WORKSHOPS - different venues, not all in one venue
Well, it is true. We have the same when we are at another´s event. It can be truly annoying to walk from one workshop location to the other. In particular if it is probably cold. Or raining. Or both. Both of which can happen in Berlin in October. And we wish, we had this all-in-one venue. In the center of Berlin, where we are located now. But the truth is, they do not exist. They do exist, but they are either located rather outside of the center or they are simply not affordable with a Salsacongress´s budget. If we moved somewhere else, others - those who want to have a walk in the city having some sightseeing, e.g. - will be unhappy.
If you have a look at the workshop schedule, you will see that the schedule is drafted in a way, that if you stick to your level (which by all means you should do anyway) then you do not have to change rooms/venue the entire day even once ! Same applies for the owner of a Sensual Pass, as another example. However if you belong to those, which desire to continously swop between different workshop types, or those who rather follow particular (popular) instructors ignoring their dancing level, then - this is true - you have to change venues quite a lot and walk those 5 min between the different places. What we do, is always a compromise between the needs and desires of our 2000 participants and the circumstances we found.
Solutions in future: So I am afraid that issue can´t be really changed tpplease everybody. We will continue to perfectionize the drafting of the workshop schedule to make it easier for you to stay in one location/venue. We will also add some 2 hours workshops which will also decrease the need to move between workshops.
Results of the feedback survey 2016
First of all, thank you to everybody who took part in the survey. We are taking pride on our unconditional promise that we listen to every single voice out there talking to us or writing to us. As promised here we will publish to you some of the most prominent and interesting results of the survey. But if you rerad further we will also answer to some of the most important critics regarding Berlin Salsacongress 2016, whats are the reasons and how we will face those matters in 2017.
Your experience at the Berlin Salsacongress 2016 - feedback form
We ask you kindly to help us improving and developing our event by filling in the feedback form below. It will take you only a few minutes but will make the difference ! We ask you kindly to be constructive. We appreciate every single feedback, either through this form or talking to us when you see us at any other event. We listen to you, and if your remarks make sense and are possible, we will try our best to integrate them in our event and you will see them reflected in the next edition of Berlin Salsacongress.
PARTIES - stopped too early, in particular in main (Salsa) room
Compared to some previous editions the main parties stopped much earlier, that is true. Let us explain the reasons a bit:
1. The Farewell party on Sunday stopped at 5AM (previous years at 7AM) and in the main room at 4AM (previous years at 5AM) despite the fact that the dance floor was still completely crowded (and believe us, that hurt us at least the same as you guys!). The reason for this was that (different than in previous years) the Tempodrom had another event on Monday evening and the new production HAD to get inside at 7AM which means WE HAD to be OUT with all our stuff at 7AM ! And if you had a look at the stage you possibly can imagine that this is not an easy task. We literally took out our last stuff seconds before the truck of the next production backed up into the Tempodrom. So there was NO other option. It was literally courtesy of the Tempodrom that they allowed us in previous years to get out that late.
2. But also the parties on Friday & Saturday stopped earlier, means at 7AM (9AM in some previous years). Well this is the result of us having Afternoon Socials/Parties which gives you now 15 hours of party without a break. In order to make those possible we had to move the first workshop to 10AM, which means opening the doors at 9.30AM. There MUST be a certain time when the venue is closed in order to be able to CLEAN the venue and the minimum there is 2 hours.
So, lets put it this way - if we add something or improve something on one side, quite often it results in taking away something else you already got used to or some really love. But lets face it, really: 15 hours of party is not enough ?!
Solutions in future: If there is no event happening on Monday in the Tempodrom we are positive that we can go back to the 7AM finish time for the Farewell Party. And - try the Afternoon Socials if you need more party !
PARTIES - dance floors too crowded
We checked the video footage we have and also the pictures of our photographers. For the main (Salsa) floor this is certainly true for specific times and specific areas on the dance floors. But at ALL times, even at peak times like at 2AM on Saturday night, there was ALWAYS enough space somewhere on the dance floor. You just had to move to another spot. If you however insist to dance in an specific area (because your favorite dance partners are dancing there e.g.) then this can happen. As much as we take responsability for what we fail, we believe you also need to take responsability for your actions.
As for the Kizomba floor in Small Arena, we have to admit that due to the round shape it IS quite difficult to dance there and it can easily get very crowded there. Fortunately many opted to dance in the area above the Small Arena, but yes, then you leave that cosy, rather dark space many love to be in for Kizomba...
