Welcome.  We are so excited to have you join us.  No, really, we are.  From the minute you walk into the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront, you are going to feel the excitement.  Several friends suggested compiling some information for first-timers. It is a great idea so I will do the best I can to include everything you need to know.

  1. Arriving at the hotel-  The hotel has a free shuttle that runs from the airport every 20 min.  Follow the signs for shuttle service once you retrieve your bags.  Here is the hotel number in case you want to call when you land and double check when the shuttle will be arriving next.   +1-650-340-8500
  2. Hotel rooms and amenities- Your hotel rooms are super nice, because it is a Hilton.  The rooms do not come with a refrigerator though. You have to ask for a refrigerator at check in and it is first come-first served.  The cost is a small additional daily fee.  A lot of people last year packed collapsable coolers for their rooms and then just refilled them with ice.  If you happen to have a car, we have a special parking rate negotiated with the hotel.  Just bring your parking ticket to the front desk.  The hotel is right next to a lovely walking trail on the bay, perfect for connecting with water and clearing your over-stuffed brain.  The hotel will likely have a few business travelers, but it will mostly be filled with dancers.  We pretty much take over the entire hotel.  The staff loves us too so you will find friendly, happy staff.
  3. Food- If you have a weekend package, your Thursday evening food is included at the opening party.  You also receive breakfast and lunch on Fri, Sat and Sun.  If you have paid for food then you will need your name tag to access the breakfast and lunch buffets.  Breakfast will be continental.  Lunch will be soup and salad with lots of protein options for toppings.  If you are attending a-la-carte and haven’t purchased lunch yet, I suggest that you do so.  The entire restaurant is just us and it is a really fun (and healthy) way to visit with your friends.  As for dinner, the hotel restaurant has great food also. Last year the service was horrible because they didn’t have enough staff despite my telling them that they would need additional staff before and after the show.  This year it should be fine.  There is also a free shuttle that runs from the hotel to Burlingame to a wonderful shopping and restaurant area.  The hotel will provide you with information about the shuttle when you check in.  My favorite thing to do is grab a little snack before the show and then go to the hotel restaurant after the show.  It is filled with excited and lovely, costumed dancers and is a really fun place to hang out before bed.
  4. Registration and hospitality- Registration is open from 3-8:30pm on Thursday and then from 8am-5:30pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday for those folks who have purchased a-la-carte workshops or events.  The hotel is relatively small and there is only one conference area to the right of the check in desk.  You will find registration, vendors and most of the workshops there.  The Registration table turns into the Hospitality table.  Trained and very friendly volunteers will be staffing it during the above hours to answer any questions you have or to offer any assistance.  You will also be able to sign up for massages and henna at the hospitality table.
  5. Opening reception- The opening reception is three events in one.  We have a poster session featuring leaders in our dance community sharing interesting and innovative presentations in a casual format. If you haven’t been to a poster session before, you will grab your glass of wine (or whatever you want) and then wander around looking at the displays and talking to the instructors.  It is similar to a trade show, but rather than selling things, the instructors are sharing information with you!  We will have a cash bar and about an hour into the reception we will have very yummy food.  We love the chef at the hotel and he made amazing food for us last year.  At about 8pm, Helm will play live for us and you can get your dancing shoes on.  From 8-9pm we will have an open dance party or hafla.  There will not be any performances, but rather your chance to dance to iconic music with friends and friends-to-be from all over the world.  You really don’t want to miss the opening reception!!
  6. Workshops- When you register, you will receive a name tag on a lanyard.  Your name tag is your ticket into everything that you have paid for including workshops, shows, meals, etc.  You must wear it at all times during the conference.  While we prefer to have all your purchases made in advance, if you get there and realize that you really must attend something that you didn’t sign up for, you can visit the hospitality table and they can check to see if there are still openings.  We will likely only take cash for last minute purchases, but we are still working that out.  If you are feeling super tired and want to attend a lecture or switch workshops as the weekend progresses, visit the hospitality table and we will be happy to switch your workshop as long as there is room in your desired workshop.  Last year our Sunday lectures ended up filling up because folks were tired and wanted a bit of a break from dancing.
  7. T-shirts- Each year we have ATS® Homecoming t-shirts that are the Bella Women’s Flowy Tank.  You need to order your t-shirts in advance if you want one.  We only purchase 5 over in each size so that we don’t have a lot of extra inventory.  T-shirts are NOT included in weekend packages so please purchase by Dec 15 if you would like to have one.
  8. Healing room- This year thanks to the generous donation of Magical Fashions, we will have a Healing Room complete with massage, henna, hot tea and yoga mats.  We are trying to arrange energy healing too.  There will be a poster session at the opening reception where you can sign up for slots.  You will need to pay when you sign up.  The slots will go quickly but if you can’t make it to the opening reception, stop by the Hospitality table to see what is available!  Even if you don’t get a slot for henna or massage, the healing room is a quiet place open to you just to hang out, stretch or compose yourself!
  9. Shows- The shows feature some of the best ATS® dancers in the world.  We will sell tickets at the door, but to save yourself wait time, please consider purchasing them in advance.  If you have a weekend package, your show tickets are included but remember you will need your name tag.  If you are attending a-la-carte and you have purchased tickets in advance, your name will be at the door.  We have volunteers monitoring the door during the shows and will only let traffic in BETWEEN acts in order to minimize disruption for performers and the audience.  Please be patient and kind with these volunteers if they ask you to wait.  They are making sure the show is enjoyable to everyone.
  10. Sneaking in to workshops or events- I hate to have to mention this but it happens every year.  Please do not try to sneak in to workshops, lunches, shows or Carolena’s plenary workshops without paying.  Unfortunately, we have had to staff the doors of each activity throughout the weekend because there were people coming in who did not pay to be there.  That is why we require name tags and list everything you have paid for on the name tag.  If you make a change, please make sure that the volunteer at the hospitality table writes the change onto your name tag and stamps it.  They will be trained to do that.  Also, please be patient with the volunteers who are checking name tags at the door!
  11. Cash bars- You absolutely do not have to drink anything stronger than water, however, if you choose to do so, we will have cash bars at the opening reception and both shows.
  12. Community- One of the things we set out to do with ATS® Homecoming was to create a community that was welcoming and supportive to all.  We have all attended conferences where you feel left out because you aren’t a member of the right group.  Don’t be surprised if complete strangers ask you to join them for lunch.  People are really, really friendly and welcoming.  391A7578