The visionary Eric Lalta and Liduina Aruma Handi Lovert of Fantasia Entertainment took the Salsa Bachata Beach Festival over from Mordechay Krispijn. There were doubts. There was fear. There was a lot of stress. But, because of pure will, determination and a lot of creativity they and their fabulous team put on a dance festival like no other here in the Netherlands!
Friday, May 18th: Highlights
Eric en Liduina’s production: Man! That was mind-blowing.!Where do I start? No. Or yes. The animation team. They created a great atmosphere dressed up in crazy beach wear and making all the guests feel very welcome. The music, the props, the lighting… Everything was done in a way that you as an audience felt like you were part of a colossal theatrical production. And, in a way, we were.
Farid as MC: Fabulous, and a little bit #metoo proof. Just a hint of it though, LOL. Being a budding MC myself I have a lot of respect for him and his multi-talent-hood. I already saw Farid in action at the Haarlem Salsa Festival in 2012. But here he was better. Doing your work while getting instructions from someone else can be daunting. But nothing seems to disturb him. A true professional! Our local hero of the Mayari podcast Tim Alberto was his fellow MC on stage. It was great to have someone of ‘our own team’ hosting the evening.
The first BachatArt Dutch Bachata Dance Competition was a complete success. The winners were all well deserved. I have only one complaint regarding the competition: it was mainly a ‘ Bachata Passion Family affair’ because of the lack of competitors. In this interview held in Dutch the winning couple Joy and Remy asks all bachata dancers in the Netherlands to join them next year and compete for the highest honour! Congratz to all the winners, finalists and especially to BP’s own Geno & Steffie for doing such an amazing job of promoting bachata dancing in the Netherlands and abroad.
The showcase: Awesometacular! I especially was very impressed with the dexterity displayed by the world bachata champion Belen during her warming up 😉
Downer: People started to buy tickets on the same day as the party was planned. So the production team didn’t have a clue in advance on how the turnout would be. It was better than any of them had expected, though! But I would like to urge all dancers attending a festival (or a party of the festival) to please buy your tickets well in advance. That way you’ll help the organizers to keep their stress levels on the low side 😉 I only enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the party. But it was a very well spent 15 minutes! And I also had Saturday to look forward too.
After the party the team had a meeting which I also attended. I went to sleep around 04.45 AM.
Saturday, May 19th: The Best EVER!!!!
I stood at 9.00 AM sharp at the office door to prepare myself for the business seminar. The weekend before that I had the honour of being the co MC at the Dutch Salsa Dance Championships. Eric and Liduina did the whole production of the dance competition, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what they would be doing this Saturday. In retrospect it’s safe to say I didn’t have a clue of what was coming!
The workshops: I followed 2 workshops. The first was one was an excellent Dominican bachata footwork and partnering by the friendly couple Bhavin and Soonruta from India. They have very solid didactic skills. I learned some new tricks from them which I will implement in my salsa classes. After that I followed a workshop by Rodrigo and Bersy. THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! I made this video at the end of the workshop, when the two superstars just started to teach us a salsa musicality class like none that I have ever witnessed before! My apologies for my bad singing, though. Or better yet: I don’t apologise for it. Because everyone should be allowed to sing without fear of being (mis)judged. And the same goes for how we choose to dance as well 🙂
The first Afro Latin Business Seminar: Several Dutch and international afro latin dance teachers, dance school owners, performers, a DJ, photographers, festival organizers and musicians came together to meet and talk about themes having to do with the whole afro latin dance and music scene in the Netherlands. The goal is to learn from each other and to grow together. Eric explained that this was the first of many more seminars to come. His ultimate objective is to organise a ‘Latin Music & Dance Summit’ in the near future. The first one will be held in the Netherlands. After that there will be many more summits in other countries worldwide. During the Summit there will be:
- Seminars and Dance Teacher’’s Training,
- The afro latin EXPO which is a free market place, and
- The Afro Latin Music & Dance Awards. This will be based on the community and the awards will be given by the community. This means that someone who has had a great contribution in the development of his or her own area of expertise will be chosen by his or her peers to be rewarded with the award. You can compare it with the Oscars.
We discussed some themes which I can’t (and won’t) tell you about. The meetings are private and by personal invitation only.
My wife Linda: This Sunday my lovely wife Linda and I will celebrate our 2 years of marriage to each other. We decided to have an early celebration at the festival which started with having a nice dinner at the Kurhaus hotel. After that it was time for…
The Gala Party! Here follows some general impressions: The animation team. Sound and light effects. The Dutch Salsa and Bachata Champions performing. The Bachata World Champions. Singing on stage. The combination of Bachata Passion’s own Meike on the piano and Orvill Small crumping the beejeezus out of it. My wife’s admiration for the raw power being displayed on stage by half naked men with their bodies chiseled in stone. Rodrigo and Bersy: OEF!!! DJ Andre Holland was killin’ it! The flying shark!!! OMG! The Flying Shark!!! The animation from up stage with all the twerking and many more ‘nasty’ things… The Big Exploding Balloons!!! Did I already mention the crazy animation team?
Talking about ‘crazy’…
Crazy Pianos!: After the party ended went to the Crazy Pianos bar. It is definitely NOT a Latin club! The regular folks there didn’t know what hit them when all of us dancers invaded ‘their’ turf on the beach. I understand from Eric that the management arranged with them for only 1 hour of Latin music. Gato Gabriel came on the piano and sang some songs. Farid also climbed on a piano. And then more people followed with crazy acts.
Linda and I were standing in the middle of the room next to a small podium. People around us kept asking us to get on it, so we did just that. And danced like there was no tomorrow! The best part was when we were leaving. I just wanted to say goodbye to the crew, but I ended up dancing a ‘speed rueda de casino’ in front of the pianos! We left around 3.30 AM. But the rest continued to party ‘till 5 o’ clock..
.. with afro latin music!
Sunday, May 20th: Romance on the Beach
Linda and I hadn’t planned to attend the beach party, because we had planned to leave early in order for us to spend the Sunday together with our 2 little kids. After brunch on the beach we went to where the party was to say our goodbyes. We danced a little bit. Then I went to try out the Surf Simulator. It went quite well if I say so myself. The secret is in the hip movements. But then we heard Juan Luis Guerra’s bachata song ‘Bachata en Fukuoka’. It’s one of our favourite songs. We hadn’t heard or danced to it in quite a while, so we ran together on the sand towards that little improvised dance floor on the beach to finally do ‘our thing’. Look at the video clip, which stars the Golden Ratio as a time travelling object. I emulate the dance couple’s ‘dancing in the air’ by lifting Linda up and turning her around with her arms up in the air. It was nice to end this wonderful weekend on such a romantic note. And especially because Linda and I met each other for the first time almost 7 years ago at a salsa party which was also held on the beach 🙂
I would like to thank Desiree, all of the ambassadors, the crew, the event photographers, the DJ’s, the kind and professional staff of the Kurhaus hotel, the artists, the competitors, the afro latin experts who attended the business seminar, the dancers who followed the workshops and/or danced at the parties, and everyone else who was remotely involved in making the Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival 2018 a great success.
Finally: Eric and Liduina, thanks for inviting me to be a part of your amazing adventure. Hats off to both of you. Lots of respect and admiration. Love.
Did you like this review? Then feel free to share it to your family and friends. And I hope to see you in 2019 for the second edition of the new & improved Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival!
My next stop will be the Bonaire International Dance Festival!
- Have you attended the festival? If so, did you like it? Why (not)?
- Do you have suggestions to make #hsbbf better for the future editions?
- Have you seen THE FLYING SHARK?!