I assume most people at this blog know what a dance congress is, but I like to ELI5 things as much as possible, and it just occurred to me that some folks reading this blog may not even know what a dance congress is.
For the uninitiated who may not be familiar with dance congresses or festivals, the term congress or festival is used interchangeably to refer to a three-day weekend dance event for one or more specific dances, usually held at a hotel but sometimes held at a non hotel venue. These events have more than 200 people attending and have the feel of an immersive dance camp. The format usually followed by a dance congress is several dance workshops featuring local, national, and international instructors teaching a dance concept, individual move or pattern of different moves from 10am to 5 or 6pm, a break for dinner, performances featuring professional and amateur dance teams and individual performers from 9pm to 10 or 11pm, and social dancing in a gorgeous hotel ballroom setting with different individual ballrooms dedicated to one style of music/dance from around midnight to 6am.
Many consider dance congresses to be worth the travel and expense to be taught by international instructors they don’t otherwise have ready access to in their hometowns, and for social dancing at a higher level than the weekly socials in their hometowns – assuming their hometowns even have weekly dance socials to begin with. I’ve often described congress social dances to people as “all of your favorite dance partners, and others who are just as awesome as they are, in one room.” Eventually, when you make enough friends in out of town dance scenes, dance congresses will be the main setting at which you see those friends.
However, the financial expense of dance congresses can definitely add up if you go to enough of them, so I started the #FrugalCongressLife blog to help people mitigate these expenses and stretch their dollars as far as they will go while still having a good congress experience, after frequently using the #FrugalCongressLife hashtag on social media as a lighthearted joke.
My personal experience is almost exclusively with Latin and African dance congresses and festivals (my personal interest as far as dance goes is mainly bachata, kizomba, and Brazilian zouk), but almost all of the advice in this blog can apply to swing festivals, ballroom dance events, blues dance festivals, etc.
Now that that bit of basic background for the uninitiated is out of the way, on to the Quadforce of Dance Congress expenses!