Au travail, on a une machine à badges. Une espèce de presse et des sacs plein d’embouts métalliques. Tu coinces un dessin dedans, tu appuies sur la manivelle et tu obtiens un joli magnet à coller sur ton frigo. Du coup, j’ai aussi récupéré des attaches pour faire des badges. Très utiles pour les anniversaires, les enterrements de vie de jeune fille…
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Pour la plupart, ces illustrations sont réalisées sur du papier classique, avec de l’aquarelle et de l’encre de chine.
As i spend too much time on youtube looking for dances videos, i had a period looking for « first dances videos ». After a brave search in my awefully difficult quest of finding beautiful wedding dances, here is an example of 3 dances i find especially sweet and beautiful.
I still try to figure why on earth we force non dancing people getting married to put on a dancing show for their wedding. And because of time, fear and money, many people just learn a bit of a routine (which is perfectly fine in itself), trying to impress the crowd instead of having fun with each other. From a dancing perspective, i saw many people with poor skills, struggling desperately to impress their guests. I will not put them here, because i found as well many people enjoying themselves and i want to put them in light as an example of “normal people” dancing.
What is (for me) a beautiful wedding dance
So to my opinion, a good wedding dance for me, has to be fun, entertaining and full of love. That’s it. No lifts, no dips, no aerials like in Dirty Dancing. Just simple, classy, with your loved one.
First, an anonymous tango. Definitely regular tango dancers, at least some years of practice to improvise and have fun. It’s sweet, smooth, classy and beautiful.
Blues Dancing with Justin & Renee
The choice of the music is perfect, “Dream a Little Dream” by the Mama’s & the Papa’s. The dance is smooth and cute, very romantic. For sure they are experimented dancers, but i think Blues Dancing is an excellent choice because it’s quite an easy dance and even non dancers can have a similar result quite fast (comparing to tango or other dances).
Zouk & Samba with Katiucia and Leandro
Usually i am not very fan of zouk i find “too sexy” (with the body waves and the hair thing) but these people made it simple and classy, and definitively romantic. The description indicates they are dance teachers, but they have good taste and kept it simple, making a dance about their love and not a show.
August 2015, after a short visit of Lisbon, I am on my way to an amazing dance festival in the mountains : Andancas. In the hotness of Portugal countryside lies a multidanse/multi activities festival lasting a week and full of hippie like people, ready to party.
How to go there
I took a lift from Lisbon, which is probably the best way to go there. There are buses and trains going from Lisbon and Porto but you have to change several times or hitchhike to the festival. If you really have time, the organisers propose a hell of a walk from Lisbon to Andancas the week before the festival but i must say the perspective of walking 8 days in the heat is not really my personal idea of vacation.
Arriving in Andancas
After a 3 hours drive from Lisbon, a big lake welcomes you at the gates of the festival, perfect spot for the very hot afternoons. After taking your pass, you have 2 “streets” leading down to the festival : the street of beer and food, or the street of fancy hippie dresses and jewelry. Difficult choice…
Down the hill, 6 stages, a movie theater, an open air amphitheater, 2 spots for kids and babies, and 5 campsites, a cantina and a mini market welcomes you in a very large area full of trees.
Music and dancing
Andancas is the place to learn new dances : folk from every country, swing, african dances, salsa, kizomba, bachata, tango, indian dances, samba, forro, rock’n’roll… The place is full of beginners from every dance, so comparing to bal folk festivals happening in the same time like St Gervais, if you are looking for high level dancers everywhere it might not be the place for you. But still a lot of very good dancers were there and great funny people. And you can count on it, Portugese people are very welcoming and sweet tempered (and they drink Porto wine. A lot of Porto wine).
The music was usually of very good quality in the afternoons as well for night parties. I discovered a lot of portuguese dances which are very funny, and i don’t understand why they are not more popular in the rest of Europe.
My only negative point about the whole festival would be : they don’t actually know how to organize decent jam sessions. Music stops around 3am and people are waiting to dance more, but it’s bloody cold and musicians are not really decided if they should fetch an instrument and start playing or not. It can take one or two hours before the music start again. And as there is no decided place and the festival is so huge, it can start at 2 different places in the same time without anyone noticing. As for me, i was so cold during night i couldn’t wait long enough and never saw the sight of a jam session.