PARTIES - venue of the Preparty in 2016
The venue for the Preparty was too small, overheated, no air condition, music stopped while windows open to let in some air... Yes, that is all true. We admit failure 100%. Here is the thing, here is why we made such a (failed) decision: after a peak in number of participants at the Preparty in 2014 the numbers went down a lot for the Preparty in 2015. The venue, the Tempodrom is VERY expensive if you want to hold a rather small party in there. Simply not possible. There were indications showing that even less people might attend the Preparty in 2016, so we decided to move back to the smaller venue, where we happily had the Preparties until 2012. Joining in another party like the Mambo Club in Soda is an option, but this party is in a complete different part of the city, hard to find for those which never have been there and hard to get back from there (and costly) after midnight. Something which we believed would create other problems as well.
Solutions in future: We will either go back to the Small Arena of the Tempodrom (if numbers indicate that and if available) or we will join in the Mambo Club.
WORKSHOPS - no own drinks allowed in main venue
Sorry to say that, but this is an issue out of our control, this is a condition from side of the venue which we need to follow and the security needs to impose. Just to be clear - we do NOT get part of the revenues of the bars. So we do NOT have any interests in that. But lets face it - if you were allowed to bring your own drinks, they (the venue) would raise the rent to us (as they have to cover their costs at the end of the day) so we would need to charge you more, so you would not pay through buying a drink but through buying a more expensive pass.
Solutions in future: there is none really. However we will discuss with the venue that they lower the prices for water in day time as much as possible.
VENUE - dance floors are not wooden dance floors
Well this is a quite popular topic. And also based sometimes on some misconceptions. First of all - WE also love this perfect wooden dance floor for dancing and it would be PERFECT to have it in the Tempodrom. But there are some problems with is and let us explain which problems and why.
First and foremost - always keep in mind that what is the perfect floor for YOU is probably too slippery or too sticky for somebody else. There is probably not even a floor existing in this world which is perfect for EVERYBODY. For US (and for many others we talked to directly face to face), we think the floor in the Tempodrom is perfect for dancing as it is not too slippery and not sticky, not fast but also not slow (except of course the black dust discussed above) unless somebody is using floor alterating substances (powder or oil) or is spilling some drinks somewhere. But those actions would change ANY floor anywhere. Think about it - wouldn´t it be much easier, instead of changing the floor just to change your shoes ? No offense meant, just think about it.
Second - yes, a wooden floor can be rented (some mentioned that in their feedbacks). Yes, we know that and we checked that option carefully several times. Beside the fact that it is REALLY expensive (keep in mind we are talking about roughly a 1000 sqm) which would bring up every Pass by around 12 € (yes, for EVERY pass we sell), there are two more problems: 1. it takes a lot of time to install (which we don´t have) and even more importantly to DEinstall and 2. due to the round shape of the arenas there is no really good solutions for all the edges of the dance floor which will be an obstacle for those who do not look down all the time.
That is a lot of money and new problems for something which will solve the problems for some and create new ones for others.
We also remember the case of an event we went to some years ago, where they put this extra wooden floor. It was so damned slippery, that almost EVERYBODY was dancing NEXT to it on the carpet ! What a waste of money and man power, right ?
Three - many also have a misconception in mind when they talk about wooden floors vs. concrete floors (like the one in the Tempodrom) as some also mentioned that the floor is not good for their joints or too "hard". So those talk about a "wooden" floor but what they really mean is a "Sprung" floor, a wooden floor which is SOLELY and ONLY used in dance studios as it is unbelievably expensive to build (we build one ourselves back in the days in our dance studio). NO event where any of you has ever been had a sprung wooden floor for dancing. NONE. All the wooden floors you have ever danced on at an event are simply HARD wood glued directly onto a concrete floor. Or in some cases a wooden floor put directly onto carpet (the temporary floors). No relieve for your joints. Not better for your joints. But as you see WOOD you THINK it is better. This is really important to understand this: the only difference between those wooden floors and the floor in the Tempodrom is 13 mm of hard (not flexible at all) wood.
So - coming back to the SURFACE of the floors. Yes, they ARE different. 100% true. But as pointed out before - what you consider perfect is bad for somebody else. And vice versa.Thats why we believe, it is much more effective for everybody to just bring some different pairs of shoes, try them out and use the ones which works best.
WORKSHOPS - Advanced workshops and Master Classes at same time
Yes, that is true. And now you might hate is. It is meant to be like that. Advanced and Master is NOT the same dancing level. Master classes are designed for those who do NOT take workshops anymore because they got bored there (mainly because too many people which are not advanced at all join those ignoring their own dancing level bringing down the general level). So if somebody wants to take both, this person most likely is ADVANCED and not Master, which means better taking the advanced workshops. If you however insist in taking BOTH (which is possible) then you still have four advanced workshops every day in the morning to take and then you proceed to the Master Classes, if you want.
