WHAT IS A DANCE CONGRESS/FESTIVAL?

So now you've gotten the dance fever and you have heard several people talk about the Denver Salsa and Bachata Congress and you are like "what exactly is a 'congress' ?" I came up with a brief description and I hope it helps.

Here are the main activities that happen at a Congress

  • Dance Performances

  • Concerts

  • Social Dancing 

  • Workshops

  • Vendors and Sponsors Showcase

 

A Salsa/Bachata dance congress/festival is a multi-day showcase and celebration of Latin culture and dance, specifically Salsa and Bachata. Over the years, this celebration of dance culture has been opened up to include Kizomba, Zouk and other dance styles. The congress/festival usually takes place during the weekend and consists of Dance Performances, Concerts, Social Dancing, Workshops, Vendors and Culture. As Salsa and Bachata gained international notoriety, several people travel from city to city, state to state, and others internationally to attend their favorite congresses/festivals. Especially for the dancers, a congress/festival can feel like a family reunion as people see fellow congress-attendees in several cities at different congresses. And at other times, it feels like a meeting hub - the great dancer exchange - a place for folks to connect and make new friends in the global community of Salsa and Bachata dance. 

 

Dance Performances

One of the ways the dance is showcased is with performances by different teams from different cities, states and sometimes, countries. Several teams often led by dance studios in their respective cities, attend the congresses and perform Salsa and Bachata dance routines. Sometimes congresses have a friendly competition between teams but most times, these performances are purely for the entertainment of the audience. It is an opportunity to showcase many talents to an audience of people that are already excited about dance and salsa/bachata culture and maybe inspire those that might not be excited about the dance yet.

Concerts

For without music, dancing would be like a glove without a hand. Since music and dance go hand in hand, some congresses try to bring live music to their event as part of the culture that is showcased. These concerts are heavily subsidized in price to help the average congress participant to have access to big concerts without paying “Big Concert” prices.


 

Social Dancing 

Before the performances, before the competitions, there was social dancing. For many people in the dance community, social dancing is the main reason they decided to start dancing salsa/bachata. Social dancing has two aspects to it. Social - An opportunity to meet other people of like interests - and Dancing - Connecting with a partner to create an in-the-moment, completely improvised, spontaneous dance to a song. When dancers attend congresses/festivals, there is an excitement that comes from knowing that one would be dancing with dancers from outside their local dance community. Congresses/Festivals tend to have longer dancing hours since they are not usually bound by the rules of the states or municipalities for bars and clubs close time. It is not unusual to find congresses that have social dancing that last until 5am or 6am. This extended hours of social dancing is definitely one of the main draws for many attendees.


 

Workshops

 

At the congress, there are several workshops taught by local, regional, and  international instructors. The workshop levels range from the beginner dancer to the Advanced Levels. The congress/Festival provides access to these amazing talented instructors and performing artists to the audience that otherwise might not have the access to those instructors. At these workshops, it is not uncommon to find different styles that don’t quite fit into the Afro-Latin Diasporic category. This creates some variety in genres and helps introduce people to other styles of dance that they may also find exciting outside of Salsa and Bachata.

 

 

 

Vendor and Sponsor Showcase

 

And then we have our vendors, the congress is a great place to have latin innovators and entrepreneurs share their craft with the rest of the world. We have Dance shoe companies, dance schools, dance cruises, Latin restaurants, Latin Dance clubs e.t.c. There are several booths usually set up for vendors for the whole weekend. On these tables the vendors can display their promotional material. Sponsors can choose to also have booths in the lobby and VIP tables set aside for them at the performances. Sponsors also have their names and logos of their companies displayed on promo material of the congress/festival. Sponsors can also have their names and company logos displayed on the stage of the performances to get more exposure.