Workshops and activities
As far as I know, Andancas is the only festival where you can attend to a workshop about “how to cook your bread in the sun”. Yes. So.hot.you.can.cook.a.bread.in.the.sun.
Workshops are everywhere and about everything. That’s why I think Andancas is perfect as a family festival, or to come with non dancers. There are activities and shows for everyone : How to make mandalas and dreamcatchers, visits of Castello de Vide, knitting crochet, circus, storytelling, concerts… Even kids have a huge corner with a lot of shows and games.
It is also an amazing place to recenter, reflect on yourself while attending to introspective workshops : yoga, massage, qigong, deep connection in dancing, respiration and relaxation, biodanza…
Of course it’s so hot during the day there is a huge chance you just will spend your afternoons under a tree to take a nap (everyone sleeps everywhere). Come on, it’s holidays you are allowed…
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As far as I know, everybody stays in the 5 spots of camping under the trees. A lot of space available but prepare yourself to hunt for the shade of the best trees, and any flat space is damn precious. A little cover is mandatory because the nights are fresh.
The most stunning view is the shower spot, when you are naked on the top or the hill with just a piece of fabric between you and the rest of the festival below. Water is kind of cold but it’s so warm during the day, you will be most happy with cold water.
Food and drinks
A friend told me before going “don’t bring any food or anything to eat, there is plenty to buy on the spot”. Best advice ever. You will have a full “street” of cheap food trucks, cheap beer trucks, indian vegan food everywhere. I also ate a lot at the official cantina with a choice of very good vegetarian or omnivore food (and beware of the crocodiles if you’re trying to change queue to go faster! )
Ecology is the main word, as they have the ambition to be a pollution free festival. So take your own cup with you or – better – buy the andancas cup and it’s musketon as a souvenir. For me, that cup is the spirit of Andancas.
As a final advice, I would tell you to stay the full week. It’s holidays you want to take your time. Everything is tempting and if you want to enjoy peacefully and take some rest without running everywhere for activities I think it takes a week.
Prepare for the hot and cold : the days are incredibly hot. So damn hot you have volunteers whose task is to spread water on people. But during the night temperature drops incredibly and it’s not rare to see people put scarf and hats on. As a result you will crawl in your tent looking for warmth but, hey at 9:30 in the morning it’s 35°C again and you will crawl out of your tent for any bit of fresh air.
Je dessine depuis le lycée, et si le dessin m’a toujours intéressé je n’ai jamais eu l’ambition d’en faire ma profession. Mais petit à petit, j’ai fini par faire quelques dessins dans le cadre du boulot, et au final c’est assez marrant.
J’ai enchaîné avec plusieurs dessin en fonction de l’actualité, des bannières facebook, des illustrations pour des tshirts pour enfants, des autocollants… Le projet le plus fun reste une série de coloriages pour fabriquer des badges pour les enfants sur des salons.
Le principe est simple : on place le dessin sur une feuille format A6, au centre d’une forme ronde prédécoupée. Une fois le coloriage terminé, un animateur détache le cercle du papier et passe le dessin dans la presse. L’enfant repart alors avec son magnet de frigo personnalisé.
I often take days off from work for long weekends. My colleagues are asking “what are you doing for the week end?” and the answer is often “on my way to dance in Belgium / Netherland / Portugal / England / Ireland/ somewhere lost in France”. Quite difficult for some people to understand why i am going, and why it always seems so difficult to get back to normal life after 4 days away.
As a matter of fact, since I started festivals, the number of countries I visited increased dramatically from 1 to approximately 3 to 5 per year. Even if it’s just for a week end.
Focus on a date and leave
I always wanted to discover the world of course but most of my projects were staying as dreams. Because time runs so fast and I am a damn procrastinator. Festivals gives me an opportunity, it chooses a date for me. Dancing friends, teachers and bands add a new motivation for my going. Sometimes the dates are not quite the best to visit a country (if you expect a good weather to visit Prague in early february for example) but i’ve never been disappointed by any of my travels. It even gives me ideas for future visits.
