- Social dancing was pretty good. Having 2 rooms to choose from depending on your mood is never a bad thing.
- Performances need to add an afternoon show. 2 hours of performances (9:30-11:30), with about 20 teams performing, is too much for one sitting even if you are shotgunning an energy drink or coffee. Some of the performances, IMHO, weren't ready for the evening slot and would've been better suited for the afternoon.
I took 2 classes: a ladies styling class and Betto's body movement class. The ladies styling class disappointed me even more than I had expected. I really wish salsa pros would get away from choreography-based teaching. Any way, I'm sure plenty of other women who took it liked it, so just my opinion here. I Loved Betto's class - it was exactly what I would want from a congress class. He taught a few simple movements, broke them down first, with verbal description and demonstration. Then lots of repetition, to nice, well-chosen, well-paced music. He set up the large group of people so that everyone got to see him and his 2 assistants (having 2 assistants strategically placed also helped a great deal). I would recommend his class to everyone, whatever you think you want to learn - great for training great movement into your body in under an hour.
Social dancing - I danced mostly with locals, even though I tried to spot out-of-towners. Very few out-of-towners asked me to dance, even though there weren't that many people there. I had plenty of fun watching some amazing social dancers, though, so I'm not complaining. My requirement for a few super good dances was satisfied by one of the locals and Darlin, who is always very gracious when I corner him at a congress
The DJ in the bachata room played 3 merengues in a row and then 2 salsas - I was justified in wanting to bang him over the head and hook up my ipod to the speakers, right?
In all, it was what I expected from DC congress from last year - nice local congress, with plenty of egos, and some really good dancing.
And I've given up on shows, so all I can say is that the Friday show ran about 1 hour late, and the Sat show ended more or less on time.
I had a very nice time at the DC Congress this year. I went both Fri and Sat nights for performances and social dancing. I think Beto was right about the performance length. Fri night performances felt long as heck, but Sat night went by pretty fast IMO...I think the performances on Sat night were better.
Social dancing was pretty darn good. I had some great dances with some locals and a lot of out-of-towners and some salsa celebs. Of course, the heat was an issue for everyone since everyone was dancing their butts off pretty much the entire night. I wish they had music playing in the hallway/carpet area like last year...that was really nice.
Music was fast. I think that's why a lot of us got really tired quickly. The heat+fast music=TIRED! If I could change anything about the congress, it would be the pace of the music. I enjoy myself each year I've been at the DC Congress. Can't wait for what's in store for next year! Hopefully a different Hotel with a bigger Ballroom perhaps...and some DJs who don't go Puerto-Rican pride fast music crazy on us?? :lol:
I think I needed a lot more sleep Freaky...
Edit: so I gave this some thought, since I've never been so blatantly mistaken, and realized that I asked him to dance when his back was turned, and actually looked at his face for a total of about 5 seconds during the whole dance. It would make sense if it was Uriel, provided Uriel was actually at the congress
Beto and I were talking about the show thing offline....
Here are some thoughts...
I'm sure choreographers would argue that it stunts artistic expression or something, but what if organizers introduced a time limit....3 minutes MAX, 20 shows....with talking/on-off stage time "should" run to 90 minutes...
If they made it maybe 2 for student teams, 2,30 for semi-pro/student teams and 3 for pro....?? Maybe that would help.
I know that once something goes past 3 minutes that I'm done and not looking ....and some run 5/6 minutes...
Music choice also seriously influences the feel of a performance and I think when people choose very similar/flat/monotone music with no breaks/big hits/changes in it (ok that's not the best description - but there is a reason the classic "big hits" are big hits) it also doesn't help the energy that a performance is trying to give out
And if organizers seriously tried to limit talking?
All of that might help get these things to run faster!
Our last student showcase ran each number back to back, with about 3/4 eight counts for one team to get off and the other to get on....was over in a flash!
Also - do you also think (which Beto and I agreed on) that us old-timer congress goers are jaded and that maybe for newbies, the shows are actually really exciting (ok maybe not if they are 2+ hours) but just watching is actually fun.
There's also no rule that you have to go, even though it is good to support the performers, and you can use the time to take a nap, cause some chaos, party in Beto's room etc??
The fact that DC went so late meant I felt like I got great dancing in - but ok, maybe not crawling in to bed at 5.30 am is the best for a productive week at work !.
Spoke to a friend that went and this was her input: overall the music was more commercial and faster than she expects from a congress, the social dancing was pretty good, the shows were soso.
She did say that the DC Congress was much better than the New Jersey Congress and for about one third the cost.
Her one big complaint was that that the event was too hot and the organizers need to do a better job of temperature control. She also said it got pretty crowded on Saturday.
Sunday was the best night because only the diehards and performers were there and it was cooler cause of less people. She also said it could be a little clicky, but overall there were enough people to get a good salsa fix.
I only went Friday night, and I arrived maybe half an hour into the performances. Even still, I do agree that the performances ran long. I saw a friend of mine whose group was supposed to perform in X slot out of 20, so when they went on, I was thinking, "OK, now there are only Y performances to go." However, it seemed that there were Y+3 performances. By then, I was antsy. I wanted to dance.
In the larger ballroom, it was hotter than Hades. I took a 10-15 minute break in the "international" room (which was cooler in comparison, and seemed to be the bachata room the time I was in there), and danced two bachatas with two different (and new to me) guys.
As others noted, the songs were pretty fast for a majority of the night. A good balance would have been nice; some fast songs interspersed with mid-tempo songs. The only time there was "slow" music was when a cha cha was played.
While I danced with several friends, I forced myself to ask guys I'd never met/seen before, which means that I think I danced with performers. However, (1) having not worn my glasses when watching the performances and (2) standing in the back of the dark ballroom, I couldn't quite tell who was who during the social dance. (Looking at Facebook pictures now, and I'm like, "Holy hell! I danced with him" (said in a positive way, though).) I also danced with a girl who was a pretty good leader.
Overall, even though I went for only one night, I did enjoy myself immensely.