Though my favourite form of travelling is with a backpack and a craving for adventure, every year I book onto a week-long package holiday to Spain. This is not something you’ll hear hardened travel bloggers admit very often! Package holidays spent almost exclusively within a hotel complex are usually my idea of a holiday nightmare. But yet Medfest is one of the highlights of my year! Why you ask? Well imagine your standard package holiday but then compare it to one where you are with 50 or so of your friends playing pool games on giant inflatables and having late night parties in a spa. (Pool conga anyone?!) Not only that but you are surrounded by 700 people who share your passions and hobbies (in my case this is dance.) Sounding a bit better isn’t it? I’ll go on to explain why I make ‘Medfest’ my annual tradition!
What is medfest?
Medfest is a week-long Ceroc dance holiday spent in a 4* hotel in Calpe, Spain. Daytime activities include relaxing by the pool or on the beach, playing beach volleyball, playing water polo on giant inflatables, attending dance classes or playing games by the pool such as giant jenga, not forgetting Tim’s incredibly funny ‘pool exercise classes!’ There are also day trips you can go on if you feel so inclined but I have to admit this is one holiday where I chose relaxation over exploration! Trust me, this is unusual for me, but I guess everyone needs some chill time! The evenings are spent dancing into the early hours – my other favourite hobby alongside travel and photography. For the most part this is Ceroc and Blues dancing but there are also opportunities to dance West coast swing and Zouk!
What is Ceroc and why do I love it?
For some of you, my last sentence may sound like gobbledegook. In a nutshell Ceroc is a partner dance which draws influence from lots of different forms of dance including jive and salsa. West coast swing is more about fancy footwork and zouk about swishy head movements and impressive body rolling! Here are some videos I found on you tube which show you what I mean…
I personally started dancing about 9 years ago when I was volunteering in Ghana. My colleague was a salsa dancer and introduced me to local classes but I was so frustrated that I couldn’t partake properly in either hiking boots or flip-flops so I booked myself straight onto a salsa lesson once I returned to the UK and never looked back! For years salsa was my dance of choice and I danced it all over the world including in Malaysia and Australia! But over time, my love for salsa waned a little. The dance scene in Cardiff declined after lots of young people left to get married and start families and it just wasn’t quite the same. I missed dancing like crazy but when I moved into my new home, I discovered Ceroc – conveniently a few minutes walk from my home! As soon as I arrived, it was like stepping into a big dancing family! I was made to feel so welcome and it wasn’t long until I was spending most of my time with my dancing friends and going away on weekends with them dancing all over the UK! My passion for dancing is as strong as ever and now I dabble in all of the dances listed above plus several others!
There are many reasons I love dancing so much! For starters it’s the sort of exercise I like – exercise which doesn’t FEEL like exercise! I can burn calories quickly without feeling hard done by for having to spend hours down the gym! It’s creative – I’ve mentioned before about my creative streak. This is one of the best things about Ceroc. It’s a lot more flexible than dances like salsa so I can get creative and add my own twist and style to the moves! But mostly I love how sociable it is! I’ve met hundreds of new friends through ceroc who live all over the country (and some abroad!) We meet up on dance weekenders and competitions and it’s like we’ve never been apart! Ceroc attracts people from all walks of life so my dance friends are by far the most diverse group of friends I have and I love this! Variety is of course the spice of life!
As I mentioned before there are loads of dance weekend events. We frequently take over Pontins in the UK (Ok not the classiest of venues) but it is a whole lot of fun! From chalet parties (imagine 60 + people squeezed into tiny chalets partying the night away) to the wide variety of dance lessons to the non stop dancing available from midday until 7am each morning! And yes I frequently stay dancing until 7am! I am a self-confessed dance addict after all! We also have several competitions throughout the year as well – in fact I have the Welsh Champs coming up this weekend! Wish me luck!! Between these weekend events and holidays, there are classes in most towns across the country. Find your local class here.
Okay so more about Medfest…
Held in the beautiful 4* Diamante Hotel with some people staying in surrounding apartments it’s a great venue. Just minutes from the beach and restaurants – Bar Tango and Bar 78 were our favourites! Bar Tango does super cheap cocktails -4 euros and I recommend the sea bass at Bar 78! Not forgetting the amazing ice-cream stalls! Creme Brule flavoured ice-cream anyone? The food was occasionally a tad random in the hotel restaurant but I certainly never went hungry!
Every afternoon there is dancing by the poolside with some great DJ’s. But you can also attend dance classes – everything from ariels to ladies styling to beginners zouk! The teachers do an amazing job!
Even for the most restless of sunbathers there is plenty to do in the afternoons around the pool! From music quizzes to poolside giant jenga to ‘pool fitness classes‘ with Tim. I admire how much energy he put into each class and he always had everyone in a fit of giggles! Our addition to the poolside fun this year was our giant inflatable pool polo! Imagine a swimming pool filled with 30 or so giant inflatables! Add to that plenty of people using supersoakers to get us even more wet! Trust me I didn’t need the extra help – I fell off mine often enough! Sadly not many of the inflatables survived the week – most were decapitated!
My Absolute Medfest highlight! At 1 am after a few hours of dancing, the DJ decks are set up inside the luxury spa and the champagne is free-flowing! It starts off feeling very glamorous and civilised sipping champagne and eating chocolate truffles inside the jacuzzi but as the music gets cranked up so does the energy, and before you know it you’ll be doing the conga through the freezing cold plunge pool!
Another highlight of the week. Everyone gets dressed up in fluorescent clothes and body paint and head to the beach. There’s the flash mob where dancers suddenly launch into a dance routine on the beach front and this is then followed by an outdoor dance party under UV lights. There’s something really lovely about dancing outdoors! It does draw quite a crowd from interested passers-by so it’s also a great way to spread the word about Ceroc!
Fancy dress final night
This is the night generally most looked forward to and talked about! Every year there’s a new letter theme for the fancy dress – this year it was ‘P.’ So we all rocked up dressed as punks, police, power rangers and even Piccachu! Theres a competition for the best outfit so everyone goes all out! My personal favourite outfits were friends of mine, Linda and Terry who home crafted piñata costumes – it must have taken ages but it was so effective! We then all hit the dance floor though I learnt the hard way how hot it can be dancing in a pink spiky wig!
So why should I consider going?
If you are a Ceroc dancer already you will be surprised how many people you will know when you get there (I certainly was!) What could be better than a weeklong pool party with your friends?
If you’ve never danced before, you should still consider going! There are beginner lessons on all weekenders and holidays and people are super friendly and helpful towards beginners. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone – you soon will! My roomie this year didn’t know anyone at all and now she’s made so many friends she’s coming to visit us all in Cardiff this weekend for the competition!
I can not recommend Ceroc dancing as a hobby enough! It keeps you fit, is heaps of fun and you will make so many new friends from all walks of life! The basics of Ceroc are also easier to pick up than other dances so it’s accessible to anyone – yes even if you reckon you have 2 left feet!!
So if you’d like to find more, visit www.ceroc.com
Please feel free to comment below! have you tried Ceroc or want to give it a whirl? (Pun intended!) Or have you been on any holidays similar to this but catering for different hobbies? I’d love to hear all about your experiences!