Friday, August 1, 2008

Recovering from the Salsa Mambo Festival

I returned home early Monday morning from the Salsa Mambo Festival in Palm Springs. Today (Thursday) is the first day I feel "normal" again. Too much fun, too little sleep.

It was a sleep deprived long weekend, which started with me leaving home early last Thursday afternoon, teaching Thursday night (Intro to Salsa) then teaching and dancing for three more days straight. I taught two 3-hour bootcamps with Edie the Salsa Freak, my musicality class (listening/understanding the music), grabbed some naps and food, then danced until around 2 or 3 each morning, repeating until time to leave early Monday AM, after about 4 hours of sleep.

A great time was had by hundreds of people. I danced with total beginners and some of the world-class performers. It's interesting leading someone dancing their first weekend, then fifteen minutes later partnering with follows that were the featured performers, with years of experience across hundreds of leads. I also had a set of great dances with people who have attended in years past, and it was fun to see how much everybody has improved over time.

My partners ranged from around age eighteen to seventy, with an extremely wide range of experiences. As I'm writing this, I realize I was never turned down once over the whole weekend.

I have four articles in draft form based on ideas I had at the event. They need some polishing but I expect all to go live within the next week. I have some photos to upload and some video was shot at the event as well (I haven't recieved my copy yet, so I'll post stuff when I get it.)

If you are looking for a great time this next New Years Eve, this bi-annual event is worth your time. I expect them to sell out the hotel again, so book early (use "Baarns" in the referral code, then I get enough for a couple cups of coffee...)

If you attended last weeks event, please leave a comment and let us know your experiences.

Consciously or unconsciously, you always get what you expect.
--Robert Anthony


  1. Hi this is Fintan from Ireland. Just to let you know what a great time I had in Palm Springs. Hope to make it in New Year. It is great to have a beautiful dance with people who speak the same dance language. I would love to come and teach aswell as dance someday and give my knowledge to all salsa lovers. Fintan

  2. Fintan,

    I just picked up Edie's DVD where you're the lead (from her World's Best Leads series) and it's great!

    Some interesting tips and I have the second one to review this next week.

    You should be teaching, you have some great material!

    Hope to see you New Years!


  3. I have 2 friends in England hoping to go to the New Years event. Could you tell me is it on for 3 nights with the new year being the main night. I danced with a lady I think her name was liz. You said to me what a beautiful dance we had on the Sunday night. If you know who I am talking about could you get her to contact me if you wish to. Thank You Fintan

  4. I see by your website that you are big into the social aspect of dance. My motto in dance is Less is More. When two people connect and this is only done by listening to each others needs. The more you give the more you get back. I wish sometimes that the understanding of social dance can be taught. I would love to teach what i know. Strange as it may seem, a person has to get it wrong before they get it right. Great work on your site. Fintan

  5. Don,

    I just wanted to thank you, Edie, Sonyo, Bernard and everyone else who made this event possible.

    It was my first time attending the event since I just started taking salsa classes a couple months ago...(I always wanted to I just never actually did it)

    Having experienced the Salsa Mambo festival was such an amazing experience! I now feel even more passionate and excited about dancing and learning more advanced moves!! It was intense!

    I had so much fun I wasn't expecting to stay an extra day and I did!


  6. Yadira,

    Glad to hear you had a great time! Every year it gets better. Please keep us in the loop as you continue to grow.

    Wait until you go back again. The next time is even better because you know more people, and that compounds the fun.

    Save me a dance next time!


  7. Fintan,

    The New Years SMF runs from Dec 30, 2008 until January 3, 2009 (Tuesday through Sunday). They can stay for the complete event, or pick the days they wish (Wednesday though Saturday nights will be the larger crowds.)

    The earlier people book, the more they save.

    I don't think the site is up for registration yet, but it will be in a week or so. I'll post something when I find it live.

    Tell them to put "Baarns" in the referral box. (Disclosure: I get a few cups of coffee for that...)

  8. Great Thanks for that. So other people have said that you look like Steve Martin. Fintan

  9. Fintan,

    Yea, I get that occasionally. Once they get to know me it's clear I'm not as funny, rich or good looking as him.

    It's primarily when the lights are low at the clubs, after they've had a few drinks and things are getting blurry.

  10. I see by looking at comments recently that the understanding of edie's best leads are in wondering who these people are. To have a great social lead.
    1. It is all about the other person.
    2. Connection
    3. Don't be a show man. Get to know each other while you dance.

    A simple tip to men is please look at the lady. The best leads for me are the ones that are suggested before lead. If you reach out your hand for a handshake with someone you are suggesting your intention before executing your thought process. What is your definiton of a great lead?

    My aim now is to find the near perfect follow. I had a lady in Palm Springs as I said and her level wasn't high but her following was a dream.

    What I tell ladies in my area. Is to picture that they are going to be pampered with a taxi ride for the day. They dont know where they are going so they sit back and enjoy the journey. Fintan


I love feedback. Your thoughts, feelings and comments are appreciated. Civil disagreements and other points of view are always welcomed!

Feel free to send me private mail if appropriate.

Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero