Why do I still dance tango?

I wasn’t sure how to write this post because when this idea came to me I had a very specific answer in mind to the question in the title, but while thinking about it I thought about a million different things I’d like to say. If I said only the answer it would be too short and you wouldn’t get the whole picture. But if I told the whole story it would be way too long and who would want to read that? So, I decided to do the obvious thing and write both. First a TL;DR 1 version with just the answer, and then the whole story.


As you’ll see in the rest of the text, tango has brought me a lot, and there are a lot of reasons to continue dancing – music, connection, embrace, friends, joy, magic… but if you came for the title and want to see just one reason it would be that one perfect moment when all the stars align. The dance nirvana. When you have just the right partner, for just the right song and you are in just the right mindset that lets you slip out of this world and all that is left existing are you, your partner, your embrace, your connection, and the music. And somehow all of that becomes just one entity, just existing and moving through space and time (until you notice it and ruin it with thinking). It feels like your partner’s body is a part of your body. You can feel their heart beating through the embrace. Those moments are rare for me, but boy oh boy, are they ever worth it. 2

The long way round

The inspiration for this post came about around New Year’s when I had a couple of these perfect moments. Then I realized that soon it would be 9 years since I started dancing tango so I decided to put these two stories together. Yes, today is exactly 9 years since my first tango class. A decision that definitely changed my life. Who knows what would my life look like if I hadn’t started dancing tango, but I can say for sure that it wouldn’t look like this.

I’m gonna warn you now, this ended up being my whole tango journey. Just so you know what you are getting into.

Tango came into my life via a Facebook ad. Tango Natural was organizing a new enrolment for a student group. 3 It caught my eye so I decided to check out what that was all about. I came by the Tango Natural Facebook group and in it, someone had shared this performance by Sebastian Achaval and Roxana Suarez:

For me, it was love at first sight. I have always been a person who is impressed by different skills and my first instinct when I see something I like is “I want to do that too”. I really liked how the tango looked, But what really bought me was their connection and their smiles. Looking back now, I can’t believe I somehow saw their unity in dance. Somehow, without any experience, I recognized that they were dancing together. This is not just some choreography learned by heart, there is something more there. 4 And the reason why I’m glad that the first performance I came by was this one is their smiles. I mean just look at them. They are always smiling and who wouldn’t want something that brings them such joy?

I’ve sent this video to one of my closest friends at the time and this is an excerpt of our conversation after that.

It’s still mind-blowing to me the insights I’ve had just from a couple of videos without ever actually dancing tango. This was a day before my first class.

Now comes the most unexpected thing. I actually went to the class. The reason why this is unexpected is because at the time I was very very shy and very introverted. 5 I never actually danced before, not even at parties. I even missed the presentation which would be a safe way to go. Blend in with the crowd and you can just look and don’t have to do anything. Another surprising fact – I had no idea how all of that worked, so I called a number listed on the event to check if I could still go even though I missed the presentation. I still don’t like calling people on the phone but that time I did it. And then I actually went to the class. I almost turned around and went back because I couldn’t find the place. But, fortunately, one of the instructors 6 saw me from the terrace looking lost so he called me and asked me if I was there for the tango class.

At the class, it wasn’t a love at first sight. It was awkward, and weird, and anxiety-inducing. I’m not sure what kept me there in the beginning because it did take some time for me to start enjoying it. However, very quickly I started going to a lot of classes. At my enrolment, there were two groups, and the concept was that there are 4 classes in the week and you can pick 2 of them that work for you. But, since there were more girls than guys, as often happens in tango, guys had more leeway. They let us come to more classes to fill in. A friend and I would also stay after our classes to watch the more advanced group. It was also a student group, but they started 6 months before us, which is a lot when you are just starting. Soon, they asked us to help with some exercises at the warm-up. 7 We did the exercise and started to go back to our lazy bags 8 when they were like “You can stay for the class”. So quite quickly we were going to 6 classes per week. That really helped us advance.

We started going to milongas 9 very fast. Not that we knew anything but the basic steps, but we danced with people from our group and we had a small group that would regularly stay after class, go to drinks, and then to a milonga and it was nice just hanging out and meeting new people if nothing else.

This is our student group. It is a mix of people from my group and the one who started 6 months before me. We were always at that corner table. Probably because it was the most remote and furthest from everyone else so we could hide from other people at the milonga there. And this photo is actually why I think the question from the title is very important. Because out of all the people in this image, I’m the only one still dancing regularly. A couple of them still show up once in a blue moon. Out of my whole group, there are just two other people who still dance regularly. While for me dancing tango is now just part of my life, it is obviously not the norm.

Then comes my first Encuentro. (don’t worry, I won’t write about every event I went to, just the key ones) It was only a month and a half after I started dancing so honestly, it’s kinda stupid going to one of the biggest festivals in Europe with basically no experience. I barely danced there and I only went to two out of five Gran Milongas, but I wish I had gone to all because it was the first time I saw the Maestros performing live. The most memorable thing for me was this performance of Maestros “closing the festival”. The best part for me was at around 2:15 they all just synced up. I think this is where you can truly see the power of communication in tango. Yes, you lead your partner through the embrace, but there is so much more that is happening and so much more you can do and communicate with everyone.

In the summer came my first Summer Tango Camp in Kolašin. It was the stuff of legends for us. Remember those drinks we would go to before the milongas? Well, Kolašin was often talked about there. People who were there before were telling us the stories of beautiful and sometimes wild things that happened there. 10 It did not disappoint. Classes, milongas, hiking, and many other activities. But most importantly, it is the place where we bonded as a group. That is where a group chat with a questionable name was born, and many friendships.

