Tango Cherries – St. Petersburg Marathon, 2016, Russia

After travelling to Moscow for 2 consecutive years for a marathon I felt ready to try other Russian dance events as well. And after 2 times trying to make it on the list for the St. Petersburg Marathon, this year I have been successful with my registration and I have been looking forward a lot.

St. Petersburg in June is wonderful. I felt immediately safe, welcome, and among friendly people. At the airport it starts with all signs not only in cyrillic letters, but as well in latin. Same for subway stations, streets (the mayor ones) and other signs. „Pieter“, as some locals call their home town, really likes tourist and helps them to enjoy their time.

Afternoon Milonga
Afternoon Milonga

Since my phone refused to work at the airport, I needed to find some helpful people to connect with the taxi driver who supposed to wait for me there. My flight had been delayed.  In a second people helped me out, and after 5 minutes my assigned driver got me.

The marathon has been located in the jewish cultural centre, quite centrally located. It felt first a bit strange to have armed guards letting you in, even screening you for metal parts, but after a while we all felt very well protected and not disturbed in any way. The place was very nice, a big ball room with wooden floor, a perfect working aircon, nice sound system and enough chairs.

Outside there has been a roofed yard with a glass ceiling, so shoe shopping and coffee chats where possible in a nice open atmosphere. Changing rooms with showers added some more comfort, and I loved especially the water jars at the snack bar, where they served water with added fresh orange and lemon juice. How tasty and refreshing this has been! Sure the bar had as well vodka, some other cocktails, wine, beer, … all the good stuff!

The DJ’s were carefully selected and played awesome sets, and my personal favourite DJ set has been from Larisa Geravker, from Minsk.

Dancing has been incredible. Knowing about the “famous” Russian followers and their good technique, embrace, and musicality, I can only comment that at this event I experienced many very well leading “Russian” leaders. (Please excuse me if I count dancers from Ukraine, Belarus and other Ex-soviet-countries in the same group.)

I find it still interesting that there have been very few followers from other countries – there have been quite some who are originally from Russia but living now somewhere else. I can only recommend to all followers to try. You don’t need to speak Russian, and you will enjoy a lot. This marathon is not about the 20-year-old barbie-esque girlies of tango, this marathon is about true dancers, searching deep connection, musicality, and feelings.

To my leader friends I don’t need to recommend Russia, because most of them are already convinced that it is nice to go there for dancing.

Still the moment where a dozen Russian women were with me in the changing room at the same time, preparing for the tango to enter, has been deeply impressing. The amount of time and effort they invested in their outfit, make-up, hair and shoes is huge. And the bird-like chirping sound of a bunch of women chatting with each other in this wonderful language is still in my ears.

Knowing it is not easy to make it on the participants list: dear friends, try. You will not regret!

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