Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Atmosphere : 4.5 / 5
Hotel : 5/5
Dance level : 5/5
Music : 5/5
Food : 3.5 / 5
Sights & sounds : 5/5
St. Petersburg, the original capital of Russia has so much to offer in terms of history and taste. Approx. 12 hours from the America's and ~4 hours from anywhere in western Europe. This is definitely a destination competition for American dancers.
- Atmosphere -
All organizers & competitors were very welcoming. Dancers were helping dancers and organizers always made themselves available to answer any questions. The ballroom was laid out with the floor being the main staple. The outskirts of the floor were very cozy especially as evening sessions commenced. A recommendation is to secure front row tickets for professional events as standing room will become very cramped. The competition did run 40 min. behind at times but thats to be expected with Pro/Am dancesport as on occasions dancers were not near the ballroom. A recommendation would be to have a "deck captain" present. The schedule did get caught up with very speedy awards ceremonies.
- Hotel -
Corinthia Hotel is a 5 star establishment with wonderful contemporary modern rooms. Your stay will include access to the fitness center which has a dry sauna attached. I highly recommend a quick sweat & steam once you arrive. This will set you on the right path for your dance weekend. Work off that airplane food & detox your muscles.
- Dance Level -
When you think Russian dancesport, you think quality dancing. That is exactly what you will experience at Crystal Ball. Even though you may be intimidated by the sound of reading this dont be. In order to grow, you need to challenge your dancing constantly. Remember, go out there & have fun ... no one will bite you!
- Music -
The music was absolutely tremendous ! A Dj during the matinee and a live band in the evening. There were remixes of 80's & 90's jams all the way to new strictly dancesport songs never heard before. If I could give the music 5+ stars I would. It really kept you wanting to dance more evenin if it wasn't your category !
- Food -
Food in St. Petersburg ....is absolutely amazing. I will include some suggestions in this blog but hotel selection during lunch and dinner left alot to be desired. Breakfast buffet has some delicious fresh pressed juices and an omelette chef but besides that theres nothing to write home about. But... walking distance from the hotel is a restaurant named Katyusha - .en.ginza.ru/spb/restaurant/katyusha !Owned by famous owners of nightlife establishments Ginza group. This work of art transports you back in time to 1930's & 40's Russia. It is very reasonably priced for the fresh, tasty traditional Russian cuisines you'll be enjoying.
- Sights & Sounds -
There are many landmarks around the competition hotel. The most beautiful historic museum you will ever visit is named the Hermitage. This property is enormous and extremely well preserved. Make sure to look up as 90% of the lighting is original to the building. If you want night life, then just one block west below street level are multiple karaoke bars with often live music & dancing.
- Cost -
The Crystal Ball competition is very reasonable in cost all things considered. Flights are very cheap in January plus a standard hotel room at The Corinthia is about $115 per night. You can even find hotels for as low as $20 a night within walking distance. A weekend in a major city like St.Petersburg or Moscow is similar to a weekend in Los Angeles. Overall very reasonable with an average meal for 2 people costing between $30 - $50 USD. The major difference is in the high quality of flavor & produce used. I travel almost every weekend to different parts of the world & I can honestly say that classical Russian dishes will surprise anyones taste buds.
In closing, I highly recommend this competition to Pro/Am & Professionals alike.