Salsa Festival

Question Every Dance Festival You Attend

These are some questions you should be ask yourself before attending any dance festival:

  1. What’s the lineup like? Are they bringing local or international instructors?

  2. Is it the event in one location or multiple locations? How is transit/parking?

  3. Who’s DJing and how much experience do they have?

  4. What is the sound system like? Do they have monitor speakers?

  5. Is there an ambiance/atmosphere/theme in the main room? (lighting/decor/vibe)

  6. What’s the floor like?

  7. What’s the hotel/venue like?

  8. Who’s attending the festival? Is it all local dancers or more national/international?

  9. How much does the full pass cost? Is it worth it for the artists, DJs, and overall experience?

  10. Are there shows? How many shows are there each night? Do they have shows every night? Do the shows run late cutting into social dancing?

  11. What’s the overall vibe/energy of the festival like? Are people stuck in team clicks or are there solo dancers trying to make new friends?

  12. What’s the promoter’s reputation like?

  13. What kind of online presence do they have? Do they communicate via FB/IG with dancers in regards to concerns and last minute updates or changes?

  14. Are there other activities that we could do outside of the dance event?

  15. Is the festival the same every year? (same talent, same dancers) Are they trying to do something different each year to improve the dancer’s experience?

  16. How much time do you really have social dancing?

  17. Why are you attending the event? Is it for the workshops, shows, social dancing, or jack & jill?

  18. Is the festival primarily a showcase/performance, competitive (jack & jill), workshop, or social dancing (marathon), or vacation type festival?

  19. Does the festival offer multiple rooms with different dance genres or focus on one specific style of dance?

These are just a few questions, there are MANY more you could ask yourself.

Let’s improve the overall dance scene by raising the bar. With so many festivals in today’s world, the quality has gone down, and many festivals feel the same.

Being aware of the different types of festivals, congresses, weekenders, and events will help you become a better consumer in the dance world.

Everyone attends events for different reasons. There will always be unhappy or dissatisfied attendees. However, being aware and investing in events that improve overall scenes is something that we should all strive for. Quality over quantity is the name of the game. Hope everyone is having an awesome summer!

What you should know about an amateur vs experienced videographer.

Should festivals have hobbyist/amateur videographers? Ideally, no. They shouldn’t.

Here are some reasons why:

1.  They make people feel uncomfortable - Some dancers don’t want to be filmed 24/7. If you’re an artist, it’s expected.  However, a lot people are there just to social dance and don’t want to be on camera(I’m one of those people).  Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re having an amazing dance, only to open your eyes and have a videographer in your face.   You turn away and dance towards the opposite direction signaling you don’t want to be filmed. The videographer proceeds to follow you and continues filming.   Your amazing moment is over because the videographer didn’t get the hint.

This is a prime example of what I see all the time.  Again, it’s okay if it’s packed at 1 AM and you’re near the stage dancing with an artist.  However, a lot of amateurs will go to the back of the room and film people who don’t want to be filmed.  This makes people feel uncomfortable and lessens their experience. If you’re a social dancer and would like to be filmed, let the videographer know so they can look for you on the dance floor.

An experienced videographer knows when and how to film certain people.  Filming is an art. You don’t want to show people that you are there with a camera (ie. big LED lights on cameras filming 24/7), you want to blend in and keep your distance.  You want people to watch the video and think - “How the heck did they get that shot?” A 70-200 zoom lens allows us to film people from a distance.

2. They record too much - Amateurs will record everything.  Every social, every couple, every demo- everything.  The problem with this is that you want to maintain a professional image online and not show dead space.  Dead space shows the room isn’t that full and that there aren’t that many people present. You want to show that your event is packed. There is no reason to film at the beginning/end of the evening when there aren’t as many people.

An experienced videographer will shoot to edit.  They have an idea of the shot they need and are imagining how they are going to edit the video.  They’ll shoot during the peak hours of your festival to show the maximum amount of people are present(and also use the right lens).  What’s better? Having 800 gigs of unusable footage, or 200 gigs of amazing footage?

3.  They upload to their own business page - Most hobbyists will upload to their own FB/IG page in hopes of getting as may likes and shares possible.  This benefits them, and not the festival. All video content should be uploaded directly to the client’s page using their logo and branding.  

4.  They claim they have a following - If a person has 3 million followers on instagram and they film your festival, how many of the 3 million followers will actually attend your festival?  The sad reality is: not many. Yes, it’s great for exposure and visibility. However, most of the people consuming dance content and following these types of IG accounts (featured accounts) aren’t really dancers.  They just enjoy seeing boobs, butts, and/or super sexy dancing/grinding.

A person with a following does not mean they are good with a camera.  There are people that are influencers and run featured accounts that do not film.  Again, these people are good for exposure and visibility, but not good for online branding, professional video, and creating value for the dancers that paid to attend your festival.

Viral videos are great for exposure but won’t bring more people to your festival.   We wrote a post about this a few months ago: Pros and Cons of Viral Dance Videos


5.  They don’t do recaps - Most amateurs just film demos(which is really easy and abundant these days).  A recap is extremely difficult to put together in a short amount of time. It requires many lenses, different angles, different locations, different types of movements, and many hours of editing.  