VENUE - dance floors were DIRTY
Many noted that there was this nasty black powder on the dance floors (in particular in the Bachata area) which ruined there shoes (and pants). And WE noted that as well ! This is something which didn´t happen in previous years (at least not to that extend). We talked to the venue and it turns out that obviously they have to repaint the floors quite often and they did shortly before the event, and that was - as it seems - not done a 100% correctly. So, just to be clear. That was not dirt but paint. Doesn´t make it much better, we know.
Solutions in future: The venue promised it will not happen again. They HAVE to do something about it.
WORKSHOPS - are overcrowded, too many people
As a matter of fact, that is true in some cases. We already limited in 2016 the total number of workshop passes, however - this is the backside of the coin of a "VIP" Full Pass, means you can choose any workshop you want. If all - or the majority or many - choose to attend the same workshop for whatever reason, they will be overcrowded. There is no way to predict 100% which workshops will attract the highest number of people. Unless you have 8 workshop rooms which ALL have the capacity to hold your total number of participants (and such venue does NOT exist anywhere in the world), this is impossible to avoid a 100%. In most cases, if you would just go to the next room you would find a workshop which is pretty or almost empty. It is therefore a matter of choice you are making. We already draft the workshop schedule in a way that usually some of the most popular workshops (from experience) are happening simultaneously to distribute the number of people (which then makes some people furious who wants to attend ALL of them) but still, we don´t see a REAL chance to avoid that 100%.
Solutions in future: 1. We will limit even more the total number of workshop passes. 2. We will offer more closed groups where you sign up for a series for workshops with selected teachers with a GUARANTEED small number of participants and which are not included in the Full Passes. We truly suggest you to have a look at the offers for a GROUP 100 pass, which will guarantee you the number of participants in the workshops.
SHOWS - are too long
Let´s get a little bit into that: The shows are featured at the beginning of the party, at 10PM (and the last 2 years they started in time with a max. of 20 min delay on Sunday 2015 - and yes we know, as we watched the clock because of the "News at 10") so if you don´t want to watch them you can easily come later, they do not disrupt a running party (as in many other events). If you wanted to dance earlier, the party was already running during the shows from 9.30PM on the other two dance floors. But it is true, if almost everybody is watching the shows (and this is the case, luckily for us), there are not many of your friends to dance with outside. The shows had a length of 2 hours every night for the last 2 years. Is that too long ? For some yes, definitely. For many, not. In particular as we have seats for everybody. BUT we have to admit, in 2016 there were too many videos and intermissions on Friday & Sunday, we felt that too, we will certainly change that.
However - in 2017 we will have the show program quite a bit different in order to suit all desires.
Solutions in future: The show program in 2017 on Saturday & Sunday will follow the structure of the shows from Saturday ´16 - almost no videos, always blocks of 3 to 5 shows which go one into the other with no break, videos or transitions between the blocks only, no talk shows or other talking formats. On Friday there will be a short block of shows with maximum 6 showsonly happening at midnight, but without seats. So the party in the main room can already start at 9.30PM but will be disrupted for 25 min while the parties in Small Arena and Foyer continue. Sensual shows and Stargate will continue as in the last years. We promise, shows will start in time, so if you don´t want to watch the shows, have a look into the program and plan accordingly.
PARTIES - dance floors too crowded
This is how we plan to do it in 2017, giving you way more space to dance on Friday & Saturday:
General results of the 2016 feedback survey
The average participant in the survey has been taking part 2,22 times in Berlin Salsacongress.
Almost 2/3, or more precisely 61,9 % will definitely or very likely return to Berlin Salsacongress. Which is obviously good news for us.
The average rating of the Berlin Salsacongress 2016 in the survey was 3,66 or very good.
By far the most important reason for our participants to join us is the Social Dance & the Parties with combined 59%, followed by the Line up with 28,6 %.
As for the Afternoon Socials, we already got great feedback on them before, but this is also been reflected in the survey: 40,3% loved the Afternoon Socials and 25,8% will try them next time. Only 19,4% simply don´t care.
The general ratings for the different parts were as follows:
We were surprised a little bit as the ratings for all 4 parts are pretty close to each other. We are well aware (from the feedback we already got) that we are doing pretty good regarding the shows and the parties and the workshops probably are not our strongest part, but this doesn´t show in the ratings. Also not that most of the critics were targeting issues with the venue and the workshops, but doesn´t show much in the ratings either.
Anyway, please keep on reading when we tacle some of the most popular complaints. You may jump to the points which interest you most.