Chilli Festival fun at West Dean

The dance skills of Crystal Main will be among the many attractions West Dean’s Chilli Fiesta from August 9-11.

You can expect to be enthused by her passionate approach.

“I just live and dance,” says Crystal, a former UK Ten Dance Champion and a dancer on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

“When I was young, all I ever really wanted to do was dance. My mum knew she had to put me into something because I had too much energy. She put me into ballet first of all, but that didn’t challenge me as much. I got a little bit bored.

“My mum then put me into disco and again it didn’t really gel, and then a friend said to come and join the Latin and ballroom dance. It was a bit old-fashioned then before Strictly and all that, but I went along and I just absolutely loved it.

“For me, there were just lots of different rhythms and lots of different types, different formats and different structures, how you hold your body. I just loved it. I just loved connecting to somebody else and connecting your energy with their energy and you have got like the double whammy of the two energies meeting.”

You can expect to be infected by that energy too when Crystal performs daily at the Fiesta: “I will go on stage and hopefully do my thing and I hope I will get the audience to join in. I am going to teach the crowds some salsa.

“I work closely with the creative director and for a few times through the day I will be going on to perform Latin dance – samba, cha cha, rumba, paso doble, jive and then the last one will be salsa, and that’s the one I will be getting the crowd to do.”

Crystal adores ballroom, particularly the foxtrot, but Latin comes with its own particular set of pleasures, particularly a very special dance freedom: “You can break away, you can dance side by side, you can turn, you can rotate. In ballroom, it is much more man orientated, where the man leads the lady around the floor.

“With Latin, the lady and man can portray their personality in each dance. In each dance, there is a characteristic; there is a character. In the cha cha, it is the cheeky Crystal that comes out. Rumba is more about love and more about your emotions; it is more emotional, more expressive.

“Salsa is a bit more fun, a little bit flirty, a little bit more intimate. It crosses over between cha cha and rumba.”

For the Fiesta, Crystal will be performing each day on the main stage .

Other entertainment lined up throughout the weekend includes:

• Katari – a panpipe duo will bring you the haunting sound of the Peruvian Andes

• Cocktail Demos – demos throughout the day at the three bars and on the main stage, including the ultimate chilli cocktail, the Westdini

• Chilli Circus – international circus performers Penni Tovey and Marty Bindschatel will amaze with their tricks and skills and their outrageous costumes.

The Friday evening (August 9) features:

• Gleadhraich (pop/pipe group)

• Andalus Gypsy Kings Rumba Band (UK’s leading Rumba Flamenco guitar Latin band specialising in the authentic sound of the Gipsy Kings)

• Grupo Lokito (energetic front-line singers play a mix of Congalese Rumba and Cuban Salsa dance rhythms, with outlandish dancing)

• Viramundo (lively six-piece authentic Brazilian band featuring singer Rebeca from Rio and Samba dancers for a blend of sambal, samba-reggae, lambada, bossa, axé, forrao, pagoda, Brazilian funk, levada and bossa styles from Brazil).