I happened to be in the area for the DouDouLe Latin Dance Camp (18-20 May) which is held every year on the Gold Coast, about an hour drive from Brisbane. DouDouLe is the labour of love of Sydney dance busy-body Jean-Luc Lambs and I'd say it's one of the rare mixed dance events that's actually a hit. The event hosts a group of Australian and international teachers on several latin styles – this year they had classes on salsa, zouk, bachata, cha cha, samba, afro jazz and pachanga.
There were 1 hour of workshops on Friday and Sunday and all day on Saturday (7 hours). The zouk was well represented on the Saturday's program with workshops by Kadu & Larissa, Alisson & Audrey and Bebe & Rachel as well as Donovan Cochrane and James Quinn-Hawtin. I ended up getting the most out of Alisson & Audrey's class "zouk turn patterns" and still after one month remember most of it! All the workshops were great and the teachers seem to enjoy the festival as well.
I kept wandering on and off in the area, checking out a couple other workshops as well. On the international front one of my favourites were the Italian couple Vito and Stefania with the energetic and fun pachanga – lovely teachers with a great personality!! I filmed this clip at their workshop: take a look in case you're not familiar with pachanga!
Parties were on Friday and Saturday night and Sunday morning (yes!). There were tens of shows at around 8-10pm on both Friday and Saturday – student shows as well as shows by the teachers. Parties started right after the shows and went on (officially ‘til 2 am) ‘til about 3.20 am. The music was a mix of all the styles and the DJs tried to make it so that is was about a third of salsa, a third of zouk and a third of the rest (bachata mainly). I tried to stay on the floor as much as possible but mainly rested the salsa songs, though there wasn't too much time to rest... even one girl asked for a salsa!
I had great zouks with the locals and lots of amazing connections, especially with some of the bachateros. The Saturday night had an "Into to the Jungle" theme which was really fun and so many people came up with amazing - and funny - costumes. It's a shame I didn't have time to go and take pics from all the dancing. I was a bit disappointed when the Saturday night party ended - so I guess that means that I enjoyed my time there!
One of the best things about DouDouLe was how well it was organized. It stands out among most festivals & congresses by that everything was arranged for us attending the event: All the food (two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks + coffee & tea... and all healthy food) and the accommodation in ~7 bed ensuite dorms are included in the price (329 AUD for the weekend). So you don’t have to look for a good place to stay or find time to go out to have something to eat. The location is also nice, next to the beach and they utilized that by having a beachata class (by the bachata world champions Nestor and Katrina!) on the beach at sunset on Saturday – and Sunday morning they had a beach party as well!
All in all, it was a fairly relaxed event and can recommended it to anyone who likes do go to an event with a couple different latin styles!