• Sam Mills, The Northern salsa congress

    The story so far…..

    Seven years ago, I got together with a group of friends and decided to start a Northern SalsaCongress. This was partly inspired by a conversation I had with Paco Rivera outside the Cooperage (a well frequented salsa club in that period.)

    We thought the North East needed its own dedicated salsa congress. At the time, there were limited alternative choices (Pontins being the only event, which involved a lengthy drive) so The Newcastle Salsa Congress was born. With Henry (aka DJ Montunno) and Naz (The Prince of Persia) we were an unlikely combination! We ran the first few events never making much money, but fortuitously avoided big losses that often curtail these events. More importantly, we had a lot of fun.

    Being an adopted Geordie with dance close to my heart it was a natural progression for me. My aim was to create unity in the dance world, encourage people to start dance classes and generally promote the love of dancing.

    I started the group North East Salsa and Bachata on Facebook, so that events could be shared and advertised freely around all the dancers. This enables promoters and teachers to create and share their events to ensure they are seen, as a lack of information on events can hinder the success of new nights. It is great to see so many dance nights now thriving in the North of England. Currently we have 1,660 members of the group!

    Now in its seventh year and with the help of my dance partner and best friend Natalie we are so pleased we persevered! The congress has grown and has artists from around the globe as well as national and local.

    Definitely the most exciting and challenging event of our calendar, NSC is named the friendliest congress by the many people that come year after year because of the atmosphere and dedication of the team involved.

    Every year we sell out on the Saturday night, people say ‘ oh I wish I had booked earlier!’ How many times we hear this!

    Anyone involved in an event of this size will know that it takes hard work and dedication and commitment and passion and team work and patience and a whole host of other skills just to stay sane! Every year I say ‘oh this is the last time. I'm exhausted. Natalie kick me if I even suggest another congress!’

    But then Natalie makes me stop and pause at the doorway to each room. I then see all the smiling faces, hear the music, watch the crowds of people having a blast and that makes my heart happy.

    Afterwards, when all is done, bills are paid, floors are removed and a hundred loose ends tied up, I reflect. I read the beautiful words people write and listen to the stories people tell and photos and videos that they make. This fills my heart with joy. I feel truly blessed that I have been given this opportunity of bringing so many people from so many different backgrounds together for a few days of dance each year.

    I am so thankful for all the people that volunteer (they will go unnamed as they are so numerous) every year and make this local event so special.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you book your ticket/get involved and become a part of this event. Which, despite the hard work, I can truly describe as magical

    Credits to

    Natalie Robinson


    All the artists helpers and friends that have appear at past NSC s



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