Valentine Dance Festival Berlin 2019
In February 2019, I went to Berlin for the Valentine Dance Festival. Usually, I choose “Kizomba only” events but, for the Valentine Dance Festival, I made an exception. They have four styles: Salsa, Kizomba, Zouk, and Bachata. My festival review is only about the Kizomba part though.
This is what it says on valentinedancefestival.com:
Imagine a place where you can forget all of your stress and worries
Imagine a place where you can relax and breathe
Imagine a place where you can be yourself
A place where you will make FRIENDS…
A place that will make you SMILE every time you’re there
A place where you can DANCE to your heart beat and enjoy every split second of it
A place where no one will be judging you…
For who you are, where you are from, what you look like, how you speak and how you dance
We want to invite you on 13-14-15-16 of February 2020 to such a place…
VALENTINE 2020 ♥ BERLIN THE PLACE TO BE
We love creating this special event FOR YOU…
We will bring everyone together – ALL styles, ALL levels, ALL nationalities – for four days and nights of dance and fun.
Be part of it!
I wanted to be part of it!
Valentine Dance Festival – How to Get to Berlin?
Well, Berlin is the capital of Germany and it’s super easy to get here. You can choose between the plane, the train, the bus, or car.
- By plane: Berlin has two active airports, Tegel and Schöneberg. Either has lots of national and international flights every day. If you’re flying within Europe, I recommend searching for flights with Ryanair. You can also check on flight search engines like Skyscanner or Momondo. My favorite one though is Kiwi, which is giving you many different possibilities eg. with alternative close airports and bus connections. Use KIWI5 to get a 5 euro discount.
- By train: Especially for travels within Germany, I often opt for the train. Due to delays, the Deutsche Bahn doesn’t have a great reputation though. I recommend either trying to get special deals with called Sparpreis with Deutsche Bahn or, if you’re lucky and you’re traveling from one of the connected cities, to take the brand new FlixTrain. You may have heard of FlixBus (which I will talk about in the next paragraph) and FlixTrain is first railway competitor of Deutsche Bahn in Germany. I got some special deals and paid less than 3 euro each way from Frankfurt to Berlin. Usually, prices vary between 10 and 30 euro depending on how spontaneous you book and how busy the ride is.
- By bus: I’m a huge fan of FlixBus. I went everywhere in Europe with this company and rarely had problems or delays. It’s cheap, reliable, and if you work online, you can get work done while you travel. This is definitely my favorite means of travel in Europe.
- By car: Getting to Berlin by car is no problem but finding a place to park is. I don’t want to discourage you but to avoid getting fined I recommend using one of the other methods. If you really need a car when in the city you can use one of the many car sharing apps, like Car2Go, DriveNow, or the new Sixt Car Sharing app.
Valentine Dance Festival
The Valentine Dance Festival 2019 edition took place at the Maritim Hotel not far from Tiergarten. It’s located centrally and if you wanted to, you could walk from there through the Tiergarten to the Brandenburger Tor in just 20 minutes.
The Urban Kiz floor was right behind registration and was the second largest room of all after the Mambo floor.
This is where the Urban Kiz workshops and parties took place.
Since this is an ‘all in one’ event, you could also book a room at the Maritim. For more affordable options, the Valentine Dance Festival collaborated with the DJH Youth Hostel, which is just a 5 minutes walk from the venue.
For lunch and dinner, you could buy vouchers for 10 euro and dine with the artists. The food was served in the Youth Hostel and not in the hotel. I did that once and although the food was not really worth it it was nice to spend some time with the artists. Just talking and not dancing.
The Maritim hotel though has a restaurant and a bar with snacks and drinks if you don’t want to eat at the Youth Hostel.
The socials took place in a medium size room on the second floor of the hotel. It was a little bit difficult to find and since there were no signs, especially in the beginning, people had some problems figuering out where the room was. But as soon as we all knew that the best way to get there was by taking the elevator everyone enjoyed it.
The music was mostly Urban and Tarraxa but there were also Traditional rounds. The dance floor was a bit crowded especial in the late afternoon and most of all followers were waiting a lot to get to dance.
I participated in a few workshops. My favorite ones were with Ronie Saleh and Baris Gök.
Ronie’s workshops: It was my first time attending a workshop with Ronie. And he didn’t disappoint me at all – his musicality and creativity are amazing. Also, he was joking a lot and made everyone laugh. His personality is making it a very special experience and although the workshop was crowded it wasn’t difficult to follow his explanations.
It was a fun yet intense session. Check out their demo here: Ronie Saleh and Nima.
Baris’ workshops: Baris and Katya are a Kiz couple from Berlin. They were new to me but convinced me with their interesting approach pretty much from the first second. They try to lead as much as possible by intention. No wonder their workshop was called “Light Leading / Active Following”. They repeatedly told us that the leader should never push the follower but gently show her (or him) by the body movement what to do.
Yami’s and Marta’s workshops: Marta was the first European artist that I did a workshop with back in summer 2017. I really like her style and was very much looking forward to doing another workshop with her and to meet Yami. I really liked their choreo although I have to say that it was a bit advanced and they taught so quickly that it was difficult to learn. But in the end, I was able to lead it and also tried it on the social floor.
I also tried to attend the workshops of Enah and Pocahontas as well as of Curtis and Carola. All of their workshops were so crowded though that I left after a short while and can’t say anything about them.
For me, the parties are usually the best part of the festival. And the Valentine Dance Festival made no exception – at least the main parties.
The pre-party took place in a location pretty far from the center. Also, it wasn’t included in the festival passes and was pretty expensive- 15 euro. I can’t blame the organizers that there has been a water damage the very same day of the pre-party, which is why there was only one floor instead of two. Because of this, they reduced the entrance fee to 10 euro. I’m not sure what happened to the people who had already paid online. Maybe with the second floor it would have been better. But one floor was way too small and it was not much fun to wait for your preferred style to dance.
But the main parties were amazing. The Urban floor was so big that it was rarely crowded (which doesn’t happen at many festivals!) and even when people were waiting at the sides they weren’t really blocking anyone’s way. There was almost no “dancing into each other” and I remember only happy faces.
The Valentine Dance Festival was one of my favorite festivals so far. I liked the venue, the artists and the general level of the dancers. It felt like a very international event and I’m happy that I was part of it.
PS: The cover photo is my own but the photos from the venue and the workshop are by Angel Padilla. Thanks a lot for allowing me to use your shots, my friend!