Hong Kong Salsa Festival 2014: Event Rundown and Recommendations

In the light of this week’s Salsa Festival in Hong Kong, I am publishing this entry a day earlier than usual.

Whether you are new or a veteran in the Salsa scene, the annual Salsa Festival in Hong Kong is a highly recommended event that lasts for a week, ranging from workshops and performances by featured artists to parties in various locations accompanied by some of the top DJs, you’re bound to be fully entertained for the week.

Now, as with my all entries, this post is simply a starting point that I personally recommend based on my opinions and feedback from having attended the festivals in previous years, as well as a guideline for possible beginners.

Kindly note that the following information is accurate at time of publishing this entry.

When is it?

Right now! It is happening everyday this week February 17 (Monday – today!) all the way to February 23 (Sunday).

Where is it?

At various locations, depending on which days and what you’re attending. Check the official website for specific details.

But there’s so much to do! Where do I start?

Yes, I agree! So, for those of you who are planning on taking a few lessons during those days, let’s start with some workshop recommendations (based on practicality).

Workshops

Ladies Styling/Ladies Technique
By: Liz Lira
Difficulty: All
I highly recommend any lesson by Liz Lira, particularly if it were a Ladies Styling class. She is an excellent teacher who knows how to break down instructions step by step, particularly if you’re a beginner. Even experienced dancers can learn a few tricks from her in just one session. Highly feminine and with great showmanship, it’s always a joy to watch the Rose of Salsa in action.

Lifts and Tricks
By: Acro Dance (Steve Maltezos and Rachel Gilliland)
Difficulty: Preferably experienced
If you’re a complete beginner to dancing, it is preferable to simply stick to learning only the dancing for now as lifts are generally restricted to performances only. However, if you’re an experienced dancer and are looking for something new and/or exciting to learn (provided you don’t have any persisting injuries), this class is a great class to take, particularly as Steve Maltezos is a fantastic teacher while providing you with safety instructions.

Shines
By: Artist dependent
Difficulty: Beginner friendly
Firstly, to answer the question: what are shines? In Salsa, it is the solo work when the partners are separated during the dance, to shine when they’re dancing alone during a song…henceforth the term “shine”*. Indeed, there will always be a chance where you may be dancing on your own in a song. For beginners, these workshops are particularly good if you’re just starting out as they will teach you some simpler moves you can easily remember and can start using with immediate effect (usually during your first party dances after these workshops).

*Note: People generally have different interpretations on the word shine in Salsa, but we all agree that the basis of shines are the individual work of a dancer when they are not specifically doing the lead and follow in the dance.

Pachanga
By: Gupson Pierre
Difficulty: All
If you’re going to learn a dance outside of Salsa and Bachata, I would tell you to go for Pachanga. Not only is it a fun dance, you can also actually incorporate it into your own Salsa shines as this can be danced to Salsa music. Additionally, despite the fact that I have never been taught by Gupson Pierre before, I do have friends who have taken classes from him and have given his teaching plenty of rave reviews. So I’ll take their word for it!

Difficulty level notes: Unless if you have never ever danced before, don’t let the difficulty labels put you off. As long as you have grasped the basics of Salsa (even if you only know the basic steps), the level difference is not too big of a problem.

Parties

It wouldn’t be a festival if there weren’t any parties now, right? These are the dates and times that I highly recommend on going (based on the likelihood when the local regulars and international dancers will show up).

Tuesday night @ 7 Heaven: If you can only do 1 club party night during a weeknight this week, make it the Tuesday night, mainly because this is usually the scheduled night for local regulars during the weeknight parties. Not only do you get to party with the Hong Kong based boys and girls (and getting acquainted with them before the long party weekend hits), if you arrive early enough, there’s usually a pre-lesson too.

Friday and Saturday night:
2000-midnight @ HKCEC
midnight-0500 @ Charterhouse Hotel Champs Bar

For weekend parties, I do suggest heading to the ones on Friday and/or Saturday nights if you’re able to have the stamina to dance the night away. Not only will the local residents be more likely to show up for those evenings, it’s a great chance to get plenty of good dances without repeating the same partner.

If you’re new to the Salsa scene, particularly if you’re looking into getting to know more dance buddies, this is a great chance for you to experience the best joys of social dancing. Even if you’re a veteran dancer, do go anyway because I’d love to see you there!

For detailed information, please visit the Hong Kong Salsa Festival official website: http://www.hksalsafestival.net

Do also check out the open Facebook group for any possible up to date changes that may not be listed on the site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30857826890/

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