Peace & Love Tallinn – One Weekend of Kizomba and Tarraxa in Estonia
In November 2018, I had the chance to go to Lithuania to dance at one party from a Kizomba festival taking place there during a weekend when I was visiting Vilnius. I really was surprised to see so many Kizomba lovers and I met very nice and open people.
This made me want to explore more about the Kizomba scene in the Baltics, and since I had been wanting to visit Estonia since many years, I decided to go to this Kizomba festival that seemed to have a strong focus on Tarraxinha and Tarraxo. I was not wrong and I am so glad I went.
How to Get There?
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, so there are many easy ways to get there. For the people coming from Helsinki, Finnland, the easiest way is the ferry. And I met a lot of people who did this. But unless you happen to live close to Estonia, the easiest way would be to arrive by plane to the Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Both Ryanair and Wizz Air have connections for example from Germany and the U.K.
The airport is surprisingly close to the city. There are even houses right next to it. I know people who literally got off the plane, got out of the airport and just walked to the city. It would take around 30 minutes walking I would say. Luckily you don’t need to, since there is a tram stop exactly at the airport! Super practical.
And all you need to do is buy a tram/bus card at any of the thousands of “R kios” convenience stores you see all over Tallinn, even at the airport. The card costs 2 Euro and the 72 hour fare cost 5 Euro! Super cheap compared to Germany at least.
The other option would be to use Uber, Y.Taxi or Taxify. There are many apps in Estonia for these kind of services and they are very cheap. For a 2.5 km ride I paid something around 3.5 Euro on Uber. But I must say that, coming out of the festival parties at 4am, the best option is to use Y.Taxi or Taxify, since neither trams nor Uber drive all night.
The festival took place at the Salme Kultuurikeskus (Salme Cultural Center), less than a kilometer away from the main train station, so you can easily walk from there. It is a very nice venue with three levels where they usually have theater performances.
On the second floor they had this quite big room for Kizomba, Tarraxinha, Tarraxo, etc. It extends to the left side but it’s hard to see from the Dj booth without panorama.
And on the first floor they had a small room for Salsa and Bachata. Not really the focus of the festival, but at some points it got very full.
During the party on Saturday there was a very impressive Tarraxa competition with participants from France, The Netherlands, Russia and other countries. I really enjoyed watching it and just feeling the energy of the supporters. The teachers of the festival were the jury.
I, unfortunately, could not attend the workshops, since I wanted to visit the city also, but I heard that the workshops from Sonja Kikizomba from Belgium were some of the best. Other great teachers at the festival were Gwany & Liliana De Lima from France and Denmark, Mo Torakfh from Germany, Sa-Dine Kiz’Illusion from France, among others.
If you like Tarraxinha and Tarraxo, chances are you know Gwany and Liliana De Lima. Not only they gave workshops but were also dancing a long time with many people during the parties, pretty much as taxi dancers and they were super open and nice to dance and talk to.
I must say though, that the ratio was about 65% women, 35% men, which is something I’ve heard that happens all over Eastern and Northern Europe, so this was not an exception but also not an isolated case either. But there were about three teams of taxi dancers working all night long.
The music was mostly Urban Kizomba with great emphasis on Tarraxinha and hard Tarraxo, like I’ve mentioned above. And everybody was so good at it! So if what you like is something more in the direction of traditional Kizomba or Semba, this might not be the best festival for that although they did play it at some points.
I went to the Friday and Saturday parties and I paid 30 Euro each day. There were some discounts for around 70 Euro for all the parties but I couldn’t stay for the Sunday party.
In my opinion, it was totally worth it. Very nice venue. Very good music. Enough space to dance although there were many people and the level of the dancers was exceptional.
The rest of the prices were very common at around 120 Euro for a full ticket and some discounts if you came with another men/leader or as a couple.
Tallinn is a medieval city with a lot of forests and even beaches around it. I really liked the people, since most of them speak such good English and also Russian, and everybody is so helpful. The food is expensive but transportation is very cheap, so it compensates a bit. I loved the beer and the heavy mix between Baltic, Russian and Finnish culture.
Here are some impressions: