Wow. Wow. Wow!!
We were speechless after last weekends Bachata Congress in Vienna, Austria.
It's taken a while to digest the event to be able to share our experience there with you :)
Going to this Festival was my (Sarah) birthday present from Phil :) After finding out we were going and seeing that there was a Jack & Jill Social Dance Competition planned, we decided to sign up. Our first competition! An international one! After signing up we got the Email back, that Phil had been admitted as the last leader and that I was added to the waiting list, since the follower registrations were complete. We were a bit sad as we had pictured taking part in our first competition together. Even if the chance of dancing as a couple was very small, we wanted to share the experience.
On arrival we were greeted by Sergio (the organiser of this amazing festival!) and handed 2 (!!!) Competitor numbers - we were both admitted to take part!!! This was the moment nerves started setting in... Hands sweaty. Heart beating. - our first competition, a milestone. We were ready. Excited. Nervous. But ready!
Around 1am they announced the start of the competition.
First, they called the judges to the dancefloor. We were being judged by some of the most famous and incredible artists from all over the world (Korke&Judith, Berra&Laura, Juan Garcia, Sergio&Beige, Alex Alberola & Madelyn & more).
The 48 competitors (24 Leaders and 24 Followers) were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 (12 couples) took to the dance floor and were partnered up randomly in a circle. They danced 3 rounds (each approx 1 minute). And then it was our turn... Group 2! Phil and I had the pure luck of being partnered up for our first dance (just like we had hoped) and then switched partners for each round. Shortly after finishing the results came in: 10 couples had made it to the Semi Final- we were both in!! We danced the Semi-Final and then the air was thick. Every single contestant was an incredibly talented dancer. Who would be in the final? Would one of us be amongst the finalists??
They announced the finalists: we had BOTH made it into the Final. We were amongst the top 5 leaders and followers of the Vienna Jack&Jill competition. NEVER had we imagined this result, especially after seeing the incredibly high level of competitors around us.
Phil danced the final with our dear friend Linda from Munich and I danced with the polish dance Legend Khaled. We ended up taking home 4th and 5th place which was nothing less than an incredible honour.
The rest of the Friday night party was fantastic. The level of dancers in Vienna was amazing. I did not have one single dance where I felt unsafe, uncomfortable or unchallenged. Thank you at this point to everyone who I had the privelidge of dancing with (and those who danced with Philipp also). I learned something from each of you and I'm sure Philipp would say the same.
Saturday we slept in and went to Korke & Judiths Workshop. Following that we took a long private class with the two of them as part of our mentoring program. We learnt a huge amount on this day about us and what we want to embody whilst dancing (Thank you K&J!!).
Saturday night was all about shows and the party following didn't disappoint. INCREDIBLE. It was HOT. Literally and metaphorically speaking! I think I had my best dances so far that night.
Thank you again Sergio for this incredible event. I don't know if you realise how much you gave us over this weekend... We went home feeling nothing but grateful, proud, inspired and a little bit tired :) We can't wait for next year!!!
Everyone reading this: write this festival down in your calenders for next year!!