How to Survive a Salsa Congress.
What is a "salsa congress"? Well, I would briefly describe it as a "salsa frenzy" event! This is
an event that salsa lovers (mostly salsa addicts) come together from all over the country
(and the world depending on the size of the congress) to learn, dance, mingle and watch
awesome performances. It can be intimidating to attend if you are a first time attendee.
Here are some simple tips as to how to survive your first salsa congress.
**Be mentally and physically ready. You must be calm and excited at the same time but
not anxious. Do not let the idea of meeting very good dancers scare you. Tell yourself "I'm
going to have fun at this congress no matter what". Try to get some rest before you travel to
the congress. Many congresses have before the congress party. If you plan on attending a
party, you will need your energy level to be high. The parties are really nice and lots and lots
**Be honest about your skill level. This is truly very important if you want to have a
great experience. It is not to your advantage if you try to take an advance class when you
are truly a beginner. Think about this for a minute. Imagine the combo that will be taught has
double spins in it. You are a beginner that just learned how to do a single spin correctly and
doesn't have good balance yet and lacks proper tension in the arms. Do you think you as a
beginner will enjoy "trying" to do a double spin? I doubt it. Plus on top of that you will slow
down your dance partner (assuming the dance partner is advanced). You will learn so much
more if you choose the workshops appropriate to your skill level. Most people rate
themselves way too high. Yes they do. So do not do what most do. Be honest about your
skill level. It is really beneficial to do so.
**Bring a video recording device (with tripod if you can). I find this to be an extremely
useful tool especially if you bought a full pass and intend to take as many workshops as
possible. You will not be able to remember all the combos at the workshops. So to avoid
stressing out that you won't be able to get your moneys' worth because you will not be able
to remember the salsa lessons, the video recorder is your tool to document each workshop
so that you can go back and watch it at a later date and could take your time really learning
the lesson. This has helped me a lot in many years of attending salsa congresses. I still have
those combos and I do occasionally go back to check out what I learned years ago. Most
instructors will ask the class to bring out the camcorders after the workshop so you could
record the combo as they perform it for you. If the instructor doesn't allow any kind of
recording, ask someone who knows the combo if you could record them. Most will say yes
to your request. In my experience I have not been turned down with that kind of request.
Most salsa people at congresses are friendly and want to help.
**Bring your salsa gear and money. Do you have a "salsa bag"? This is your personal
bag that will have your shoes, shoe brush and other things you would like to bring to the
lessons. Why money? This is just in case you need to buy water or juice or other things. A
small towel is good to bring. Sometimes the room can be hot and some combos can make
you sweat. An extra shirt is not a bad idea to pack in your salsa bag.
**Have a great attitude at the workshops. Keep in mind, everyone in the class is there
to learn just like you. So instead of stressing out about the class, have a "going to learn"
attitude. This will make your experience a more pleasant one. Be friendly. It works every
time. A student who is not stressed out learns better.
**Bring healthy snacks and drinks. Remember your salsa bag? Do bring healthy snacks
with you like fruit or energy bars. Avoid candy or cookies. This will give you a burst of
energy but you will crash. The same goes with your choice of beverage. Avoid the sugary
energy drinks. Bring water instead. If you like to have some taste, you could purchase
Monavie Emv (very good energy drink - no crashing) or juices. You will be using a lot of
energy especially if you bought a full pass. That is all day workshops. You will need to
replenish your energy.
These are just a few things you can do to make you experience at your first salsa congress a
fulfilling one and one to never forget.
Please feel free to pass this on to your salsa buddies.
About the Author :
John "salseroblanko" Morey is a salsa instructor who started dancing in 2000, teaching in
2001 and has performed at several salsa congress including the West Coast Salsa Congress
in Los Angeles CA. Salseroblanko is noted for his fun teaching style and his attention to
detail in emphasizing great foundation. He is an engineer by day SALSERO all the time. He
has established the salsa scene in Greenville, SC and is currently the driving force in the
growth of Salsa in Huntsville, AL. www.salseroblanko.net
Article was written May 21, 2010.