Almería Passion Congress: Salsanamá Gran Final

My objective in writing this blog post is to provide a tidbit of insight into my life here in Granada! My hope is that any reader of this can walk away feeling like they have at least one concrete thing to look forward to if they ever decide to study/live in Granada, and like they have the information they need to pursue that experience for themselves when they get here.

Tidbit: Salsa has been my immersion

I traveled to Almería, a city east of Granada known for its Alcazaba and agriculture, to watch my salsa teacher perform at the Almería Passion Congress Gran Final de Salsanamá (Salsa y nada más). The competition is made up of several individual male and female dancers (competing against their respective sexes) battling in several improvised solo salsa battles. Each qualifier to the competition is given a list of 120 salsa songs to familiarize themselves with prior to the competition so that any one of them can be picked at random for them to dance to during each battle. The winner is the most effective improviser/technically sound dancer who can cater their choice of movement sequences to the beat of each song. While being a small venue, the room pictured below had more energy and electricity than any venue its size I’ve been to in my life. Present at these competitions are teams, families, judges, and other dancers cheering on their friends with every ounce of energy they have in hopes that their competitor will represent Spain at the world salsa competition in Milan, Italy.

I cannot imagine my study abroad experience in Spain without salsa dancing. My teacher wasn’t initially going to invite anyone from class to come watch him, but after I inquired about wanting to go I made a weekend trip out of it with some friends from class. Studying abroad under a program like SOL is great, but no program will provide you with immersion beyond its scope. SOL will connect you with opportunities, but it’s up to you to be the one in the class/studio/club who asks the question that ultimately might lead you to having an experience of a lifetime. That was certainly the case here. It may seem easy, but carving out a space in the lives of Spaniards isn’t any easy task, and it takes a commitment to seeing them in their element (like all relationships) for a connection to grow. This trip will forever symbolize the value of leaving my comfort zone and engaging with people from different countries on their terms in hopes that it ends up being a beneficial experience for everyone involved. My teacher loved the energy and support that I brought to the competition, and I loved the fact that he was willing to let me watch him and attend the weekend with him.

Thanks for reading!

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