Like Festival is a fairly new addition to the international zouk scene. Now I know - let’s not get confused here: Welcome to the Like Festival 2 in Buenos Aires! This is not be confused with the highly popular annual kizomba festival, also called Like Festival, held for the sixth time this September Lisbon. Well, when you use such a ubiquitous world as 'like', it’s no wonder it will pop up in every possible corner of the world. Anyway...
Zouk The World is always curious in anything interesting happening in the zouk scene around the world so I procured a reporter to scout this Buenos Aires Like Festival! Meet Jaakko Pispala, a passionate zouk dancer living in São Paulo, Brazil! He is working behind many initiatives to spread around the world, one of them is a dance-travel agency ZK Adventures, another Lambazouk Finland! He was kind enough of to tell us his Like Festival experience - so sit back and enjoy!
By the way - if you’d like to share your zouk travel story, go ahead and contact Zouk The World!
What, when, where?
Event: Like Festival 2.
Time: 10-11 July 2015.
Duration: 2 days + 2 nights.
Dance styles: Lambazouk and kizomba.
Location: El Loft, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Like Festival was focused on two dance styles: lambazouk and kizomba. An interesting mix - but not bad at all and certainly there's lots of synergies between the two stayles; namely the music! List of dance teachers included for zouk (lambazouk) Gilson Damasco, Renato Dias, Danniel Navarro, Anna Claudia Leite, Flopy and Nadin. For kizomba, there were Ricardo Ferrari (who is also the head of Movimento Lambazouk in São Paulo, Brazil) and Mario Mastrogiuseppi.
Also the artist roster included the singers Paulo Mac and Denis Graça, who performed live concerts at the parties.
Making use of the local public holidays, the event took place on Friday and Saturday. The workshops were held on both afternoons. Both days were kicked off with a half an hour warm-up session before the workshops. After that, starting at 2 pm on Friday and 3 pm on Saturday, there were five hour-long classes per day in a rather spacious hall. There was also another small hall, that was used for private classes during the days. There was one 15-30 min break between the third and fourth class.
There was only one workshop track on the Like Festival. Each day had three lambazouk classes and two kizomba classes. All of the teachers had one class per day. All the classes stated with simple moves and teachers were building on that with more advanced things according to the level of the group. In every class, in addition to the main teacher, there were the other teachers present and participating in the classes. This was very helpful as there were more hands than usual assisting the students with any difficulties they had. The leader-follower ratio was fairly event, there were maybe 5-10% more followers than leaders. In general the level of students was intermediate/advanced.
Only problem really was that since there was only one track of workshop, there was indeed a lot of people in every class - no one wanted to miss any of the classes! Also the classes were conducted in a mix of Spanish and Portuguese, so it wouldn’t have been ideal for anyone who couldn’t understand those languages.
The energy was very positive during the classes and there was a relaxed atmosphere. All the classes were good and people were very happy with the teacher line-up. One particularly memorable thing was the incredible chemistry between the so called lambazouk superstars Gilson, Renato and Ricardo - their high level teaching was accompanied by a lot humor and games.
The parties were held on Friday and Saturday, starting at around midnight and ending at around 5 am. There were two dance floors on both nights, the bigger one focused on lambazouk and the smaller on kizomba.
Both nights were good party nights, nice range of music and a lot of people but still room to dance. Saturday was my favorite night, the atmosphere even better - partly due to Denis Graça’s popular show. According to the girls in our group of dancers from Brazil there was enough leaders, all the girls were dancing a lot. The teachers were among the crowd, dancing all night, changing partners and entertaining the dancers. The beginners didn’t leave home without their share either! There was only one show and one demo outside of the two live concerts so it was all night pure dancing, which I do like.
For the rest things were rather well organised, with a free coat check, drinks and (expensive) water sold in the bar and on saturday also some sandwiches. The sound system was ok and I was happy there were only a couple of short interruptions. The second dance floor had problems with the regulations and the music had to be played a little too low. The floor was not perfect, it wasn’t completely flat, but very danceable at least in the leader’s point of view. I stayed ‘til the end both nights so needless to say I had a good time!
As has become almost a tradition now at the international festivals, there were live concerts - at Like Festival, on both nights. On Friday there was the show of Paulo Mac and on Saturday Denis Graça. The Saturday’s show of Denis Graça attracted even people out of the zouk and kizomba scene. I had never seen him perform live before, but he gave a great a show and knew how to take his audience - very nice surprise. During the about hour-long concerts some people were dancing and some enjoying the live music; there was room for both.
In addition to the live music, the parties weren’t distracted by too many shows - there was only one bachata show and one lambazouk demo by Amanda Primo & Ricardo Ferrari; the latter was the definite crowd-pleaser. On Friday there was also an amateur kizomba contest.
Venue and location
The venue El Loft served as both the workshop and party location. The place sits close to many metro stations, Castro Barros being the closest one. The very famous barrio, Palermo, is not too far away, so it wasn’t a bad location for an out-of-town tourist.
The venue itself suited well for the purpose. Aside the large main room and the other smaller room there was a small bar and two small clothing stores. In the parties there was also a free cloak room. It’s handy for the event attendees that everything is one location! If there’s something to improve, perhaps the floor could be a little better and the sound levels could use a boost in the smaller room.
Want to read more about Buenos Aires? Check out Zouk The World's previous posts:
Sum up - we like the Like
The Like Festival 2 was definitely worth the visit, the energy was great both in the workshops and at the parties! What’s special about this event is that almost all the zoukers danced on 1; this a true lambazouk event! Even though there was a mix of two different dances - lambazouk and kizomba - things ran smoothly. It’s also convenient for the event attendees that everything is one location. About the location itself, Buenos Aires, sadly it might not be the best time of the year to visit the city.. but who has time to see the city when there’s the festival?
I can recommend this event to all lambazoukers and kizomba dancers. I fully enjoyed the event and wouldn’t mind coming back for another weekend of Like!
Thanks to Jaakko Pispala for working with Zouk The World on this post and making sure I have all the information - I can always rely on you!
And muchas gracias to Vanesa Carolina Fagundes for graciously providing us her stunning photos of the festival you can see on this post!