Down the Docks

May 7, 2006

MamboCity 5* Congress

Filed under: Salsa — ealing @ 12:11 pm

In 2004, I went to my first salsa congress, organised by MamboCity at Heathrow. Last weekend, back for the third time in as many years, I took it easier but had more fun.

Calling this congress "the five-star" illuminates the difference between it and the UK congress at Butlins. As soon as I walked into my room, I was pleased I'd decided to stay in the hotel rather than travel in and out every day. My roommate had to drop out at the last minute as well, so I was left with a double room to myself.

I missed the classes on Friday evening, because I had a very lazy day. My salsa weekender therefore started with the shows. I don't know how I'd missed it before, but Tito and Tamara are fantastic. I had an easy, fun night of dancing; the only downer for me was realising how few people had come down from Newcastle or York. The night finished by chatting until breakfast time, then being the first into the dining room.

On Saturday I tried Tito and Tamara's chacha shines class, and Eddie Torres' two-hour monster class. I'd hoped he would do some partner work, as I had a lot of trouble with it last year, and wanted to see if I'd improved. We did shines instead, which was still fun.

The Pheasant, around the corner form the hotel, must love salsa dancers, as you can barely get moved in there as we cheapos flee from the over-priced hotel food. Dinner, bed for a couple of hour, and then up to see the shows.

The same pattern was repeated on Sunday, substituting Hacha y Machete's partnerwork class for Tito and Tamara. This is a very light class load by my standards. It doesn't seem to have helped me to retain more of it either!

Eddie Torres and his dancers divided opinion in the audience. A lot of people don't like them, and I can see that they might seem a bit boring. I think they're have elegance and simplicity, which I like. Eddie Torres himself might consider whether he should move over to choreography and leave the dancing to people with a bit more energy, but it's his outfit, and I admit I really liked his pachanga-esque thingy with Kim on Saturday night.

Hacha y Machete are still great, Marchant Birch's new group "Alchemy" was good too – you could clearly see Marchant's style throughout the choreography. I'd never seen Lisa and Mark on stage before, but I really liked their combination of styling and partnerwork. Candice & Lautaro's Saturday night Cuban show didn't do much for me, but I did enjoy their Sunday show. That's probably just my cross-body bias. I was disappointed that Manhattan Mambo didn't make it to the stage; I've only ever seen one of their shows, and I think they have some very capable dancers. Maybe next year.

Saturday night in the Commonwealth room was very crowded. When we moved to "the R'n'B room", whichever one it was, there was still a big appette for more salsa, judging by the way people reacted to what was played. On Sunday night the dancing was moved from the Commonwealth into the County room. This worked better than I thought it would, and kept a fun atmosphere.

On Monday morning I slept straight through check-out time, but did manage to vacate the room within about ten minutes of waking up. Going easy on the classes hadn't spoiled my weekend at all. The only thing that threatened it was fatigue, but whenever I wasn't sleeping I was doing something more fun, so what was I to do?
The next congress I'm definitely going to is Bognor, which seems like an awful long way away.

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