Ginga 2019: the all-in, all-star edition

Ginga 2019 edition was announced to be the final instalment in this festival’s story and it promised to be unmissable with top teachers, live performances, countless special guests and lots of surprises.

Looking back at the weekend, I certainly hope it won’t be the last we’ll see of the Hamburg-based project. Ginga 2019 ticked all the boxes and drew some boxes of its own – bringing this series of events to a good finale.  

Highlights

If you don’t read until the end, here is what you need to know:

Pros: 

  • High-quality artists and teachers
  • Good variety of quality workshops
  • Scheduling of workshops was well thought out to maximise attendance
  • Focus on all dance abilities/levels
  • Good DJs 
  • Live music performances – Ivan Alekxei
  • Surprise live music performance – Johnny Ramos
  • Great venue for socialising during the day
  • Social was on until late
  • Hotels in close proximity to the party/workshop venue

Cons: 

  • Hotels in Altona are fairly expensive
  • The party venue was sometimes too hot, but much better than previous years.  
  • Lots of women standing around waiting for a dance
  • It was the last edition

Without further ado, here is what Ginga gave us this year:

Organisation

The stars aligned in 2019 to bring together the organisational powerhouses that are Maria Maluca and DJ Galo for this edition of Ginga. Everything ran smoothly, classes started and ended on time, all relevant information was made available at all times. Execution of the night parties, performances and surprises was flawless – at least no flaws that were visible from an attendee’s point of view.

Hats off to what must take a lot of thought, preparation, checking, double checking and under-pressure decision making. 

Location + Logistics

The festival takes place in Altona, Hamburg, Germany – a quick trip from the airport by taxi. There are a few hotels in the area to choose from such as NH Altona (for convenience, across the street from the venue), 25hours Hotel Number One (for a retro option around the corner) and Gastwerk Hotel (for a boutique hotel vibe, a stone’s throw away as well). 

While all the options above are super convenient – they come with a fairly high price tag for a weekend – so looking at some Airbnbs close by would help save on costs. 

Daytime + Workshops + Social

The festival opened with a welcoming family vibe through the round table talk and dinner organised on Friday to help ease people into the weekend. 

The workshops throughout the three days were comprehensive, focusing on everything from technique to musicality for all dance levels. Longer slots were allocated to more technically challenging classes such as the Afro with Janca J. The teacher line-up this year was a mix of well established names, such as Eddy Vents, Tony & Carla, Frans & Sarah, and up-and-coming teachers like Anya’n’Phil. This kept the workshop versatile, fresh and exciting.

One of the best things about Ginga is the friendly vibe that is created with the help of all the artists who socialise with everyone in the cosy little chill-out area/café at the heart of the festival venue.  

The workshop schedule was perfectly balanced and designed with the attendants in mind. The social was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon/evening with Hugo Boss, Carlos King, Pina on the decks – to name just a few of the DJs lighting up the social.

There was a good selection of vendors selling a range of accessories and apparel available most of the day and night – for anyone wanting to splash some cash on looking fab. Himba, Manjerico and Mutinta’s pieces adorned many dancers’ outfits through the festival, including my own.

Nights: Party + Music + Dance

Parties: Dancing till Dawn – For real

Ginga did a pretty good job this year to get a decent ratio of men to women – getting the ratio right is a difficult task for most festivals to achieve as women normally far outnumber men at such events – so points for effort! However, there still seemed to be lots of ladies standing round the side waiting for a dance.

The event had a series of special guests – not teaching, nor DJ-ing – (DJ Guelas, Rico & Adda, counting themselves among them) who helped ensure the dance floor was packed with talent and compensated for a relatively low attendance. With a spike in the number of events on the Kizomba calendar, it’s starting to show in the dwindling number of dancers in many festivals and Ginga was no exception.

Music

With an extensive DJ line-up composed of Carlos King, Hugo Boss, Frank, Supaman, Babacar, Pina, Mineiro, Galo and Fenomeno the music was good and it was attentively tailored to what people on the dance floor wanted, the time of the night, space on the dance floor etc.

Live music on the dance floor – it’s one thing to watch a musician perform on stage and it’s another thing entirely to have Ivan Alekxei and Johnny Ramos sing and mingle with the audience on the dance floor – that is how you make your guests feel special!

Photography & Videography

A special note needs to be added around how Ginga always collaborates with top visual artists for their event photography & videography to ensure everyone and everything looks amazing – between Donata Valančiūtė (byDonataPhotography), Francesca Bardaro and Oliver Neunteufel (KizPix) you can’t help but look forward to Ginga releasing videos and photos post-event… even the morning face photos Oliver loves torturing people in the “mornings” on entry to the workshop venue are excellent.

Conclusion

There are many things to say about Ginga, but in the interest expedience (as we’re all busy people) it’s safe to say that if this has been the last we have seen of Hamburg’s Ginga, while not perfect, it ended on a high note. Good music, top teachers, top performances… good effort overall.

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