From a place like Panama City, where Salsa is everywhere, the expectation for the Salsa Congress – that by pure coincident was in the same weekend as I was there! – grew naturally high :)
When I reached the location Fiesta Casino on Friday evening I was super-excited.
But I had to ask 3 times “donde esta el congreso?¨ and then 3 more times “donde estas la sala de baile?” before I had to surrender to the truth.
This was the smallest congress I have been (smaller than Limburg, if you´ve been there :D), with a dancing floor surrounded by dining tables where no more than 30 couples could dance at the same time (on the left a picture of the dance area taken the day after before the workshops).
I was speechless! It took some time time and some chats with people to understand what ws going on.
Panamenians are proud latinos, they all know Salsa music by lirycs and they all claim to dance Salsa. That´s part of their colture. Plus, in ordinary school they get 1 hour/week of music/dance classes where they learn how to move.
So, the Panamenians that are listening Salsa on the bus and that can tell you everything about the artists and musicians, can’t care less about the Salsa festival… also because of the locally prohibitive price of 60 USD for the full pass!!
So the crowd was a mix of expats, people from somewhere else and local dance freak.
Aaaanyway, the festival was well arranged by a local Salsa school (Panama Hot Salsa) with the formula of parties with shows and live concerts at nights and workshops during the days, with teachers coming from Costa Rica, Venezuela, Honduras, United States and indeed Panama :)
Saturday morning I was there at 10am ready to start the day of workshops, and I discover a typical things in Panama: nobody was there on time… not even the organizers!
Nothing started before 11am :D
I enjoyed the workshops, with different levels and styles, including a “beginner Tango” given by a couple of Belgians living in Panama’ that gave me some hopes to have a quick start in Argentina…
They were amazing dancers freestyling on random songs and there were people with stadium hoorns to support them!!! (picture on the left)
Lots of people watching the shows and enjoying them, but again not much space for the dancers.
I liked the energy of the band as well as the fact that it was one of the few concerts without songs 20 minutes long, that are great to listen to but terrible if you’re dancing with someone you don’t like ;)
All in all this is a congress that will grow in the future, but it’s something create by the local Salsa schools for the local dancers that is not suppose to reach out the masses of Salsa lovers you step into around Panama’…
The Panama Salsa Congress is back!
The 5th edition will be from 5th May till 2nd June 2013.
More information here: Panama Salsa Congress.