Photo Credit: Sarajevo
So you’ve been going to a handful of social dance events and LOVE the energy and passion for Latin dance. You’ve been thinking about going to a bachata dance festival with friends for a fun weekend, and now, you’ve finally taken the plunge. What is a dance festival, and what can you expect from these events? Here are some tips:
What is a Dance Festival?
A dance congress or a festival is a dance event that features some of the best Latin dancers in the business putting on a show. It’s definitely a step up from the usual social dance scene because you get to travel to different places, meet new people, dress up and share the experience with people who love Latin dance as much as you do!
It’s a big event, and people will come from different places, so there are many things to check out and people to meet. Because it’s a big event, it’s best to book a stay and buy tickets in advance. This will save you a lot of money, primarily if the dance congress is held overseas. It's equally important to plan your schedule well in advance so you can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Dance festivals are organized by different events companies, cultural associations, or dance schools. You can buy the tickets at the school that organized the events or the event organizer’s website.
Getting There: What to Expect
You'll need to buy tickets for the event, book a stay at a nearby hotel or in the actual venue, and pack an assortment of outfits for day events and nighttime socializing/dancing. Some dance congresses take place overseas, so there are loads of opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, socializing, and dressing up. Pack your things accordingly.
You can book a stay at a hotel near the headquarters, but in most cases, you can stay at the hotel where the dance congress is happening. This will save you several trips because your room is nearby. Once you arrive at the venue, you’ll go through the check-in counters. Just show identification and the tickets to confirm your reservation. Then, you will receive a bracelet that provides access to the congress facilities. It’s best to get to the counters early, so you don’t end up stuck in the queue.
While the happenings in these festivals vary from one event to the other, most dance congresses offer intensive courses, performances, and workshops during the day and dance parties at night. You can watch dance shows, take workshops to improve your technique, connect with professionals (professional dancers, teachers, events organizers, etc.) and fellow dance enthusiasts, check out the sights, and pretty much share the passion for Latin dance.
During the congress, you’ll come across different dance groups. These dance groups will perform at scheduled dates, and you have the option to watch them dance or join them on the dance floor. This is a terrific opportunity to dance with the pros if you plan to dance competitively in the future.
Some venues have two dance halls; others have 4 or 5; it really depends on the venue’s size and how big the event itself is. These halls are converted into party clubs at night, complete with drinks and a DJ! Usually, each dance hall has a different theme, or in some cases, two rooms are merged into one style. Party ends at the early hours of the morning with some offering after-parties.
Pools are also converted into a party venue for outdoor, daytime, or summer socials. But outdoor events have limits; the weather has to cooperate. For winter dance festivals, events, including night-time partying is done indoors.
What to Pack for a Dance Festival
Dance festivals typically last for a couple of days and are often destination events; you have to pack all your essentials! Here are some of the basic things that you need to bring during the event:
Dance pass and identification: If you have physical tickets, don’t forget to take them. Some organizers provide downloadable tickets that you can store on your mobile device. Also, bring your ID with you, including your passport, if the event is held overseas.
Clothes: We’re talking about clothes for sleeping/lounging, socializing, casual wear, and dancing. Daywear is ideal for attending workshops. These clothes will keep you nice and comfortable. For night parties, bring your nicest evening wear + accessories. If the event is summer-themed, you’ll need swimsuits. PJs and athleisure could be worn when you’re not attending any events and staying in your room.
Latin dance shoes: Of course, you need to tote your favorite Yami dance shoes so you’ll always be ready to cha-cha-cha your way to a workshop or a performance! Bring your favorite pair, although we suggest getting several pairs more for options. You can bring your high heel social dance shoes for nighttime dancing, comfy flat dance shoes, and flared heeled dance shoes for attending workshops or participating in group dances. Apart from your dance shoes, don’t forget to bring your everyday walking shoes and party heels for attending events other than dancing. For relaxing or pool parties, bring your flip-flops!
Toiletry and first aid kit: From soap to deodorant, dental floss to cologne, stash all your skin and body products in a large toilet bag for easy access. If you can bring the small-size versions of bottled products, do it to save space in your luggage. Bring a small pouch of first aid essentials like OTC pain killers, compression patches, protection, band-aids, and antiseptic lotion.
Makeup and Accessories: Your makeup products and accessories should be kept in a separate bag. Just bring the essentials, pack enough beauty products and accessories for night parties, day workshops, and light makeup looks in between dance festival events.
Technology: Extra chargers and batteries, camera, mobile phone, GoPro, iPad, laptop, power bank, handheld fan, etc., whatever piece of mobile devices you often use, be sure to bring it with you. This goes especially if you love recording your activities using a mobile phone or camera.
Apart from bringing these essentials, don’t forget to pack an extra backpack or handbag so you can carry your things throughout the event. Pop in a bag of snacks, so you have something to munch on if you’re feeling peckish.
Now that you know what to expect from a dance festival, what Latin dance shoes and essentials to pack, and all the happenings you can experience during a dance festival, are you ready to take the plunge and book your first dance congress?