Sunday, 6 January 2008

12th Night Salsa Extravaganza 2008

I am knackered. Really knackered. But I'm happy too. Really happy. In fact, really, amazingly, ecstically gobsmackingly happy. Read on to find out why...

This weekend Trisha and I were once again invited to teach at York's 12th Night Salsa Extravaganza, the biggest and best salsa event in the North East of England each year, in my opinion at least. Over four hundred dancers from all over the region (and beyond) come together for two party nights and a full day of workshops, covering salsa at all levels as well as taster sessions of of Bachata, Argentine Tango, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba and more...

Two years ago, the organisers introduced a "12th Night Award" to be awarded for "Services To Regional Salsa" - as voted for by attendees. The first year, the biggest vote went to Leeds based teachers/promoters Nicolai and Helena, though as they weren't able to attend, the award was given instead to one of the scenes favourite unsung heroes - a guy called Pete who helps loads of teachers out with beginners classes and is the bloke at social who seems to make it his mission to dance non-stop all night with every lady in the room. I guess now he's not "Unsung" any more, having received his award!

Last year, Nicolai and Helena won the vote again (organiser Tony Piper in close second place, and rightly so) and were around to pick it up. Which was nice.

Trisha and I were gobsmacked (and thrilled) to be voted in third place last year - ahead of loads of other regional teachers and promoters who've been around far longer than we. Actually we were a bit embarrassed as many of the other teachers around us were the teachers from whom we learnt when we were starting out on our salsa journey.

So, onto last night, and the 12th night Salsa Award 2008.

I can't hold in the excitement any longer for on our mantlepiece is our "Joint 1st Place" 12th Night Award!!!!

I can't begin to tell you how thrilled we are to have received this, on many different levels. Firstly we shared our first place with organisers Tony and Mary Piper, who I believe do more for the regional salsa scene than anybody. On top of organising the 12th Night Congress and running their own weekly classes and twice monthly Engine Shed socials along with teachers Alfredo and Christine, they publish the most comprehensive regional event guide I know of. Whenever anyone asks me what's going on, I just point them to Tony's site ( and tell them to check out the event guide there.

Secondly, the award is voted for by the 400+ plus dancers attending 12th Night, so the recognition isn't just between fellow promoters, but from the dancers themselves.

Since Trisha and I started teaching together less than three and a half years ago, we've tried hard to ensure our classes and clubnights are as good as they can be, and this award is the best feedback we could possibly wish for to let us know we're getting it right (at least some of the time). It's a fantastic feeling to know we have inspired enough dancers enough to want to give us this award, but in turn, the main reason we do it, is because OUR greatest inspiration is seeing our own students learn and progress with their own dancing, and the enjoyment they get from it. Long may it continue...