I was introduced to my first Salsa festival in November 2016 when I was convinced to attend the Cape Town Salsa Festival with a group of Durban dancers who are now more family to me than anything. It was nothing I could have imagined and everything I didnt know I wanted! I had zero dance experience and still mangaed to have the best time because people in this community are very welcoming to absolute beginners. It’s very refreshing to see.
Since then I’ve done a few more local Festivals like the Mzanzi Jozi weekender (Mar 2017), Annual Ahora sea weekender at the Johannesburg Country Club (November 2017), International Akoma Dance Spirit Festival in Johannesburg (Aug 2018), Johannesburg Afrolatin Festival (March 2019), Mambo City in London UK (May 2019) and my last festival was Croatia Summer Salsa festival in Rovinj (June 2019). My biggest regret of 2019 was not being able to attend the Mother City Dance festival in Cape Town because it was one that I held close to my heart and I heard it was off the chain! 2020 Mother City festival is not negotiable I cant miss it again!
It seems I have become a festival junkie… It should say something to you about the energy one experiences in these types of environments. Not everyone has the experience I have, I know, but I can only share with you my experience to be truly authentic.
My next festival will be a repeat of the Johannesburg Afrolatin festival! ( you can find all information here: https://www.afrolatinfestival.co.za )Why am I doing this festival again you ask! Have a read on my previous post called influencers I wrote on 18 March 2019 (here is the link for your ease of access https://tamstame.com/2019/03/18/influencers/ ). I didn’t focus so much on the dancing because the impacts that were made on me at this specific festival were more internal and self improvement moments were had. This year with all the internal work that I have put into myself, I can now attempt to focus on actually doing this dancing thing properly and not making excuses for my lack of knowledge or ability anymore… It’s simple, I need to focus on the musicality (which I can begin to learn at this weekend), I need to find my own ways to express myself, I need to get out of my head and last but certainly not least I need to practice! I dont aim to be a professional dancer that has a career in dancing, my interest is purely on a social basis, but if I’m gonna hang with this crew I HAVE TO UP MY GAME. Coz boy are they not waiting for me they are flying by!
Everyone has a process that they have to follow for their individual situation, my process has been a complicated one, but certainly not an impossible one. The key to my 2020 year is to finish and to not throw in the towel because its out of my comfort zone. Yes it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. This doesn’t apply to dance only, it applies to everything outside of my comfort zone. My internal struggles that happen in my mind. 2019 was my year of placement, 2020 is my year of using where I have been placed to the fullness of it’s capacity in ALL aspects of my life. Career wise, in how I mother my daughter, in learning to dance and in my travel opportunities. I just want to stop wasting momentes that I could use based on fear or embarrassment. I look at 2019 and so much was handed to me that I didnt fully utilise, I could have grown so much more if it wasn’t for fear of being in the spotlight. This year even if I make a fool of myself I will not shy away from the challenges thrown at me. Starting from today, challenge accepted is no longer just on my weight or in my videos or my writing. It’s extended to everything that challenges me, that stirs a little bit of fear in me… I accept the challenge that life throws at me. To everyone who will see this as an opportunity to be a negative force and amuse yourself in my challenges, let me help you now by saying I accept your challenge anyway and I hope that the darkness in your heart that pushes you to hurt others will be outshined by the light I hold in me to help others.
So my 2020 festivals will begin with The Johannesburg Afrolatin Festival from 12 to 15 March 2020 (https://www.afrolatinfestival.co.za ) and it looks like it will end with the Mother City Dance Festival in Cape Town from 05 to 09th November 2020 (https://www.facebook.com/MotherCityDanceFestival/ ). Everything that happens inbetween these dates will be taken one month at a time and one challenge at a time!
To all my South African readers, if you have never attended a dance festival, I guarentee you that you will have an out of this world experience! Check out the links provided and grab yourself a weekend of PROPER dancing and entertainment! Don’t fret if you dont know how, there are local schools in your area that can teach you a thing or 2 in the next few weeks and there are also beginners classes at the festival for those of you that are just having a looksy. Trust me, it”s worth every cent that you will spend!
For my international readers, if you ever needed a reason to visit our beautiful country, this would be one of them, come and experience the vibrance of the South African Dance community doing what they love and sharing it with everyone who dares to show some interest.
Lets challenge ourselves in 2020 and for all the years to come. Dont be stuck in your comfort zone, you only have this life so live it to the fullest while you have breath in your body. Find where your heart is happy and then do as much of that thing as you can. For me its dancing, for you it could be anything else.
Live your life in the midst of the things and the people that bring you happiness!