What to do: Watch World Class Dancing
Evening dance shows are theatre-style productions that take place in the hotel ballroom on a beautifully lit, raised stage. The entire space feels sophisticated with small details, like luxury cars, that add flair and glitz to the overall environment. The ballroom’s lobby boasts a full bar, handpicked vendors, and several backdrops for snapping photos during what is sure to be a night to remember.
Expect to feel inspired by the creative numbers from local dance groups and in awe of the artistic expression and unparalleled calibre of the professional dancers during the shows. While salsa, bachata, and other Latin dance styles like hustle, Kizomba, and Afro-Cuban are the most represented at the Calgary International Salsa Congress, you’ll get to witness a wide variety of dance styles like hip hop, modern, and jazz too.
After the shows, make your way into the lobby to enjoy a cocktail as the event staff turns the ballroom into a dance floor for you to enjoy the rest of the night. If you feel inspired, take the Introduction to Salsa and Bachata class taught by one of Calgary’s local professional dancers. Designed for beginners and those who have never taken a dance class, the instructor will break down the fundamentals of lead and follow and teach you a few easy moves you can try out on the dance floor that very same night!
The night continues all the way until 3:00 a.m. with social dancing and socializing. There’s a salsa, bachata, and kizomba room each with a live DJ. You’ll find dancers of all levels and experiences on the dance floor, so don’t be shy asking someone to dance. If you’re lucky, you might even get to mingle with World Champion dancers like Harold and Regan from Winnipeg, and Adriano and Samantha from Montreal, and Anya Katsevman from New York City both on and off the dance floor.
Pro Tip: After the shows on Sunday night, there’s a Professional Jack and Jill Competition which begins at 11:00 p.m. Professional dancers are paired with random partners and asked to dance everything from salsa and bachata to hip hop and reggaetón. Things get rowdy quickly, props get involved, and dancing devolves into a full-on performance that’s bound to have you in fits of laughter.
Pro Tip: Social dancing goes until 3:00 a.m. all three nights, but I suggest heading up to your hotel no later than 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday so that you have time to get to bed and get some rest if you’re planning on attending workshops in the morning.
Pro Tip: Everyone feels nervous asking someone to dance, but that isn’t a reason not to do it! Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, follower or lead, beginner or expert, challenge yourself to ask at least five people to dance each night. If someone says no, don’t take it personally, just keep asking until someone says yes.