So by now you know what salsa congresses are, and why dancers get so giddy about them. But how do you get the most out of a congress, and do you need to “prepare” for it? Most dancers learn this stuff the hard way, but we thought we’d just tell you, and make sure you have a great first congress experience. Here are 6 tips for having a great time at a congress:
- Get your pass early
Congresses aren’t cheap – apart from the registration costs, if you’re going out of town you also need to account for transportation, lodging and food costs. Most congresses have “early bird” pricing a few months ahead of time, so if you’re looking to get a full congress pass at half price, plan ahead!
- Get lots of rest
Hard-core dancers take workshops all day, have a 3-4h break, then watch the shows and dance until 3-4am, only to go back to workshops at 10am the next morning. It’s easy to get swept up in the energy of the congress and want to do everything, but it will leave you very, very tired by the end of it. Get lots of rest for a week or two before the congress to make sure you’re in good shape to learn and dance for 3 days.
- What to bring
– Your most comfortable dance shoes (ladies, bring heels and flats. You’ll be glad you did)
– Comfortable clothes for workshops, nicer ones for the evenings
– A camera (at the end of every workshop, you’ll be able to take videos of what was taught)
– Water (always) and an energy bar (just in case)
- Be smart when choosing your workshops
Pick your workshops carefully, and make sure they are suited to your level. Better to do fewer classes that will teach you moves you can use regularly, than to exhaust yourself trying to do everything, and remember nothing at the end of the day.
- Never pass up a chance to take a break
You’ll likely have a jam-packed few days, so any time you can squeeze in an hour’s rest, do it. If there’s a workshop slot where nothing speaks to you, skip it and relax for an hour. Also: never underestimate the power of afternoon naps; many dancers take the time between workshops and shows to sleep, so they can dance well into the night.
Dancing might not seem like exercise when you’re having fun, but you’ll feel it in the morning! Give yourself a good stretch at the end of every day; ladies, pay special attention to your feet, your calves and your hamstrings – dancing in heels will take a toll on them!