LLF 2018 - The Romance Edition
Are you wondering why a salsa festival was titled the Romance Edition? Well simply because it made us fall in love! We fell in love with the ambiance, the artists, the dancers, the DJs, the shows, the social dancing, the outfit themes, the pool party, the venue, the beach, the sun, the competitions, the workshops, … I sound like cupid got the best of me yea!
To people from around the globe we say: if you really want to have a grasp about what the Middle East is like, it’s a must to join the Lebanon Latin Festival. You will realize from the very first moments that the people of these countries are full of life and passion. You will be lucky enough to feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks every early morning while the party has not ended yet! You will enjoy the hot summer positive vibes throughout the day while attending the fun workshops or relaxing in the pools around the venue which lies in the heart of one of the most ancient cities of Lebanon, or rather Roman empires once left behind in history: Byblos. You will embrace the magic of the nights while gazing into the starry skies ruled by a shining moon as bright and full of glamour as the outfits of the dancers gliding and spinning in the dance halls.
Let’s stop speaking poems and state facts: Lebanon Latin Festival is the number one festival in the Middle East and ranked one of the best festivals in the world. Let’s check out what the Romance edition was like!
A diversified line-up to please everybody. Some artists are part of the family now and keep on taking part in this festival on yearly basis like the international multi-champion the most amazing Alien Ramirez. Generations of Salsa dancers in Beirut look up to her as their inspiration. Moreover, this year wasn’t the first time to host the most famous salsa icon in the world, Fernando Sosa and his Tropical Gem. Fernando Sosa not only contributed to raising the bar when it comes to the workshops but also made attendees rush to the ballroom early in the evenings to save a spot and watch the shows!
The Romance Edition also featured Pablito y Su Mezcla Latina, and lucky enough were the dancers who took his Bootcamp and showcased one of the most successful bootcamp shows in the history of salsa festivals!
Mr. Musicality, Mr. Angelo J. Rito, not only lit the stage with his smooth moves but also burned the dance floor every single moment throughout the social dancing scene. Kizomba fans also had their share of luck having had the chance to learn from the best Morenaso and yup the ladies took turns social dancing with him or to his tunes as he DJ-ed in the Kizomba room.
The master of Zumba, William The Wild Shaker, had 2 rooms joined together for his master class as a big number of attendees had been waiting eagerly for these moments!
Ok, I can go on and talk and talk and talk about each and every artist in that line-up and trust me most of them represent big names when it comes to the Salsa worldwide community. But to be honest, If I try to describe them I will run out of words I’d rather we spend a couple of minutes enjoying watching some of the videos as those beautiful people dance! And you’ll get the picture 😉
Just Click on their names to watch one of their videos, as you did before.
Leon Rose Project
Gaby & Estefy
Martin y su Latin Madness
Miler Rodriguez & Georgia
Nina & Zerjon
Talal & Edyta
Marcio & Kimberley
Javier Padilla & David
Sergio y Marichu
Sam & Linda – France
In other words, the organizers literally thought of every single dancer while choosing this line-up made of all types of social dances currently danced by the salsa community people.
Check out more artists, some of which are local:
Maychael & Mayra
Camilo – Colombia / Qatar
Fabian Cano & Estefania – Spain
Antonis & Haroula – Greece
Jimmy S.A. – Egypt / UK
Khaled Tegana – Egypt
Saif DA – Dubai
Yamativo, Oshan & Ebru – Qatar / Turkey
Yassin Mutati – Kenya
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Luis Vasques & Farid Ferchach
Yup, I created a section just about these 2 guys 😀
Funny is not the word I’m looking for. Hillarious… nop not even close. Amusers, jokers,
humorous, comic, comical, droll, laughable, chucklesome; hilarious, hysterical, witty, quick-witted, waggish, facetious, jolly, jocular, light-hearted; entertaining, diverting, sparkling, scintillating;
silly, absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, risible, farcical, preposterous, slapstick;
informal side-splitting, rib-tickling, laugh-a-minute, wacky, zany, off the wall, lol
I don’t know what exactly were the organizers thinking of when choosing to put them both on stage together, but one thing I’m sure of: watching these 2 causes serious life-elongating laughter. Beware.
I’m also pretty sure like more than 80% of the attendees rushed to the show’s ballroom each night to be entertained by the MCs :p
A big shout-out to all the Lebanese academies who performed on stage this year! They succeeded in demonstrating how much have Lebanese dancers levelled up. Healthy competition is always key to improvement.
