The Vancouver International Salsafestival (VIS) has easily been one of the most successful, fastest growing, and not to mention hottest dance events to hit Vancouver. In the few years that it has been running, it has drawn many of the top Latin dance performers, artists, and instructors from around the world. Moreover, the attendees of the festival come from a range of cities just to dance and learn and socialize with other fellow dance addicts. The connections that are made between all the dancers just leaves everyone ‘wanting more’- as one of the first VIS slogans so appropriately described it.
So when I heard that next year was going to be the last of the VIS, I was completely surprised. I couldn’t believe that such an incredible event was soon to be coming to an end. But when the creator of the event- Cheyenne Kamran- began explaining the reasoning behind the decision, I definitely could appreciate and admire his conviction to maintain the quality of the event. And I thought it important share his thoughts with others through this interview. It was great to hear Cheyenne reminisce on the memories he holds of VIS but also to see the utter excitement he feels for the next and final year! “Make no mistake,” says Cheyenne, “this year will be the craziest most epic event anyone has ever experienced. Because guess what? There is no next year!”
And that’s why it’s easy for me to say that you just all got to be there!
People have often told me they are shocked when they meet you because you’re so young. It’s impressive that someone your age began what has turned into such a huge and successful event. How DID the idea come about for you for VIS?
Cheyenne: Oh my God (laughs). Okay. Well, to back up a bit, I was about twenty one when I tried out salsa at UBC. But at the same time, I was playing a lot of soccer so I didn’t really have time to dance salsa. And then, at one of the soccer games, I tore my ACL and I had to have surgery. And the doctors told me not to play soccer anymore. And for some reason, I thought that dancing would be easier on my knees (laughs). So I started taking classes, and I just fell in love with the dance. By then, I was a twenty-two year old kid excited about the dance and I wanted to DO something more with it. And for me, call it a weakness or a strength, I’m not sure, but when I get excited about something, I’ll take action on it, you know?
So the more I got into dancing, the more I wanted to put on salsa events. So we started with smaller events first with about eighty people attending, and then it kind of grew from there.