Dance Festival in Rovinj, Croatia!
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How to Choose The Best 2024 Dance Festival To Attend?
Since 2024 is just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to update this article about how to choose which 2024 international dance festival to attend.
Currently, dance companies, festival organizers, directors as well as dancers, and choreographers are working on upcoming festivals.
This wide range of festivals normally takes place in small theaters and studios to huge venues that accommodate thousands of audience members.
Some will include concerts, showcases, and dance classes, while others include nationally and internationally recognized dancers.
Before choosing which festival you want to attend, it is important to ask yourself the following questions.
How financially prepared are you for the trip?
What type of experiences do you wish to have?
How much time do you have for your trip?
What countries do you wish to visit?
Let’s start with finances since this is a very important issue to cover before traveling.
Traveling internationally is amazing as you get to experience different cultures, art, food, customs, meet new people, etc, but it is not cheap.
Therefore it’s vitally important, to be honest about how much you can afford to spend on the trip.
You don’t want to run out of money or go into debt just to be able to travel and dance.
Normal expenses for an international trip include flights, hotel or Airbnb lodging, meals, tours, local transportation, travel insurance, health insurance, currency transaction fees, cell phone fees, and departure fees.
Protip: Write up a detailed budget for your trip! Make sure to cover all planned expenses and also add in an extra cushion since things never go as planned. Also, pack a spare no-currency transaction fee credit card for emergencies.
2024 Dance Festival Experience & Festival Performances
What are your festival goals? What type of dance experience do you wish to have? Do you wish to see amazing choreography or participate in artistic lessons and programming?
For example, if you are looking for a more intimate small kizomba dance festival, then the Japan Kizomba Festival in Tokyo, Japan would be a good fit for you.
This festival is small and allows you greater access to the international artists who perform, teach, and dance with the attendees at the festival.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a massive festival, you may want to consider the LA Bachata Festival or the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival, which has many professional dancers from around the world.
Moreover, the annual Croatian Summer Salsa Festival is approximately 6 days long and is sponsored by many companies. two festivals in one.
It is a massive festival in which dancers take over the whole town of Rovinj, Croatia. The average number of dancers at this festival is anywhere between 12,000 to 15,000 and growing each year.
Small festivals allow you the opportunity to get to know the other dancers and have more interaction with dance artists. You will also have more accessibility to dance with your favorite artist at these festivals.
Midsize festivals fall in between with a good number of artists and instructors but without the crazy lines, you often find at large festivals. Additionally, you will find many more workshops at these festivals.
Large festivals have nightly dance socials that celebrate a different theme each night. They also will have 24/7 activities, thousands of dancers & multiple classes, going on at the same time.
These festivals will be packed with international instructors but you may not be able to see the instructors well in classes due to the massive number of attendees.
Regardless of which size festival you prefer, most dance workshops are approximately 90 minutes long.
Hybrid Festivals – Virtual & In-Person
Hybrid festivals such as Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba Festivals, also known as SBK Festivals are festivals, at which you will find all three types of dances and music.
Hybrids are very popular in the American Dance Festival scene in both midsize and large dance festivals. Some Hybrid festivals also include a mix of virtual & in-person events.
A good tip to assist you in choosing a festival is to look at the artists who will be teaching and performing there.
For example, at Kizomba Embassy you can see the latest Kizomba artists & instructors from around the world.
Each one of them has their dance style which you can check out on their Ambassador page.
Once you find the dancer with your preferred dance style you can then see where they will be performing and teaching overseas.
For Kizomba Festivals worldwide check out the Kizomba Embassy Events Calendar.
For Bachata lovers check out the Bachata Embassy Festivals Calendar.
Another helpful tool in choosing your first festival is YouTube. Here you can check out previous videos from previous festivals.
These videos frequently cover workshops, parties, and past dance performances, which will give you a good idea of what to expect at that festival.
You can also research festivals by reading reviews from previous festivals. You can read a recent blog post here that included a short review of the first-ever Korean Kizomba Festival held in Seoul, South Korea.
These types of reviews will give you a good idea of how well-organized the festival was and how well it was received by the attendees.
Don’t make the same mistake as other dancers have when choosing a festival such as a Cuban Salsa Dancer from Miami, Florida, who attended a Salsa Festival in Seoul, South Korea.
The dancer didn’t realize that while the skill level of salsa dancers is high in South Korea, the preferred Salsa style there was On 2.
