Review Of The Bristol Salsa Congress 2016

David's round up of this years Bristol Salsa Congress

I'll be very honest and admit that we travelled to this event with no expectations of what it would be like. It was the very first Bristol Salsa Congress and although we've been to a few events in that part of the country before, it was the first large event run by the organisers, Lauren and Willian. But I'm very glad to say that it didn't disappoint and I'm travelling back to Belfast with a big smile on my face after a great weekend of dancing.

There were just a few of us who travelled from Belfast and the weekend started on Friday with a pre-party in the local salsa club. It was a decent night with everyone getting warned up for the days ahead. It gave us a chance to meet some of the local dancers and also catch up with a few of the teachers who were there for the congress.

Saturday started for us with a Tango class which was really well taught and a lovely change from the usual salsa classes. The teachers were great and very impressed at how quickly everyone was picking up the new dance. There was a nice selection with some of the top teachers in the UK. I think the organisers did well by bringing some of the big names on the UK scene and not paying over the odds for foreign teachers which can be much more expensive to get to the UK. That was a good call and the lineup they chose was excellent, a nice mix of teachers from around the UK and the  local teachers, who all seemed to support the congress and make it a very friendly, inclusive event.

Saturday night was excellent. They had 3 rooms of dancing in the Trinity Centre, the venue for all the classes and parties for the congress. The numbers worked out just right, with it being very busy, but didn't feel crowded and there was no standing on feet that you get in some places. There were a few shows and music from some great DJs including DJ Tuli, one of my favourites. I pretty much danced the whole way through to 3am, with loads of the ladies asking me to dance and complimenting me on my dancing, which is a real bonus and gives your confidence a great boost.

More classes on the Sunday, including a leading/following technique class from Super Mario which was excellent. If anyone thinks they have finished learning salsa, just go to Mario's classes and you'll soon find that you've hardly even started !! Add on to that a nice partner work class from Mauricio Reyes and two hours of spinning with Gil and Shelley, my legs didn't think they would make it through the Sunday night. But survive they did, boosted by some banging music from DJ Angus Peters at the start of the night, then 2 hours of a live band, who were amazing and not the usual 12 minute long song bands that we all love and hate at the same time. The atmosphere was really buzzing and everyone was smiling (all be it sweating as well) and Mauricio rounded the weekend off with a nice mix of salsa and party music at the end. The bouncers in the venue even joined in and man, they could definitely move. Fair play to them.

So, to sum it up, it would get 5 stars from me. Yes, there were little issues but those will be gone if they do it again next year. It was very professionally run, with Willian appearing in a different room every 5 minutes to check that all was okay. I was welcomed in like a long lost friend and I barely know them, but they made us feel very welcome and kept thanking us for coming to the weekend, even through it was them doing all the hard work. I really do hope they do it again in 2017 and I would say it can only get bigger and better. We'll be sure to promote it heavily in Belfast as it was well worth the trip and very reasonably priced. Well done to all involved and see you all in Bristol again very soon I hope !!!

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