The success of Salsa Jam in Cyprus continues. Latino lovers from around the world come between September 21 and 28 to attend the festival described as one of the most unique and colourful salsa festivals in Europe. We had a chat with Salsa Jam founder and fire soul Mehmet Aslan, as for the twelfth consecutive year organises the festival. He tells with great enthusiasm and joy about the plans for this year’s arrangement. “Because many of the festival participants are foreign students who study in North Cyprus, this year we have chosen to put Salsa Jam in late September instead of in the beginning. Then all international students can make it back to Cyprus after the summer holidays and attend the festival. Another reason we choose to postpone the dates is to avoid collisions with other large salsa festivals that take place at the same time.”
Last year Salsa Jam in Cyprus was attended by over 30 nationalities, including from Canada, USA, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Holland, Greece, France and Italy. Mehmet was very pleased with last year’s festival but at the same time believes that this year’s festival will be even better. “After many successful years at Malpas Hotel, we have moved the event to The Olive Tree Hotel in Catalköy. The hotel has an attractive location, close to Kyrenia, and very good service. There will be a bed capacity for up to 300 guests.”
Planning for each year’s festival begins in early spring. Mehmet usually travels to several countries around Europe in order to inform about the festival and invite dancers. To help, he has his Salsa Jam Dream Team consisting of five people. “Last year, I travelled to twelve countries before the festival, this year it will be a bit calmer,” he says.
It is not only during the big festival in September that salsa dancing takes place in North Cyprus. Throughout the year, Mehmet arranges everything from glowing latin nights inside the old town walls in Nicosia, to long weekend when international dancers are invited to the salsa party at Salamis Bay Conti Hotel outside Famagusta. In April, the Italian salsa band La Maxima visited Salamis and performed for a dedicated audience of dancers. Mehmet is as passionate about Latin music as he is for the dance and under the name Dj Salsero he plays at all salsa parties. “When I was younger, I loved going to record stores and buying CDs with good music. When I discovered the salsa music, it took my music interest into a new dimension. I could feel it in the body, in my blood, it spoke to me,” he explains.
This year’s Salsa Jam in Cyprus will as usual include workshops, performances and lots of Latin tunes! Participants will dance in several places, including Kyrenia Harbour and out at sea at a big salsa party. Mehmet describes the festival week almost as a marathon, where no evening is like the last, and everyone feels like part of a big salsa family. The festival ends just like last year with a two-day trip to the national park area Karpaz, where you dance at sunset on the stunning Golden Beach. The closing party will be held at a club in the old town of Nicosia.
Anyone who wants to join, beginners to experienced dancers, are welcome to attend Salsa Jam in Cyprus.
For more information visit the festival website: www.salsajamcyprus.com