AN ambitious salsa festival returns to Cornwall, from May 10 to 12 at Hotel Victoria in Newquay.

The Dança Bonita SBK Festival & Beach Party made its debut last year, thanks to St Austell salsa teachers Jean Pryce and Hayley Newton.

Participants can expect to work and play hard, with three days of workshops led by high-profile teachers balanced out by three party nights fronted by top DJs.

The line-up includes experienced teachers from the UK and Europe, UK champions, up-and-coming young talent and international DJs specialising in dance styles or putting together mixed playlists for social sessions.

As well as salsa, dancers can enjoy bachata from the Dominican Republic, and Angolan dances including kizomba and semba – which translates as "a touch of belly buttons". 

The festival will have exclusive use of the hotel over the weekend, with much of the dance action taking place in the magnificent Ocean Ballroom, with its spectacular coastal views and a dance floor made for swivelling.

“The surface is just right, perfectly polished. Even Jennifer Benavidez, who has taught all over the world, said it was the best floor she had ever danced on, which is a real compliment.”

One of the most highly anticipated events is the Beach Party, which will take place on Great Western Beach party, weather permitting. “The long-range forecast suggests it will be the hottest day of the year so far,” says Hayley, no doubt crossing fingers and toes (dancers will repair to the Ocean Ballroom if raining).

Tutors include world salsa champions Kat and Eddie; and Courtney and Michael, experts in the hip-hop laced dance style Urbankiz; and Venezuelan salsa DJ Tuli.

The festival’s aims remain the same: to promote a healthy lifestyle, improve mental health, to enhance Newquay’s positive tourism reputation and, perhaps most of all, to make dance available in Cornwall – and to have fun.

“For us to go anywhere to dance usually involves time off work, an overnight stay, a couple of hundred quid,” says Hayley. “A lot of people can’t do that, so we are bringing the dance to them.”

Find Salsa Bonita and Dança Bonita SBK Festival & Beach Party on Facebook.