International artists inspired the crowd with the best of what they got.
I personally was amazed by 3 spectacular shows: Tropical Gem of course, because of the way this group moves as one, so powerful, so energetic, so creative and such a fusion of moves that kill literally every dance passionate watching them! Dancefloor, for the smoothness in style and the great body isolation techniques they demonstrated. In addition to Angelo Rito, Mr. Musicality for literally making me “see” every musical instrument and note come alive on stage.
Some of the other performances which entertained me are: Pablito y Su Mezcla Latina, Gaby y Stefy, Maychael & Mayra
Pool Parties & Line Dance Craziness
Saturday schedule included Line dances by the beach, Sunday schedule had the major pool party at the VIP pool and Monday was a full day dedicated for dancing by the beach. I’m pretty sure that social media is by now flooded by videos of dancers dancing by the beach or the pool at the LLF 2018. And yes that’s true: the sandy beach is that magical! And attendees actually never missed a minute without dancing, music was played around the luxurious venue, artists took turns doing animations and line dances (all previously prepared and scheduled obviously which shows high levels of organization). What kind of was prompt and spontaneous was the scene of the huge number of dancers enjoying dancing ethnic dances altogether around the pool once the Greek Zorba music was played followed by the traditional Arabic songs and Dabke’, not forgetting all the Afro line dances that drive attendees off their feet! Credits to Christos Chakallis and Farid Ferchach for setting that kind of ambiance. Also, a big salute to the dancers Saif Da, Gaby, Miler Rodriguez (& the Mexican Mafia), Morenasso, and all the artists who took part in igniting the fire and not having it turned off no matter how much water was splashing around ! :p Sounds like fun, fun & more fun!
What’s a festival about without the workshops? Logically speaking, a diversified line-up will provide a variety of workshops adequate for different dancers. 8 areas where 8 workshops took place during the same time duration throughout 3 days. The types of dance covered were: Salsa on 1, on 2, Bachata partner work, Bachata Lady Style, Kizomba, Salsa Hip Hop, Footwork, Cuban, Afro House, Cha Cha Cha, Zumba, Timba, Ballroom, Men Styling, Semba & more… Some of them took place indoors and some were scattered around the venue outdoors. This affected the attendance of the workshops because the hot summer weather outdoors affects the dancers in such a way that they may not be able to complete several consecutive sessions outdoors, so they choose the indoors workshop for the benefit of the AC 😀 A suggestion was heard among attendees at all times to be allowed to bring water with them to the venue. Maybe another suggestion would be having water and other drinks companies as sponsors for the festival.
World Salsa Summit
For the first time in Lebanon the WSS competition was held during the LLF on Thursday night preceding the first party. International judges included Alien Ramirez, Ashtoy Juliana, Billy Fajardo, Morenasso, Javier Padilla, Martin Gonzales, Angelo Rito, Daniel Lopez, & Martin Avendano. The competition included Social competition” in 4 dance types: Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Cha Cha Cha and divided among several divisions as announced on social media months ahead. However participants were a few and all were announced winners. We highly encourage Lebanese dancers to participate in such competitions which may raise the bar higher when it comes to social dancing. Also dancers from visiting countries are highly recommended to share their talents. Moreover, it is recommended that the LLF committee may communicate to academies the rules & regulations and the definitions of the different categories and divisions, because even if they are stated in detail on the FB page, it is not clear to dancers who have never participated in such competitions to understand to which category they or their students fit in and what to work on to score higher.
With such an amazing festival and an awesome atmosphere, photographers and videographers did a super job by capturing our happily amazing moments and sharing them on their official pages on social media. You can check pictures and videos by visiting the official page of LLF or the photographers’ too:
Clearly, LLF has been a success story from edition to edition. One major success is the fact that it combines all academies in Lebanon under one umbrella. Another major success is the fact that it also joins all different academies from different Middle Eastern countries together. We’ve seen Egyptian groups grow bigger year after year, Syrian schools become a big part of the participants & Dubai people contribute as an indispensable factor for what they bring along from DJs (successful internationally) in addition to the diversified nationalities who join the madness. Cyprus adds its unique flavor to the liveliness of the festival. Also dancers from Jordon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, & Europe spend their annual vacation in one of the hottest and most luxurious beach resorts in Lebanon. These audiences are the essence of the festival, and without them there is no festival. A grand thank you as well to the people who put this festival together year after year and allow us to live an entire week in a world of dance, beach, sun & fun!
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