Recaps don’t typically get a lot of views and don’t go viral.  They are created to provide value to everyone who attended your event.  They allow people to reflect on your event and will forever have something to look back on.  It’s a compilation of the entire weekend condensed into one or two minutes.

6.  They decrease the overall value of your festival -  Do you ever see videos online that make you cringe?  Have you seen promoters use poor spelling/grammar when marketing their festival?  Having no online content of your festival is better than having bad content. In today’s online world, social media presence is everything.  It’s good to take a step back and look at your overall image online for your brand/event/festival.

Sometimes it’s nice not having a photographer/videographer present. There is no hype, flashes, or someone following you around snapping 10 photos trying to get that right angle. Everyone is dancing together as one, without any interruptions or distractions.

If latin-dance festivals attracted 5,000+ people, this article would not have been written. However, most latin-dance festivals attract 150-800 people which makes it a unique and sometimes difficult environment to engage and film dancers.

This post was written to strengthen the dance community and create the best possible environment for dancers. Festival organizers and promoters should be aware of the people they bring on to capture their event. Knowledge, experience, awareness, and common sense applies to anyone filming or photographing Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk festivals.

If you see SBKZ Media present at your festival, please introduce yourself and say hi. When filming, we’re always searching for those smiles :)

Unified On2 Congress; The new latin-dance congress in Los Angeles

We are excited to announce that we will be filming the 2019 Los Angeles Unified on2 Congress taking place in Orange County, California on March 22-24th, 2019. It’s not often that promoters on West Coast book international talent, so to say we are excited is an understatement.

California deserves festivals that attract both local and international talent. It’s all about providing value to local dancers that aren’t used to experiencing high-caliber talent from abroad.

As an event videographer, it will be very fast-paced and challenging trying to capture all those special moments. We’ve had the pleasure of filming Juan Matos, Rodrigo Cortazar, and Griselle Ponce at past festivals and events.

The hotel is conveniently located to major freeways in the heart of Orange County. It’s about a 15 minute drive to either Newport or Huntington Beach. The festival will have three rooms; a salsa room, bachata room, and brazilian zouk room (where we’ll be DJing as well)

Again, it’s great to see a new event that strives to bring a top-tier lineup along with unifying the local scene. Congratulations to Mario and Jose for making this happen and we can’t wait to produce an awesome recap!

Be a part of this amazing first year festival and get your passes below:

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National Lineup

  • Griselle Ponce (New York)

  • Sin City Salseros (Las Vegas, NV)

  • Majesty in Motion (San Diego)

  • MG Dance company (Los Angeles)

  • Omambo Dance Project (Los Angeles)

  • Benny & Brandon Ayala (Portland)

  • David & Carla (Stilo Dance Co Phoenix)

  • Lawrance Garcia (Arizona)

  • Christina Montoya (Los Angeles)

  • Mike Zuñiga (OC)

  • + many more!

International Lineup

  • Rodrigo Cortazar (Mexico/Spain)

  • Bersy Cortez (Venezuela/Spain)

  • Juan Matos (NYC/Milan)

  • Jessica Quiles (PR/Barcelona)

  • Jorge Martinez (Mexico)

  • Maria Catalan (Mexico)

  • Ernesto Lopez (Mexico)

  • Armando Cervantes (Mexico)

Karel Flores @ Unified on2

The Unified on2 Project kicked off 2019 with a bang. Karel Flores flew from NY to teach a fun and challenging workshop. The workshop started with stretching and posture technique followed by a high-energy footwork sequence.

Karel Flores is a professional salsa instructor and choreographer and is originally from Mexico City. She is one of the biggest names in the scene and currently resides in New York.

We had a blast filming Karel and she was definitely a fan of our shiba inu - Nana. The last time we filmed her was at the 2016 LABKS Festival. Hope to see you again soon Karel!

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Eddie Torres Jr. @ Unified on2 Project

It’s always a pleasure filming the Unified on2 Social, held by Mario Gatica once-a-month in Orange County, California. He always bring top national and international talent from the salsa scene. During the day, he hosts a number of workshops and at night, the dancing doesn’t stop until 4 AM. This was the 3rd year celebration of the event and no better than to bring the one and only Eddie Torres Jr. to teach a 4-hour choreo bootcamp.

In the past, we’ve filmed artists like Amneris Martinez, Marco Ferrigno, Juan Matos, and Luis Ernesto.

The next event will be on January 26th, 2019 with Karel Flores. Hope to see you all saleseros, bachateros, and zoukeiros there!

****UPDATE**** - January 17th, 2019

The video below has almost 500K. Below are some reasons why this video has gone viral and done so well on Facebook on Instagram (almost 5k views).

  1. Content - Clearly the dancing, energy, passion, and facial expressions says it all. SBKZ Media asked Eddie and two other couples to perform this just for fun at the end of class (we were really tight on time).

  2. Distribution - We posted it using a certain aspect ratio and text to enable it to go viral on FB’s algorithms.

  3. Quality - This isn’t handheld cell phone footage. It’s good quality video with amazing content. This video isn’t going anywhere and will hopefully one day hit 1 million views.