The Irish Salsa Congress is Ireland’s largest salsa event which has been running since 2006. To tell the story of were it all began we have to start with Salsa @ Afterhours.ie. On the 3rd of September 2003 we opened the Salsa @ Afterhours.ie site to create an online community for Salsa Dancers all over Ireland. The site was setup with forums, full salsa class and event listings and an article section where any dancer could publish congress reviews and other articles of interest to the community.
It started out with a few of us at first but soon grew to be a thriving community (the chat room has cost a lot of us more time than it really should have during a busy working day!) which currently has over 600 registered members!
A regular topic of conversation between the two of us was what we liked and disliked about the various congresses and salsa weekends we had been to over the years. That talk slowly moved to what we would do different and what our event would be like. Talk eventually lead to action and we decided to create a one-off congress that would bring the entire Irish salsa community together for a non-profit, truly community run event.
Over the next 9 months we came to regret those conversations more than once! Neither of us had ever organised anything of this scale and here we were organising a huge event with over 12 teachers, 45 classes, full accommodation and dinner for over 200 people! However, we persevered and in June 2006 we finally achieved what had at times had seemed to be a completely unreachable goal. Not only that but the weekend turned out better than we could have ever dreamed.
With the goal achieved we sat back enjoying the compliments and encouraging feedback thinking … we did it !! However, the salsa community thought differently ….. you have only begun. We some persuading we decided to do a second event in 2007 and then a third in 2008. Since then the event has grown into the most popular salsa event on the Irish calendar and despite our early intentions to make this a one of event it is now a permanent (much loved!) fixture.
More recently we have been told on numerous occasions that the name Salsa School, while dear to our hearts, does not reflect the true spirit of the event and after much thought have re-named it. Today it is still a non- profit and a truly community event with a team of over 20 volunteers who together have created what is now the Irish Salsa Congress.
Mark, Mike and all the team.