Monday, March 31, 2008

New Year’s salsa in Birmingham

The single excursion outside of London I have done since I moved to the UK was to drive up to Birmingham from London with my salsa friends Steve, Eva and Gormack over New Year’s.

The LatinMotion team of salsa instructors and promoters every year arrange a big New Year’s salsa bash attracting people from all over the country. We arrived after dark so I did not have the chance to see much of Birmingham except for the street where the Paragon Hotel, where we were staying, and St. Anne’s Club were located on Alcester Street, next to St. Anne’s Church.

When we arrived, there was a big Rueda workshop going on. As soon as the free classes for the night had ended, the actual party slowly started picking up. About 200 people attended the party this past New Year and it was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Sadly, very few people had really dressed up, despite being New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, dancing comfortably and sweating like a pig hardly go hand in hand with a tux or an evening gown, so it’s understandable. I was however quite surprised to see a few locals in jeans, polo shirt and leather vest… It did seem a little out of place.

Eva and Gormack gave a performance, as did another London couple called Mauro and Aiste, and a pale couple dressed in white, Lisa & Mark from SalsaOxford.

Left: Eva, Mauro and Aiste. Right: Steve & I

Eva & Steve dancing

At midnight LatinMotion had a balloon drop with gift vouchers for dance shoes, salsa classes and more. There was also a Limbo competition at some point during the night into which a few of our brave London salsa friends entered - didn't know Simon was such an agile Limbo master! The winner got 1 year's worth of free Latin Motion nights & classes. It was a quite fun night with lots of good music spinning, and the party lasted till 3am.

Salsa dancers always get starved by a full night’s workout, so when a big group of us had finally made our way down the street to the Paragon Hotel, we had the good fortune of finding an Indian food delivery guy in the hotel lobby. The poor man was service-minded enough to come back with a huge delivery of rice and curry dishes, and probably didn’t even get tipped enough. The New Year’s bash in Birmingham came to an end with a huge yawn and ours of after-sweating in an over-heated hotel room.

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