2014 Festival HIGHLIGHTS:
- Organization. The festival is organized by one of the most influential bachateros in the world, Jorge Elizondo. The shows were outstanding and the festival emcees, Jay Stylz, Jorge Contreras, and Rodrigo and Wendy Jimenez, kept things entertaining and moving.
- Performances highlighted by Tamara Valle from France (solo Jazz/Hip-hop), Edwin Ferraras & Daniela Grosso and the Latin FX Dance Company from New York (Salsa), Calirumba Dance Company from Dallas, Jorge Contreras & Aubrey Ares from Los Angeles (Bachata), and the Neo Kizomba Team from Dallas/Houston.
- A unique multi-media workshop by Adam Taub detailing the history of Bachata dance and its roots in the Dominican culture. THIS WORKSHOP IS A MUST for any Bachatero who wishes to gain a deeper appreciation of the music and its origins. Adam always does a great job and is widely considered the most knowledgeable instructor on Bachata history.
- A FREE choreography dance challenge (most are not free) featuring students who participated in the workshops. The students performed bachata and kizomba choreography they had learned in a two-hour workshop given by Edwin Ferreras/Daniela Grosso and Mike Zuniga/Kristal Fajardo, respectively. It served as a reminder that in a short time even the most novice dancer can perform when given quality instruction.
Jorge Elizondo and the staff of the Dallas Bachata Festival have done it again. Since 2010 Jorge has raised the level of the festival every year and the 2014 edition was no different.
The Dallas Bachata Festival is the premiere Bachata event in Texas. In fact, the Dallas Bachata Festival is the only annual bachata-centric latin dance congress in the Lone Star State, and it continues to grow each year! This year the festival attendance reached over 500 night passes on Friday and 750 on Saturday. There were over 420 “Full Pass” tickets sold this year (300 were sold last year) and over 1200 “Night Passes” were sold for the entire weekend. These figures are evidence that the event is continuing grow. The DBF is held every year at The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in downtown Dallas. Founded in 2009 by Jorge Elizondo, the festival draws dancers from across the U.S.A. to attend. “Bachata Jorge”, as he is affectionately known, is the organizer of the event and is one of the founding fathers of the bachata festival in the United States. He helped organize the first bachata festival in the USA (The Reno Bachata Festival in Jan. 2009) along with Rodney “Rodchata” Aquino.
Jorge planned a variety of new activities including a pool party, couples massage, a Kizomba/Bachata choreography challenge, and the opening of an additional bachata room for the night parties. He is always looking to keep things fresh so he contracted a few new instructors for the 2014 edition including Tango instructor Amanda Archuleta from New York, Charles Ogar from Houston, and Jose and Rosy from Spain.
The festival is a four day event jam packed with events, and features a mix of Texas talent along with national and international instructors. Several quality instructors attended the festival this year included Carlos Cinta, Edwin Ferreras & Daniela Grosso, Alejandro Rey & Jessica Trujillo, Roberto Lay & Tamara Valle, Jay Stylz, and Jorge Contreras & Aubrey Ares to name just a few. The bachata workshops cater to all skill levels in a variety of bachata styles including modern, Dominican, and fusion. Classes on musicality, sensuality and any other kind of ‘-ality’ pertaining to dance are offered.
David Campos and Guida Rey are two of the most influential Kizomba instructors in the United States. They were two of the first dancers to begin teaching Kizomba in the USA and have earned a large following in New York (where they are based) and abroad. David talked about what a pleasure it is to come to the Dallas Bachata Festival.
“We love this place and the spirit of the people here. When we come here it is like family. The last time we came here was in 2012 for the festival. It was a year when there was a storm. We stayed here for a week, and we didn’t want to go back. Jorge has a heart bigger than himself. We feel like we’re home here.”
Bachata is the main course of the event, but other dance styles such as Kizomba, Salsa, Tango, and jazz were also highlighted in workshops and performances. For those who wanted to explore their adventurous side there once again there was also a lap dance class taught by Summer Sando and Alejandro Rey. With over 50 workshops to choose from there was a buffet of classes available for every taste.
The socials at night were top notch (including the Halloween party) and there were four separate rooms featuring traditional Dominican Bachata, modern Bachata, Salsa, and Kizomba. There were 10 DJs who played at the socials including DJ Juanito Pachanga and DJ Jose. The DJ’s did a great job of keeping musical variety. so the parties didn’t turn stale. Party goers heard ‘popular’ bachata artists like Prince Royce and Aventura, but also got music with traditional roots in Bachata from legends such as Joan Soriano, Antony Santos, Kiko Rodriguez and Robin Carino. This is vitally important in establishing the event as a true Bachata festival, and not any random event you attend every weekend at your local latin clubs.
Jay Stylz, a talented Dallas based dancer, served as one of the emcees for the event. He is well known for his humor and ability to entertain the audience while keeping the performances flowing at a steady pace. His “If it ain’t sexy, don’t do it” catch phrase and attitude were a big hit with festival goers.
Instructors and patrons alike give Jorge major props not only for his event, but for his world wide influence on the bachata community.
Jay Stylz (DFWSalsa.com)
“The worldwide movement of Bachata is directly related to Jorge Elizondo. No one has traveled more than him, and he has gone from city to city around the world teaching his style of bachata. He’s had so many instructors buy his DVD’s and teach his style to their students.”
The 2014 Dallas Bachata Festival was another successful journey for an event that has become an annual “must attend” for bachateros of every level. If you love Bachata, a well organized and friendly environment, top notch workshops, and fun socials then you should definitely put the Dallas Bachata Festival on your yearly dance calendar.