It has been a busy start of the year - but I'm not complaining! Last weekend I made a detour to the Tallinn Salsa Festival, to see my friends in Estonia, and to see if I could still dance any salsa!? The artist line-up was an interesting mix; Terry & Cecile (LA salsa), African Jet (LA salsa), Erodys & Tenna (Cuban salsa), Mark-Anthony (NY salsa), Felicien & Isabelle (kizomba), Andre & Arina (salsa & tango), Nemanja & Asya (salsa & kizomba), Joseph Davids (salsa & bachata), Xandy & Evelyn (zouk), Marco Zanella (salsa & bachata), San Miguel (Cuban salsa)... So I was expecting a nice combination of different Latin, African and Brazilian dance styles!
Party time! ¡Bailamos!
I was in fact going to the festival just to party (- am I getting lazy?). The organisers had managed to get an impressive venue for Friday & Saturday nights: The Estonian National Opera House! There were two dance floors: the lofty main room was for salsa - it was spacious and in my opinion one of the most beautiful party spaces I've seen at dance festivals. But very very hot! Despite the heat I had a really fun time dancing there. The bar had lots of very reasonably priced drinks so the crowd was well served.
On Friday there was a live salsa band Descarga from St. Petersburg and both nights had shows at around midnight. It was interesting to see the variety of styles, tempos and moods in the professional shows - surprisingly entertaining. As a curious coincidence, the last two shows were based on classical music: zouk with Mozart by Xandy & Evelyn and salsa with Bethoven by Terry & Cecile... quite the fitting place to perform them at the Opera House!
Downstairs from the penthouse salsa room was the smaller 'sensual room' with kizomba, zouk and bachata - and better air conditioning! I spent the large part of my evenings there, popping in the main hall occasionally for a salsa & a drink. I was quite happy with the music played in the sensual room, as well as with the dancers there! It was pretty crowded at times - and it wasn't a tiny room (as you fear to encounter in some salsa events). At one point I felt there were more dancers in the sensual room than in the salsa room! A positive sign for the kizomba, zouk and bachata enthusiasts in Estonia..?! Zouk is still quite new in the Baltics and zouk dancers were still a clear minority in the parties, compared even to kizomba - but there are now regular zouk classes in Tallinn and many zouk workshops all over the Baltics so I'm sure you can see more of that in the future.
The parties were from 10pm to 4am and after 4am the most enthusiastic dancers headed to the after party at the Cubanita Live Cafe (where you could also get a very late dinner or early breakfast). My hotel was so conveniently around the corner from the Opera House I never made it to Cubanita... But surely stayed in the parties until the very last dance! Those that continued the festival all the way through were pretty excited about the pool party held Sunday evening at the Tallink Spa... Next time I'll be there too!?
Looking at all the smiling faces at the parties the festival looked like a success to me! This was the ninth Tallinn Salsa Festival, and first one organised by the Euphoria Dance Studio. The organisers were very excited about their labour of love and are already gearing up for the next year when the festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It will surely be a big event and not to be missed if you are in Estonia!