Attending your first big Salsa Congress is HUGE!

It’s a significant investment of time and money into your Salsa journey.

So in some ways it’s also a statement that you’re no longer just a recreational dancer or hobbyist.

It says that you’ve got serious.


Now Salsa congresses are a LOT of fun.

But the big ones can be tiring – and overwhelming if you are not prepared for the experience.

When you see this amount of Salsa talent and skill under one roof, it’s easy to feel insecure and inadequate.

I want you to have an amazing experience, so here are my best tips for getting the best from your Salsa Congress.

1. Pace Yourself

You will not be able to do all of the things – all the classes on the timetable AND afternoon socials AND burn the floor in the main party room until breakfast.

So it’s important to pick what’s most important to you and prioritise that.

Give yourself time to rest and recover – and have a “brain break” from classes. Sit and watch and take notes if you’re nursing an injury or just feeling frazzled. Hit the spa or just go back to your room for a quick cuppa or power nap.

2. Choose Your Classes Carefully

With so many global superstar teachers you will be really spoiled for choice.

I call it the Salsa Sweet Shop.

Having all these dance delights on offer can make it hard to know which classes will be most appropriate for your level and most enjoyable.

Do you want something easy and fun?

To try something new you can’t do at your local club?

Or do you want to really challenge yourself?

 Congress classes tend to move faster than typical club classes. Unless a class is advertised as “beginner” or “open level”, the instructor will assume that you have the skills. Don’t expect them to slow down or Salsa-splain everything just for you.

 Advanced is exactly what it says on the tin – the instructor will take no prisoners. Advanced congress-goers EXPECT to be pushed to the max with brain-frying, torso twisting and foot-fangling complicated routines.

You will often have a better experience if you take a level down from your usual club level. Many people over-estimate their own ability, especially if they have little experience outside of their local area to compare against.

The biggest stars will always have the biggest classes so if you want to see properly, or just prefer a smaller group, pick the lesser known, lower profile teachers.

3. Be Social…And Dance!

One of the best bits of a congress is the chance to meet more dance buddies.

Sparking up a conversation with someone new as you move between classes, or bumping into people you haven’t seen for ages, or just chilling in the hotel bar with a couple of drinks…it’s all good.

4. Bring Enough Shoes and Clothes

Bring more pairs of dance shoes than you think you need – when your feet get tired, rotating shoes can help – especially if you have existing foot pain or injury.

Lower heels or flats are great for classes and when your feet really can’t take any more.

Guys will need plenty of shirt changes and ladies will need glam gear for the evening parties – not forgetting the extra plan B outfit in case you have any terminal wardrobe malfunctions.

5. Take Nutrition & Hydration Seriously

Bring all the snacks you are likely to need with you as you won’t have time to go shopping during the event.

Whatever your preference is – nuts, dried fruit, protein bars – or biscuits and chocolate for that sugar hit – pack it in your luggage and stuff whatever you need for the day into your dance bag.

Your brain needs fuel as well as your body.

Don’t forget a water bottle!

Plan your evening meal strategy beforehand – especially if you have specific dietary requirements. Check in advance for any pubs/restaurants/fast food joints nearby as an alternative to the on-site hotel restaurant.

Book tables and order takeouts in advance to beat the less prepared folk.

6. Manage Your Social Dance Space and Time Like a Pro

The main room at any congress gets super busy. If you want a less frenetic experience and room to dance, get on that floor before 11pm – or after 2am when all the lightweights have gone to bed!

Be spatially aware and constantly on the lookout for people dancing around you to avoid accidents. If you do collide or step on someone else, do check in with them and apologise.

If you ask someone to dance and get rejected, don’t take it personally. Being proactive and asking as many people as you can is generally the best approach rather than waiting to be asked.

7. It’s What You Do With What You Learn That Matters 

You survived the weekend and now have some wonderful memories along with a phone full of class videos, shows and social dance clips.

Now is when the real work starts (after sleep of course!)

You will only retain the material if you revisit and practice it. Only then will you be able to integrate it permanently into your social dancing technique and repertoire.

I hope these tips have helped you prepare for your first Salsa Congress, and enabled you to really enjoy the experience.

If you are an experienced dancer and have your own tips and insights, I’d love to hear them!