There are so many great things about Vancouver and this dance festival hosted by Matt Lam and Angie Weddell. A group of us usually drive up Friday afternoon and visit the Crystal Mall in Vancouver http://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/index.htm which has soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao ), cross bridge noodles, and BBQ pork which will satisfy any foodie desires. It is literally a food court but apparently that is where some of the best food in Hong Kong resides so it is culturally accurate.
This year they had two dedicated Balboa dances at the Oddfellows Hall. The first night was Video DJ’d by “Professor Smack” otherwise known as Joel Schwartz who has an video encyclopedia to choose from and an amazing amount of knowledge of vintage clips. I would highly recommend attending one of his lectures if you have a chance. The second dance was live music with “Slipped Disc” which is one of my favorite bands to dance to. They are a Benny Goodman inspired band and they have such talented musicians to back up great charts. https://www.facebook.com/SlippedDiscMusic/
There were four tracks with two sets of instructors this year which was a great learning environment as the levels of the participants were very close to each other in each individual track. The classes size was between 5-15 couples. They also added on two proctored practices to the schedule which was well attended and I was told that they were very helpful to solidify the material learned in the weekend. The class venue is the same as the dance venue so it is possible to find Air B and B’s within walking distance.
The afternoon dance on Sunday is a DJ’d dance at Pat’s pub. They brought up Seattle DJ and one of my favorites, Travis Whetman. This dance is one of my favorite of the year. Everyone relaxes, has some food and dances to Bobby Mc Gee’s style music. It is like no other dance and I can’t wait to go back next year.
Generally the dancers that attend the event are from Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, and Portland. There were a few that traveled from further but the local feel added to the friendliness of the event and it is an event where I feel like even the most advanced dancers happily dance with those who have just started dancing Balboa.