Dance, dance, dance
I heard quite often “in festivals your dancing level is at its best”. For sure dancing 6 to 10 hours per day for 3 days is a great help. Following workshops and dance with all sorts of new dancers of all levels is also a great benefit, and I think you are just more energetic and open in a festival because contrary to work, you are very happy to be there. You attend to workshops AND you apply your new knowledge straightaway, it’s much more efficient than taking workshops or classes for months in your usual dancing community.
Upgrade language and social ability
Like a lot of french people, my english was awful after high school. Traveling and meeting new people made me realize everybody speaks english so much better than us . My english is not perfect, but for sure it improved a lot. Now I have so many foreign friends, I am practising my english everyday to stay in touch with all these lovely people. It’s not only english you will improve but other languages as well, starting with how to say hello/thanks/cheers/do you want to dance in all the languages of Europe. Thanks to dance, you don’t actually need to speak the local language to spend a good moment.
You will meet new people, that’s for sure. Most of the time I travel with friends, to really enjoy à festival I need a mate to share basic things like breakfast, beers, last crêpe at 3am, best dancers plans… that’s for me and everyone is different of course, but it made my bonds with my friends tighter because of it. But some people are travelling alone and probably interact more with people they meet on the spot, living in total immersion.
Discover amazing spots
Usually when I visit a new place, I try to come at least one day before and one day after the festival so I can enjoy the entire dancing AND visit the city. For some events you can just buy tickets for the evenings and visit the surroundings during the day. I tried evening pass only, but I am not very convinced yet because doing the daily activities makes you meet more people who will easily invite you at night.
Spend all your money
Let’s be honest, all of this cost really a big deal. That’s a choice of life I probably can’t keep up for eternity – between transport hosting, food, festival, visits… But there are several ways to reduce the cost of these events :
Carpooling : it may take time to go to far events but very often it’s cheaper than train and you meet new people
Stay at locals : great way to meet new people. Dancing hosts are always amazing people.
Camping : in balfolk, organisers always plan a festival camping official or unofficial somewhere
Volunteering : helping the organisers will often reduce your ticket, enter for free and sometimes have food and drinks offered. It may mean less dancing or not so fun activities but usually organisers take care of your well-being and you can discover another side of the festival, more “social”
Ask locals to take you to cheap restaurants and visit the town like a local. It’s a great way to visit a city and make friends,
Ask your work to pay the bill : my company reimburse some costs linked to sport activities every year. Thank god, dancing is a sport !!
Prepare your body and respect it
Some festivals last a week. At first I was afraid to go because i thought my body, legs and back mostly, would not bear a full week of dancing. And that’s partly true. I found out that « strangely » sleeping in good conditions is important for a good rest. So even in camping, make sure you have a good mattress for your back.
I try to attend to qi gong or yoga workshops if I can, and do warmups and stretching before and after bals to condition my body at it’s best. I always wear dancing shoes that will keep my feet and my knees safe for dancing all night.
During the day, I find impossible to attend the workshops of the morning, afternoon’s workshops, night bals and Jam sessions until 5 am, and again every day for a weekend or for a week. So prepare yourself, look at the program and choose wisely what you are ready to miss or not.
Amazing festivals around Europe
I want to go back to
Andancas – august – Portugal [multidanses]
Nuit du folk de Chatillon en diois – mai – France [bal folk]
Fair city blues – march – Ireland [blues dancing]
Crash blues – february – Netherland [blues dancing]
Candansa – october – Netherland [bal folk]
Blues Baby blues – november – Uk [blues dancing]
I dream to go
Raiz d’Aldeia – june – Portugal [bal folk]
Vialfre – june – Italy [bal folk]
Tango marathon, Warsaw, Poland [tango]
Forro Copenhague [forro]
Berlin Blues Explosion [blues dancing]
Moose Blues, Oslo, Norway [blues dancing]
Bergueda, Spain [bal folk]
Atlantic Blues Festival, Portugal [blues dancing]
Hummingbird Blues, Poland [blues dancing]
Drag the Blues, Barcelona, Spain [blues dancing]
The Spoonful, Edinburgh, Scottland [blues dancing]
Espanish blues festival, Madrid, Spain [blues dancing]