Brisbane was the host of the ‘Brisbane Brazilian & Latin Dance Congress 08’. This was the first of its kind joining two very different and influential communities into one event. On the one hand there were the Salseros & Bachateros, and on the other we had the Zoukeros and Brazilian style lovers (Samba de Gafiera etc).
The Congress was held at the University of Queensland, Saint Lucia Campus. It was great that it ran right through Queen’s Birthday weekend, allowing us to take advantage of an extra day to plan a long holiday.
The event ran for four days! Wow! I was impressed with the number of workshops offered and the four parties. Well, there were five parties if you count the pre-congress party. As soon as we arrived the excitement was palpable on the faces of the Brisbanites, both the instructors & the organisers.
What was good:
- The congress ran for four days! So we didn’t feel like everything was crammed into a short amount of time. Also there were a lot of great workshops to choose from e.g. V cssr . Salsa, Bachata, Zouk (plenty of these), Mixed Brazilian, Samba, Gafiera and more.
- It had five parties including the pre-congress party on Thursday (I was able to attend three of them). The best one was the party on Friday night, the venue was fantastic! It was big with an excellent dance floor. The music was varied from Salsa, Bachata, Zouk & Gafiera. It kept all the dancers in one location.
- The Brazilian instructors were phenomenal. A special consideration goes to Adilio Porto for his technique of the Zouk dance with TWO & THREE girls (you are the man, Adilio!), and also to Claudio Gomez for his very entertaining and practical class.
- The level of Zouk has improved considerably in Brisbane, Sydney is picking up, and soon it will be in other states. With the appearance of Kadu & Larissa, they have helped to push Zouk to new limits in Australia. dns information Gaspar Ribeiro, as the organiser of the Congress, is a man of vision and dreams as well as a great dancer. You should have seen this guy dancing with Vali Damaskou, what a partnership!
- The Schnolls theatre was great for the Saturday night performances. I still don’t know why they played Mozart during the intermission; I was expecting Salsa or Zouk, oh well.
What could be improved:
- It felt like the strong dance style of the weekend was Zouk. Most of the Zouk workshops were full while the Salsa workshops didn’t have as many people.
- Because of this, it was a shame that internationals like Super Mario, Edie ‘The Salsa Freak’ & Alex Da Silva were not able to shine as much as they usually do. The level of Salsa was not the best (apologies Salseros, but it is true), the majority of people were more eager to learn and dance Zouk than Salsa. The Salsa workshops were at an intermediate level as there were not many Salseros wanting to learn advanced moves.
- The hotels reserved for Congress attendees from interstate were located far from the Congress venue. The taxi fare cost around $22 AUD each way, so we easily spent $100+ per day on transportation. It wasn’t until the last day that we discovered the ferry which only cost $4.50!! Too late after we spent so much money on travel costs. I think the organisers should have provided a plan on how to move from the hotel to the venue.
- Having the two separate rooms for the Zouk & Salsa parties was a good idea, but there were not enough people to fill up both, so the Zouk room had the majority of people most of the time. It got me wondering… Which room were they going to play Bachata?
For Zouk lovers, I’m sure the event met their expectations, but as for us Salsa lovers, we were left a bit unsatisfied. I’m sure the organizers have learnt from this first event and next year the venue, accommodation and organisation will be much better. As for Salsa & Zouk lovers, they will come together at the same location once again! Overall, it was an enjoyable weekend with good friends, good dancers, good instructors, a good city & a great event!
Looking forward for next year!