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Canada Salsa Congress Survival Guide

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:01 pm    Post subject: Canada Salsa Congress Survival Guide Reply with quote

Ok, so you have made the decision to go to the Canada Salsa Congress at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel for the weekend of Oct 7-10, 2010. Now it’s time to think about what you will need to enjoy and optimize your experience there. A little planning and strategizing goes a long way, and will make your Congress experience a more rewarding one. The following tips are tips for surviving the Canada Salsa Congress:

(1) Sleep:
a. Sleep lots the weekend before – be fully rested for Congress, you will be in workshops during the day and social dancing at night. Being rested affects your level of alertness and will impact your ability to absorb new information at workshops.
b. Take a nap – If you plan on dancing all night and then waking up early to attend the workshops, naps are great for restoring and re-energizing.

(2) Be selective of your workshops: There's going to be a variety of workshops for you to choose from – Plan to attend specific “can't miss events” and stick to those. It’s not likely that you will recall everything that was learned if you try to go to all available sessions. If you choose to go to all the workshops, bring a video camera to record what you’ve learned. It is ok to sit and watch a workshop – you will still learn and it’s ok to miss one if you are exhausted.

(3) Put together a self care kit: Put together a little travel kit that contains the essentials: Ibuprofen for sore backs; Band-Aids for arms and feet; Icy-Hot or some variation for aching muscles; some safety pins or a needle and thread (for potential wardrobe malfunctions) – basically whatever you think you might need for a mini health or wardrobe emergency.

(4) Bring a camera/video recorder: Cameras and video recorders are great for capturing those special moments during Congress. They are also great for capturing lessons/turn patterns taught in workshops. Lots of people were recording workshop turn patterns last year to help them remember what they had learned in the session.
• Please remember to ask the instructor of the workshop if it’s ok to record the session. Videotaping of workshops is only allowed at the end if the instructor permits.
• You can also leave the ballroom and record you and your friends doing the workshop material.
• No videotaping of performances is allowed but you can take photos and video of social dancing and live band.

(5) Eat regularly: You are going to be very busy dancing all day and all night (workshops and at the social dancing parts) so make sure eat at least two good meals dependent on your schedule. If you don't eat you're not going to have energy to keep going. Snacks are a great idea, as they will give you energy boosts as you go. Some examples are: granola bars, fruit, and nuts.

Note: there is an onsite snack bar with healthy snacks as well as quick meals to meet your nutritional needs at the Congress this year

(6) Hydrate: You are going to need to replenish your fluids frequently as you will likely be exerting yourself physically from the dancing and will be sweating. I.e. Water, juices, Gatorade etc.

Note: there will be free water stations in every ballroom for congress participants to access and use.

(7) Pace yourself: Remember you don't have to dance to every song or go to every workshop. Take it easy, and enjoy the experience. If you don’t you risk burning yourself out by trying to do everything. For first timers, try a little bit of everything, in moderation.

(8) Dance: you paid good $$ to come and experience Congress. Dance and socialize, you don’t want to be stuck on the sidelines or just be taking pictures the entire time you are there.

(9) Dance with somebody new: Dance with someone you have never danced before – this goes for the ladies too! If you want, practice asking strangers and advanced dancers throughout the year (or weeks prior to congress) so that you do not get stuck dancing with the same small group of people throughout Congress. Remember you came out to meet people and experience the variety of salsa styles from around the world.

Tip: make it a goal to dance with at least 5 people you don’t know every night. Try and dance with people from other cities and countries - this may be your only chance all year to dance with people from outside Toronto. If you need practice asking someone to dance, ask a Salsa Ambassador - they wear glow in the dark necklaces and the organizers guarantee they won’t say no!

(10) Practice Good Hygiene: Make sure you're clean and ready to go. Breath mints, gum, deodorant and cologne are every salsa dancer's best friend. Your dance partners will appreciate it. If you are dancing day and night, it might be a good idea to shower in between, if possible. Also see no. 11.

(11) Keep dry: You're going to sweat from dancing and taking workshops. Bring a little hand towel to dry off with or a dry change of clothing. This will prevent you from getting sweat chills and your dance partners will appreciate it as well.

(12) Wear comfortable shoes:
a. Now is not the time to break in a new pair
b. Try to alternate your dance shoes from night to night, wearing the same pair 3-4 nights in a row can bother your feet.
c. Wear dance sneakers of jazz slippers for workshops and save the heels for the socials.

(13) Stretch: Remember to stretch before and after dancing for long periods of dance. This will prevent you from getting really sore, tight muscles (which are a risk for pulls, sprains and strains).

Note: There will be a stretch class available to Congress participants on Saturday from 5:00-5:30 PM and Sunday from 4:00-5:00 PM.

(14) Consider booking a hotel room: For those travelling from far distances and will be participating in the event for the whole weekend, it may be more enjoyable and restful to stay at a congress hotel than to commute back and forth. You can opt to share a hotel room with friends – that way you can sleep more, take naps during the day, shower after the workshops, change your shoes when your feet bother you, change your shirt when you are sweaty, take an elevator to bed instead of driving an hour home, etc.

Most of all:

(15) Have fun & don’t be intimidated: Don't take things to seriously. Have fun dancing, socializing and meeting new people! Sometimes it can be intimidating to see so many people on the floor at one time and be on the dance floor alongside master instructors. Don’t forget that everyone was once a beginner, everyone remembers their first congress and salsa people are just there to enjoy themselves – they are not judging you!

Written by: Nadini Doodnauth
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Jennifer Aucoin (Steps Dance Studio, Canada Salsa Congress) and Pavlo Farmakidis (United Salseros instructor) for ideas and feedback.

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. ~Agnes de Mille
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