Athens… Olympic! What else can I say..
December 4, 2008 § 3 Comments
Ok, everyone already knows I was in Athens,… and almost everybody I know was there 🙂 Well, not all, but still,… Athens felt like a general reunion of all salseros I have ever met on any congress. Plus a couple of thousand of new ones. 😉
This was a super-sized festival. Everything was exaggerated – in a good way. First the line up. If I had to add anyone else on that list I don’t know who would it be (SDS couldn’t make it, otherwise even they would be added). There were just all currently top and most wanted instructors and performers. Crazy!! Eddie Torres, Yamulee, Swing Guys, Tito&Tamara, Tropical Gem, Susana Montero, Leon Rose, Magna, Flamboyante, Neeraj&Gosia, U-tribe, Hacha Y Machete, Albert Torres as moderator and … Ok, I can’t name them all… there were just to many. But I have to mention Supermario of course :), the co-organizer,.. and Todos and Maria the organizers of the 1st Todo Latino Salsa Festival.. Though I would rename the festival in Todo Loco Salsa Festival, if it was up to me 😉
Second fascination were the live bands!!! Oh my god. Imagine New swing sextet and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico on the stage and 2.000 dancers dancing under that huge stage?! Simply WOW! The music was PHENOMENAL!! You could just listen and enjoy it as much as dancing on it. (I don’t have to stress, that this time the songs they played were not 20 -30 minutes long, but only 3-4 min each!). And how do you squeeze 2.000 dancers in one venue? Well, you rent an Olympic stadium of course… what else?!
Yeah… I still can’t believe the super-sized things that were there.
Did I mention parties were on till 8am? No, correction,.. they actually ended at 8.30… which was the time for performers to do their rehearsal for the night shows. 2 hours of shows each night!!! Plus the competition!
Ok, so many data,.. I have to organize a little bit this review, otherwise no one will understand anything.
Where does the soul derive from?
Maybe I should start with a negative critique, cause positive are obviously countless.
So, here I go… The problem and observation many salseros (experienced salseros) noticed, was that the festival didn’t manage to develop its soul yet. Being big and beautiful was obvious, but feeling good in that XXL situation was not natural. I don’t know if it was because of the size of the venue, the number of people or just because everything was so fancy.. but something was missing, something that small and friendly festivals usually posses (no, I’m not implying anything!! 😉 ).
Anke and Gil went 3rd!!
Since Anke and Gil are very dear friends to us we were cheering for them in the competition part and they did good. I mean the competition was tough! Adrian&Anita, Anne&Anichi, Anke&Gil (damn, if your name starts on a letter A, you obviously stand a good chance of being good in salsa), Ramon Morales, 2 guys/couples from Tropical Gem… The first round (16 couples) wasn’t as impressive. Some couples were off beat and all they did was social dancing. But the final 10 couples had to do social dancing twice and perform they routine. It was those routines that stole the night. They were awesome. It was hard to judge on them… We all knew it was between the three A-named couples (and Gil ;)), but we didn’t know who will take it. I honestly thought it will be Anne&Anichi, then Anke&Gil and third Adrian&Anita. But the last couple won in the end and took the grand prize of 10.000$ !!!!! Yeah… I won’t even start talking about that price. Anne&Anichi went second and Anke&Gil third. Congrats to all!!
Workshops, dancing level etc.
Using the strategy of naming my favorite classes won’t work here. Eddie Torres – YES! Tito&Tamara – UF! Neeraj&Gosia – LOOVE IT! Tropical Gem – CHALLENGING! Susana and Magna – UH UH! Whichever class I took was awesome. And the parties – no bad dancers I think. I got two beginner dancers, otherwise it was all advanced, which caused me getting nervous! And all those shiny, good-looking, smooth and stylish ladies … If I were a guy, I wouldn’t want to miss that. 😉
I danced a lot. My ankles started to hurt actually. And quads, from all those stair-climbing. Each time one wanted to reach some place, one had to climb stairs…
Dancing level – impressively high and challenging for me.
Shows? No, I won’t.. I can’t.. there’s too much to say.. they were… damn… you see the line up.. there were no bad shows.. not even on Sunday!! And the stage, the lighting, I mean, they even got fireworks! Though the stage was a bit too far away for the audience…
As expected the festival remembered a great shining star Lee Wright who has so shockingly past away two weeks ago. The organizers posted a nice memoriam into a festival brochure. What was even nicer was that Susana and Leon dedicated their Friday night show to him and Erelle from U-tribe spontaneously said a few nice words to him. Shelley participated at the congress as well, but people were asked to respect her privacy. The world is still shocked.
Hm,.. this might be the shortest section. cause unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to see the city.. At all!! Yeah it sounds stupid, but I couldn’t miss the festival, right?! I did walk once or twice from the venue to the hotel and drove with a cab to the airport. Does that count?? Ok, I’ll come back for the city. I have the phone number of a funny taxy driver – he knew three English words and talked for an hour using them. And he gave us the most creative business card ever – postcard of his hometown on which he wrote his name and phone number in case we ever come back. 🙂 Otherwise, I was completely disappointed that Greek people don’t speak English. Damn… They only speak Greek.. even if they work in tourism! How stupid is that? You ask for a drink, you get a Greek answer (I assume saying they don’t speak English).. you ask for a way and they say it is written on the road (yeah in Greek alphabet.. O joy!). I liked the weather though. 🙂 I was receiving mms messages saying Slovenia is covered with snow and we were wearing short sleeves 🙂
Well, what do you know.. this section didn’t turn out that short anyway.. 😉
In short, all that happened in one weekend. Did I miss anything out? I’m sure. Whoever was there ,please share your thoughts on the festival. Maybe the organizers will make it even better next year 😉 🙂