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Prague Zouk Congress 2023 – Festival Review

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It was so good to be back at an international Brazilian zouk festival. Felt like home! Prague Zouk Congress was also on a break and returned now after a few years of hiatus. I had not attended any of their previous festivals but it’s actually one of the oldest in Europe. This year however the location was new and also most people there were attending for the first time – lots of fresh energy. Let’s get into the detailed review!


This was a smaller festival with not too many attendees. Leader and follower balance was amazing, there were actually MORE leaders at the workshops consistently. Everyone got to dance at parties and there was not too much waiting. The level of dancers was everything from improvers to advanced and I’m happy I got to dance with leaders who had good musicality and leading skills.

One annoying thing was that during the day, lower level dancers attended advanced workshops. This happens at literally every festival but doesn’t make it any less annoying. (Just so you know, if something is too difficult for you, you actually won’t learn much and also advanced level dancers cannot practice properly in the class if you do that.)


The venue for this festival was Olympik hotel Tristar. This was an all-in-one festival, meaning the parties and workshops were taking place in the same hotel that people were staying at. They also offered breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel. I stayed at an AirBnB so can’t talk much about the hotel rooms. I didn’t notice much vegan and gluten-free options so I also ate elsewhere. 

The dancehalls were air-conditioned which was great and we had enough space for moving. Floors were tiled and at least for me it was good to dance with my Fuego sneakers*.

Venue was close to public transport stops and had a grocery store and restaurants in walking distance, which was super convenient. Few tram stops away was a cool hip area of the city (Karlín) with even more restaurants if you wanted to go for a fancier dinner.


I obviously didn’t make it to all workshops, since I wanted to keep some energy for the parties as well, but I was happy with the ones I attended – definitely learned some new things. As is common for most zouk festivals, there were strictly only zouk classes available and no other styles.

The artist lineup of the event was more of “first generation”, meaning the Brazilian artists who have already been teaching internationally for around 10 years. Some new people as well or new partnership formations. I played it safe and took workshops from Kadu & Carolina, Val & Vanessa, Lucas & Thayna, Dominik & Monika and Carlos & Fernanda whom I know to be great dancers.

The absolute stars of the festival were Lucas and Thayna in my opinion. Their classes were useful and entertaining and their demos left people in awe. Since the crowd didn’t have any flowers to throw at “the stage”, then to show how much they loved their performance, they threw their shoes! (Look at photos and videos of that on @jettence Instagram highlights.) After their very first class I realised that in addition to being amazing dancers, they are also great teachers and immediately booked a private class with them.


The schedule was PACKED. There were workshops from 11:30 am to 7 pm with 10 minute breaks in between and a longer lunch break. Right after that was “Jack and Jill” competition, and then a few hours later the party started so you really had to choose some and leave some. On Saturday and Sunday most people started arriving at the party around midnight, since they just couldn’t make it earlier.


Music at parties was great, there was everything from traditional zouk to pop remixes to RnB. Should have been something for every taste. Only one room though, so if you didn’t like the music that was played, you had to wait until the style changed.

DJs are usually pretty “invisible” for me, I am mostly focused on dancing and finding cool dance partners. However at this event I found DJLOV3 who really impressed me. His music made me literally turn my head and check WHO ON EARTH is playing right now because his sets were on fire! And I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

I loved that organisers had set dresscodes for parties each night (Black and White, Animal Print and Colorful). It was much easier to plan outfits this way. The “Colorful” theme for Sunday party was genius, people really did show up in colorful clothes and it made the vibe so cheerful and positive!

There were no shows so people could dance all night without too much of an interruption. Only exception was announcement of J&J competition winners on Sunday. I didn’t make it to the Thursday pre-party so I can’t talk about that but it was at a studio somewhere in the city.


As I said, they didn’t have shows at the parties but what they did have was official “Jack and Jill” zouk social dance competitions after workshops, which was honestly just as entertaining. I went to watch the finals on Sunday. There was Novice and Intermediate categories and for Intermediates, they competed each couple separately (“spotlight”). Estonia brought home 1st place in Novice!


Organisation was great, everything ran smoothly except the delay in classes on Sunday. “Jack and Jill” competitions organisation was especially smooth and fast, I was very impressed. Choice of venue was great for the reasons I mentioned earlier. I think they had also hired sound and light engineers for the whole festival as well, there were two non-dancers hanging around all the time checking sound, fixing microphones etc. The colorful lights at the party added a nice vibe.


I had a lot of fun at the festival and left feeling motivated and inspired. It’s obvious that Carlos and Fernanda have organised festivals for years (I think this might have been their 13th??) and have lots of experience in putting together good events. I would give this year’s festival a score of 9/10. Would I go again next year? Probably yes, since my guess is that it will be even bigger next time with more people coming. And Prague is a beautiful city to visit anyway (I recommend taking a few days before the festival to look around). 

To see photos and videos of the event, visit my Instagram account @jettence and find “PZC” in story highlights or go straight to the official event account @prague_zouk_congress

Disclaimer: I paid for the full pass and all opinions are my own. Whatever I experienced this year does not automatically mean that the next editions of the festival will be similar or that you will have a similar experience. 

I regularly write festival reviews of dance events that I attend. If you’d like me to cover your festival, contact me at

*use code JETTE10 to get a discount on Fuego dance sneakers.

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