I am a very lucky person – I live in the city of one of the best Zouk congresses in the world :). The event is so popular, actually, that it was extended to officially begin on a Thursday! I can’t say it was perfect – and not just because perfection is unattainable, but mostly because Friday night left a rather bad taste in my mouth – but it was still great. If you haven’t made it this year, definitely make sure that next year the dates are definitely set aside for this event. Here are the highlights of you have missed the last weekend (besides, of course, great workshops):
Thursday March 29. This was my one of my secret dreams-come-true of a dress-code 🙂 (I have a few others – and just because I’m a selfish congress-goer, I’ll probably pitch them to Sofie and Carlos so that I get to enjoy them closer to home in case they pick up on any ideas 😀 ).
Everyone showed up in snugly pajamas and some even brought along their teddies (I took with me my big stuffed dog)! I had to buy a pj’s set because my own were too warm for dancing, but I was lucky to find a perfect deal: baby-pink short-sleeve top with a cute sheep on it, saying “Total baaah-be” and baby-blue shorts with hearts all over :D. It was so corny I absolutely had to have it :D. While most participants voted for comfort, you could also see a few very sexy nigh gowns and definitely a lot of humor! The contest winner alone was priceless in his great sleep-walker night robe, night cap, fluffy wolf claws for footwear and a candle :).
We were also treated to a Capoeira show that could easily blow anyone’s mind – these shirtless guys weren’t simply hot and fit (total eye candy, even if you’re a straight male – so imagine the girls’ reaction 😀 ), but they managed to make a complete joke out of gravity and showed off some moves that even big-time mestres could be jealous of! It was so graceful and effortless that it was hypnotizing – and that takes a LOAD of training. Hats down to them!
Despite the bed-friendly overall theme though, you would not be able to fall asleep at the party – and not only because there weren’t enough sheep to count (well, my pj’s had a sheep on them and I also spotted a couple of others, but I doubt anyone who uses sheep-counting is capable of passing out in 3-5 sheep-time seconds 😀 ). Most importantly, the music and the great dancers won’t let you. It is remarkable how many people were able to make it already for the Thursday party! As has become the tradition, it was a “party till you drop” timeline (official ending at 7am 🙂 ) and, luckily, very many people stayed until at least about 5 – but that was only Thursday night!
Friday March 30. The brega idea was taken on a whole new level this year – it would be incredibly hard to meet the high (or, should I say, low? 😀 ) ‘fashion’ standard next time! And to win next time after Pavel would be a hell lot of difficult for anyone!
However, besides the laughs and great outfits, this was (for me – and a few of my friends who left the club early in protest) the worst night of the congress. I guess because the cheesy French Zouk-love music style is popular in Brazil, somebody thinks it’s automatically ‘in’ everywhere else… It’s not. I was tearing my hair out by 2am because whatever was playing sounded like ONE single annoying “lalalalalalalalalala” never-ending track from 10pm till deadline. No wonder more people were on the dance floor on Thursday at 6am than on Friday at 4:30am! The whole night was like having to dance on a record stuck on repeat – there was NO dynamic to the music, no variation, nothing. The maybe 8 total songs of a different style that played that night after the shows were isolated oasis of mental relief – but didn’t last long enough to suffice.
Can I PLEASE ask the DJ’s to VARY the music? Is it SO hard to do? MIX the styles – if you absolutely MUST play that stupid French shit (I mean music style – not origin or language of the songs), then at LEAST layer it up with SEVERAL (NOT ONE – but at least 3-4) songs of a different style every so often. Okay? Pretty, please? Oh and let me know ahead of time if one of the congress parties will have that crap playing ALL night – I’d skip that party next time and save myself the annoyance.