Or the Urban Kiz Dancer from Europe who traveled to the SAWA Dance Festival in the Washington, DC area only to realize that it was mostly a traditional Kizomba Festival.
Preferred Countries & Vacation Time
What are your preferred countries to visit and how much time do you have available for your trip?
Many young dancers in the USA and Asian countries get very little vacation time each year. Some just have two weeks off so it’s important to maximize your vacation days and long weekends.
If you live in Europe you most likely have at least one month of vacation and many paid holidays throughout the year, however, salaries are normally much lower.
Many dancers who are required to travel for work often set up their business trips to coincide with weekend dance festivals.
By mixing a business trip with a weekend dance festival, these smart dancers save significantly as they only have to pay for the cost of the festival hotel for a couple of nights, while their airfare and other expenses are covered by their company.
These dancers also can minimize the number of vacation days that they take for a dance festival since they are traveling for business.
When you see a dancer at festivals all over the world, they are frequently taking advantage of their business travel to enjoy attending these dance festivals.
To further narrow down your options let’s take a look at some regions, where you may want to attend your first international dance festival.
Asia has countries that range from super-expensive such as Japan to budget-friendly such as the Philippines or Thailand.
In particular, Southeast Asia has many good budget-friendly options but watch out for some super expensive locations such as Singapore.
You will find many smaller dance festivals in this region with good collaboration between pre-professional dance companies.
European countries in eastern Europe are often much cheaper than Western European countries. Portugal on the other hand is probably one of the cheaper countries to visit in Western Europe.
Just remember popular Western European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome are very expensive. You will find a variety of festivals here from small to very large festivals. Additionally, the dance scene in Western Europe is one of the best in the world.
Africa can be surprisingly expensive for a first-time trip especially if you want to do some extra tourist excursions such as going on a Safari.
It also depends on the quality of hotels and restaurants you choose. Sometimes you will find a lack of available hotels and overpriced restaurants in certain areas.
Having a trusted local friend or contact can make a huge difference in lowering the cost of your trip. Most dance festivals in this region are smaller in size.
Central & South America
This region offers many budget-friendly options! Just remember that there are also more expensive cities here such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
This region will feature mostly small to midsize dance festivals unless you add in Samba for Carnival in Brazil or Salsa in Cali, Colombia.
Many cities across the USA and Canada are super expensive for foreign dancers. Try to stay away from New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco where accommodations and food costs are sky-high.
Los Angeles has some more affordable festivals as they are frequently held in areas near the Airport during low occupancy weekends.
Austin & Dallas, Texas are also known for more budget-friendly dance festivals. You can find all sizes of dance festivals in this region.
ProTip: if you are short of vacation days make sure to pick a dance festival that is scheduled on a holiday weekend with direct nonstop flights to that city.
This will allow you to take a red-eye flight and thus cut down on using your vacation days traveling.
The Caribbean is another popular vacation area for Americans & Canadians, however many of these islands are very expensive for accommodations and food.
Islands such as Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, and Curacao are expensive while the Dominican Republic is one of the most affordable. This region features mostly small dance festivals.
Middle Eastern countries vary in price however it is much more important to know the local laws and customs that may impact your dance vacation.
Remember it is illegal to dance in public in some countries in this region such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. This region often holds small festivals with most being held in Dubai.
Remember the time spent traveling to and from the festival from your location is very important if you want to maximize your time on the dance floor and minimize the number of vacation days needed for your trip.
Traveling to festivals located near international airports/ train stations is easier to get to than festivals held in smaller cities with limited international transportation options.
So before you buy your first 2024 International Dance Festival ticket, follow these tips!
Make sure that you know what type of style of dance will be featured at your Festival!
Make sure you know the approximate size and venue of the festival.
Do your homework to see all of the available transportation options to get to your Festival.
Make sure to write up a budget for your trip!
Make sure to check that you do not need a Visa or special permission to attend and travel to your Festival.
Join the festival’s Facebook group to see other friends who may be going and possibly share accommodation with them. This will also keep you updated on any last-minute changes to the festival schedule.
Good luck & I hope you have a wonderful experience attending your next festival!
CEO of Kizomba Embassy
Brian Moran is a Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba dancer from New York City. He has been fortunate to live and work abroad in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean for over 13 years.
While living overseas, he has attended hundreds of international dance festivals and events and has taken classes with some of the top professional Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba Instructors worldwide.