-code, but in fact what they do is exclude themselves from this big family party-feeling which is in the air, when the rest of us play by the same rules. Let yourself step into the role of a “doctor”, “sportsman”, “glamour Gatsby gangster” or an “African beauty”, even if it’s just for an awesome photo – it’s worth it!
A few words about the Concert on Saturday night. To my surprise, this event wasn’t just about a group of people getting together in order to simply dance and do whatever they want. It was a very well organized group of people, I could feel a huge deal of hard work and a lot of preparation went into the organization. Even the artists didn’t rest, they were working all the time, first giving workshops, later in the evening rehearsing their piece of art-work for the later performance. And, when all that was finished, they were still there for us on the dance floor dancing with simple people like me, tired or not!)) The show was great! I appreciated the fact that they had taken care of costumes, and made it interesting. If it’s your first festival, I would strongly advise you not to miss the Show! You’ll always have time to chill and drink in you room and this cannot be compared to any pre-party in the world. Generally take part in everything you can, so you will have your first festival experience under your skin!