“Oh, but people were dancing”, some might say… Well DUH – of COURSE they would be dancing! They actually PAID for that congress, and many traveled from abroad – so not everyone can afford to basically sit on their ass most of the night desperately hoping for the music to change! Here’s a word from the congress grapewine: you will make MORE people happy if you play LESS Zouk-love/Kizomba music. There is a big portion of dancers who don’t care and can’t tell the difference – you’d please them either way. But there is a HUGE proportion of dancers who HATE that cheesy shit vehemently and subjecting them to it the WHOLE night is psychological torture.
Saturday March 31. At first when we arrived (shortly before the shows) I thought “oh, crap, NOT again!”… (yes, you guessed it – the music…No, you didn’t guess – I really was not the only one annoyed by it. I’m just the one with the blog and slightly less polite than others, so I vent that popular sentiment openly). I was very relieved later on in the night when that crap music spell was finally broken and a decent mix of styles kicked in. Phew! 🙂
I also managed to get a very decent elbow-to-the-eye that night :D. I’m very glad whoever it was didn’t collide with my skull any more to the left or right of the actual impact point – or I could’ve been either knocked out by a serious hit on the temple or lost an eye :D. So now I look slightly like a domestic violence victim, but even that couldn’t ruin the night :). Small reminder to dancers: congresses/parties are crowded so, please, both leads and followers, try to keep in mind that safety is first and if you can’t see behind you – keep your arms and elbows close to your body, as your styling can not only impress someone but also seriously injure. And leads – watch where you’re sending your followers! If you suspect danger – stop the move mid-way and wait till the threat passes ;). Seriously, it’s better to break one move’s flow for a second than to break someone’s nose or something ;). Besides, if we slowly kill off/injure all the great dancers – what would be left of the scene! 😀 😀 😀
Sunday April 1. Sunday night began with a small confrontation at the door (sorry, mate – I won’t take shit from anyone simply out of principle, so next time either give me a good solid reason why to listen to you, or move out of my way. And no level of service position gives you a goddamn right to grab a girl just to show how big your d*** and ‘authority’ may be. Just sayin’. Try instead talking sense to me next time and being nice – it actually works: I’m very easy to persuade with calm, sound reasoning. Oh and Mr. C. – that I am ‘loca’ isn’t any grand news for anyone (although it’s funny to be labelled as overall ‘crazy’ simply because I tend to stick to the dance floor the whole night at every party I attend… Like, why else would I go?), but in this specific case I wasn’t being crazy – I simply have a very low bullshit tolerance threshold, so next time careful with your labels. I may not speak your language but that word is universally known).
Once I finally made it through the door though, the party was a blast! Just like on Thursday, the music was great and varied and the outfits for the sex-exchange theme were spectacular! (Giovanni is my special outfit hero of the night, as well as the two hot ‘ladies’ that won (very unfairly – they should’ve been first!) the 4th and 5th places). It was, in fact, so good that even at 7am I was ready to keep dancing for another few hours, even though this was the fourth night in the row :). I’m very happy the congress picked up over the weekend and ended on such a high note.
Special thanks to Stefan (from Germany… is it “f” or “ph”?..), who asked me to lead for like 4 or so songs – I fried my brain trying to figure out how to do stuff practically backwards from how I’d normally experience it as a follower :D. It was great fun, but by last song I told him I’ve completely run out of ideas haha :D. Awesome mental (and physical) exercise though :D. Maybe one day I’d learn to lead properly.
Overall, except for Friday night music, this was yet again another great event put together by Carlos and Sofie. I don’t know how they do it – but it rocks every time! Palanca club is probably still vibrating to the beats :). It was also great to get together with many old friends from before, and to discover new great dancers (go, Finland! And everyone else I danced with – you all rocked!).
A quick note to the (estimated) 3 people who may end up reading this: if you have some comments on the music – please speak out! Leave a comment, this way it will not sound like there’s just this one whiny bitch (aka me) always being grumpy about the playlists, but instead a true expression of a very common sentiment. If we want to get our own music preferences through – staying silent simply won’t work, so speak up!!! (‘comment’ button is right below 😉 ).
See you all next year!