First-ever international dance festival comes to Twin Cities

The “Bailame Dance Festival” will run from Nov. 8-11 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West.

Hailee Schievelbein

Hailee Schievelbein

Ksenia Gorinshteyn

The opportunity to dance through the night is finally here, Twin Cities, and it’s not at a club.

The Bailame Dance Festival celebrates the histories and cultures surrounding the bachata, salsa, kizomba and zouk dances for four days with more than 30 locally and nationally known dancers.

Bailame is the first of its kind in the Twin Cities area. Such dance festivals have been popular in cities like Chicago and Miami, and is now coming to the Twin Cities. 

“We think that [the Twin Cities] has the potential to be one of the other large dance events and bring the Midwest onto the map,” said co-founder Charles Kronschnable. “It’s really cool to see the community start embracing the idea of how big this event is and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to be a part of that.’”

The planning began this past March, after Kronschnable and business partner Shun Harris gained some experience hosting a dance event the year before. It was much smaller in scale but it got them thinking, “what would this look like if we expanded this?”

Kronschnable and Harris booked a hotel and contacted dozens of dancers to share their skills and enthusiasm for the art form. After seven months of planning, the Bailame Dance Festival has come to fruition.

“It was kind of like a domino effect,” Kronschnable said. “Once we got the hotel, we agreed to have music playing until 6 a.m. and everything just started to fall into place. Now we have this and it’s actually gotten bigger than we anticipated.”

In addition to each night of dancing, there will be workshops and panels teaching about the cultural significance of each style of dance. 

“Dancing is about overall development,” said Sajana Nair, who helps run the festival’s social media accounts. “It’s not just something that we do for fun, but also because of how much it’s helped us evolve as [people]. It’s important to know the effects and the influences of your style of dance.”

“Bailame” is more than just three nights of music and dance. The whole festival is also a charity event. They’ll be partnering with Finnegans Brew Co. and the Autism Society of Minnesota to collect monetary and food donations throughout the weekend.

“When I talked to my partner, one of my goals was to ensure that it’s not just about how much money we can put into our pocket, but how much does it mean to give back to the community?” Kronschnable said. 

Kronschnable and Harris aren’t focused on making personal profits through an event as big as “Bailame.” They’re funding it out of their own pockets because it’s an event they believe is missing in the Twin Cities, and they want to change that. 

“We want to put this event together for the community and for the dancers,” Kronschnable said. “This is not us trying to make some money off of this. If anything, we just want to break even.”

The festival is open to everyone and anyone who wants to come — no dance experience is necessary. The panels, workshops and open dance floor are welcoming spaces intended to provide a learning experience for all attendees, no matter their dance background. 

“Dancing is for everyone,” Nair said. “We naturally respond to music when we’re born, but as we grow, we just end up building these inhibitions, which creates a block. I feel like being around so much music and so many people is the best way to let go.”

What: Bailame Dance Festival

When: Nov. 8-11

Where: Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West Hotel, 3131 Campus Dr., Plymouth

Cost: Ticket prices vary