Here's my report on the SalsaMed Festival (21-23 May) I promised... This was my first ever weekender. It was a lot smaller in scale than major international congresses, with an attendance figure of a few hundreds rather than thousands, which made it less intimidating for a backwater salsera like me. As you would expect from a Salsa-UK event in Spain, the English and Spaniards were the biggest groups, but there were also people from other countries. There were parties at night Friday, Saturday and Sunday and workshops during the day Saturday and Sunday. The venue was a very nice 4-star hotel in a small resort near Salou, in Costa Dorada, and the holiday package included accommodation at this hotel or 4-star resort complex next-door on half-board basis, plus flights and transfers. Workshops ran from 11.00 to 6.30 (or 7.45 if you took optional classes) and were organised based on fixed classes, i.e., you would indicate your skill level at the time of booking and would be given a pass to the class of your level on arrival. You would be allowed to move to a different class if the class you were placed in turned out to be too easy or too hard (I started in improvers and switched to intermediate), but you wouldn't be able to choose which workshops to attend freely. The advantage of this system was that you would have regular "classmates", which made it easier to make friends. Also, all the teachers taught all the classes at least once, so you wouldn't get the usual problem of overcrowding in classes given by famous/popular teachers. The drawback was that you wouldn't be able to take, for example, higher intermediate classes in LA style along with beginners' Cuban, so people familiar with only one style struggled to keep up with some of the workshops. I was going to do all 12 workshops but was too tired and had to skip the Sunday optional class. I really liked Susana Montero's classes -- very good breakdown of moves with lots of small tips to make things flow smoothly. Also enjoyed Edie and Al's workshop, which was inspirational and fun if a bit fast-paced. I also took Edie's ladies styling workshop (optional), which was all about her "freedom concept". You are probably familiar with this if you have her styling video, but it was all new to me and very interesting. Parties started at 11pm, but dancing didn't really get going until well after midnight. I left around 3.30., but I hear hardcore dancers stayed until 5am. There was a show time during each night, including a "world premiere" of Edie and Al's new show on Saturday (a sequel to their robot piece but this time with a Wild West theme -- very entertaining). The most memorable, however, was the cross-dressing competition on Sunday with a "Miss World" contest (see photos on the Salsa-UK website (w w w.salsa-uk.com/images/HOF/SalsaMed2004/01/Page2.html) -- spot Al and Nelson Flores in drag :shock. Outside of the show times, it was very much a straight no-chaser salsa/mambo affair (over the 3 nights, the DJs played two cha cha's, two bachatas and no merengues! :shock, but I felt that, considering the overall amount of dancing during the event and the varied skill levels of participants, there were a bit too many turbo salsas and not enough variety. I sat out a lot more songs than I normally do. 's: Meeting lots of salsa people. I was apprehensive about going alone, but by the end of the holiday I made many friends, both in and outside my class. Dancing with my "dream partner" -- I had my best dance ever with a complete stranger! We clicked instantly, and he led me beautifully. Even multiple spins didn't spoil it. I danced with him only a couple of times but made sure my last dance was with him, and when I thanked him, he complemented on how light I felt. I went back to my apartment like this -> :bouncy: Witnessing cross-dressed Edie and Al dancing in reversed roles -- hilarious! One of my classmates I got friendly with managed to get a trophy dance with Edie. Seeing a beautiful bachata performance. Watching London dancers dancing in the airport waiting room (I would have joined in if it hadn't been for my injury). 's: Falling and hurting my knee on arrival at my hotel. It didn't hurt at that time, but obviously dancing day and night wasn't the best thing to do... by the time I got home it was twice the size and I was limping. Not dancing very well at the parties -- especially Saturday night, when I was too tired after 6 workshops. The marble floor didn't help either. Not only was it hard on your feet, it got sticky as the party went into full swing and the temperature (and humidity) rose. Isn't it funny you can have your best dance ever on an off night nursing a sore knee? Not having time for anything other than dancing. It was my first visit to Spain, and all I saw was the hotel, a couple of beach-side cafes and the airport. I think I'll opt for the 1-week package next time, which gives lots of free time for exploring the area as well as excursions to clubs in Barcelona. Realising that I probably won't have a chance to dance with my "dream partner" again... :cry: Having to wait at the airport for 9 hours for my flight home -- my flight was delayed over 7 hours. I got home around 5am looking like a living dead.