Tango Cherries – From Russia with Love 2014, Moscow, Russia
I confess I haven’t been that nervous before any tango trip as I have been before going to Moscow. Even if tango is not political, the actual situation made me think a lot if I want to risk to go there. Eventually I decided to go, especially because it was such an effort to organize beforehand, and because I know the organizers working so hard to get us all there. It has been a good decision in the end.
Coming to Moscow is similar and different to my last visit in the late 80s – I met surprising friendly and competent staff at the passport control and “lost and found”-desk of the airport, as well as very “specially” behaving waiters, same like many years ago.
The pre-party was a very nice surprise, because for whatever reasons it was almost gender balanced, and I did not dance any tanda with my international leader friends. WOW! A good friend from Moscow took me for a tanda right away when I arrived, and opened the doors for me this way, so that I had plenty of nice dances that evening, all with unknown leaders. Additionally I had the chance to meet some Russian friends again I got to know in BsAs early this year, and feeling this embrace after many months of only Facebook writing made me feel very melancholic and happy.
This first ever marathon in Russia has been organized by a team of 3 dedicated tangueras, and they did a very good job, although the event was unexpected for me in some ways.
Starting with the unknown feeling of an “exotic bird” – my friends asked me if I’m silly to go to Moscow as a follower, since everybody knows that there are millions of technically perfect followers, with a Russian soul and embrace, so I would hardly get a dance. Actually when I realized that we were only 7 non-russian followers in the whole event of 150 dancers, I got frightened for a moment. But hey, what about the Russian leaders? I wanted to explore! And there were plenty of my international leader friends, so what, I would survive anyway ….
The marathon itself started with my first broken tanda since a long time, and I thought that this would hopefully not be a bad sign. It wasn’t, not at all. Friday like in almost all events has been “friends friday”, which means everybody dances with his/her friends, after not having seen them for a (long) while.
The saturday started with a surprise event, which turned out to be neither sauna nor naked dancers jumping out of a big cake (the ideas we shared while waiting to get in the room …), but a truly Russian buffet with life music and some improvised folklore dancing. This was wonderful! After having many home-made delicious dishes (pancakes with caviar, fish, salads, cookies, borschtsch…) and some vodka shots for breakfast I found myself dancing russian folklore steps, and don’t ask me how I could do that – vodka was my teacher 🙂
In the marathon I had the chance to dance many pleasurable tandas with Russian and European leaders I never danced with before, as well as with my friends. The quality of the DJ-sets varied, like in almost every event, but there were sets I liked every tanda played, which made me very happy.
My conclusions after many talks and some philosophical thinking: the Russian followers really don’t lack technical perfection, if I watch their footwork I’m amazed every time. So my dear leader friends, these girls deserve good leaders. If you want to feel like in tango heaven, go to Russia. Here you will be able to get followers to dance you might not have got at home, way above your own dancing capabilities, just because of the general gender imbalance which usually exists in the local milongas.
(Followers, don’t worry, your tango heaven is Turkey, look here).
Russian followers seem to more likely accept cabeceo invitations from a wide range of leaders, and tend to not break a tanda, even if they suffer. Be aware that all this will give you a feeling of being a tango god, even if you might not be one … (a good friend once told me that he goes to BsAs to be “brought down to earth” after dancing quite a lot in eastern Europe …).
For followers it’s necessary to have a good technique and a good self-esteem, or to look very pretty, or a combination. You should be used to mirada and cabeceo, and if you can, try to get some dances with people you know in the very beginning, this definitely helps. I can’t really recommend just to go to local milongas or festivals, because being number 34 in a row of waiting girls might not be tempting. But I can recommend going to any gender balanced event, like this marathon. The Russian and many of the international leaders there had an almost equal amazing dancing level, were charming, laughing, and simply nice people.
I had a good time, few sleep, many dances, lots of vodka, found new friends. From Russia with love!