And one last thing from my first year of tango, I promise. The New Year’s Belgrade Tango Marathon. When the registrations for that event started, 3 friends and I decided to ask if they would accept us at the marathon. And it is a serious event where more people apply than there is space so you can’t just let everyone come. And to be honest, it would be kinda silly to let a couple of beginners come to such an event. So they let us come. But there was a condition. We had to work for it. It is a serious event with dancers of a certain level and we had to practice a lot to get better so we could be at their level. We had to go to 4 classes per week and 1 instructor practice. 11 Well, I was going to all of that and then some more. At one point I was going to tango 8 times a week. 12 It was probably the time I advanced the most in my tango life. The marathon itself did not disappoint. The local milongas were nice, but it’s a whole different feeling when you are at an event where everyone is at a higher level. At local milongas, you have a mix of beginners, more advanced dancers, and everything in between so the ronda 13 can be quite messy sometimes. At the marathon it was incredible. You had more people on the floor, with way less space, but somehow nobody was colliding with each other. The whole ronda was moving together. I didn’t have a bad dance at that event. 14

Another incredible thing about tango events is that you meet people from all around the world. Even if you don’t travel, there will be local events where foreigners will come. And meeting people from different countries and cultures can never be bad. You realize how big the world is, but everyone is just human.

The next important step was combining my two hobbies. Photography and tango. I started taking photos at milongas and soon Tango Natural had asked me to take the photos for them. Regular milongas and special events. I have around 20000 saved photos from the 4 years I was shooting tango. If you want to see some of my favorite ones I will be sharing some of them during the next couple of weeks on my Instagram profile. I stopped after some time because I’d hit a plateau in my photography and it got a bit tedious. However, I still shoot videos of the performances, and I do enjoy it. The only downside is that you are always looking at the performance through the screen of your camera so you can’t fully enjoy the performance itself. If you want to see amazing tango photography, I would recommend checking out Marta Kossakowska. But here’s a couple of my photos too:

Photography is how I started working with Tango Natural. After some time, they needed help with some of the stuff on their website. They knew my friend and I were quite techy so they had asked us to give them a hand. We had no experience with website development and WordPress but we caught up quickly and soon they recommended us to some of their friends who needed websites. These were the first jobs I was doing. It was nice to freelance and make some money. To this day, I still freelance with this sometimes. And of course, work on Tango Natural websites. This, alongside a web app that that friend and I made for tango event registration and management, was a really nice experience to put on a resume.

This leads me to the career path I’m currently on. You might ask what does being a Technical Artist in gaming has to do with tango. And it’s a good question since there isn’t really anything connecting those two worlds. Except for the fact that one of the close friends I met through tango had worked for a gaming company and they had opened a Technical Artist role. She recommended me, and somehow I got the job.

I think now you can see what I mean when I say that without tango my life would be completely different. I wouldn’t have the friends I have now. Who knows where my career would’ve gone? Maybe I would’ve finished my university studies. I wouldn’t live at the apartment I live in now since I got that too through tango friends. Maybe I would still be as shy and introverted as I was before I started dancing tango. All in all, I am very grateful for that Facebook ad, and Sebastian & Roxana’s performance since they brought so much into my life.

I have to mention two other important things in my tango life. The first one is that I had a performance. That was a really cool experience through which I’ve progressed a lot. And the other thing is the dark times – COVID. As you can imagine, there wasn’t tango during COVID. And even when it came back, it took a while for me to come back because it felt a bit uncomfortable, and the people who were there completely changed. A lot of people I knew from earlier stopped dancing so I barely knew anyone when I started coming back. Before COVID, I couldn’t have imagined my life without tango. COVID has shown me that I can live without tango, but in the end, I much prefer my life with tango in it.

All that tango has brought me is definitely one of the reasons I keep dancing, but let’s say a couple of words about the other reasons I mentioned at the beginning.


Tango music is a thing of taste and I realize that not everyone likes it. I do, and while I think tango can be danced to any music, and it can be very fun to dance it to non-tango music, it is the most natural to dance it to tango music. However, that’s not really what I want to talk about here. Musicality is one of my favorite and most important qualities in tango. I don’t fully understand myself, but expressing myself in the music is one of the best feelings in the world. It doesn’t even have to be myself doing it, or it doesn’t have to be tango, just watching it brings me incredible joy. Videos like this one or this one are my drug. Of course, my favorite tango performers are those I perceive as very musical. And one of the best feelings in dance for me is when I am dancing with a very musical partner who knows the music very well and then she accentuates some part of the music that I wasn’t even aware was there. Another thing I truly appreciate is when you find someone who hears the music the same way as you do. In that case, dancing becomes this fun game and at times you have a feeling you are communicating telepathically because you know what you want to do, and your partner has the same idea, and even though you’re not really leading it, you both know that’s exactly what the both of you wanted to do with that part of the music.


Connection with a partner is something that is hard for me to express in words. It is very abstract and you could even say spiritual experience. You feel that a person is completely there with you. When you completely connect with someone, you have a feeling there is nothing else around you.


I’m gonna say this, nobody hugs as well as tango dancers do. And it’s no wonder why. We dance in a hug, or embrace as we call it in that case. I never really hugged before dancing tango. Maybe sometimes when greeting someone, but those weren’t real hugs. After dancing tango, you realize that a lot of people are awkward when it comes to hugs, and don’t really hug each other like they mean it. Hug is a standard greeting among tango people. You just get comfortable in the embrace while dancing so it’s not weird outside of it either. Although I can still remember how weird and awkward it was for me when I started dancing. Another fun thing that can happen is that sometimes you can spend a lot of time in the embrace. How it usually goes in tango is that songs are played in blocks of 3 or 4 songs 15 with a short interlude between the blocks. 16 And you usually dance to one block of songs with one partner and you have some small talk between the songs. Well, when you connect really nicely with a partner, sometimes, you just stay in embrace between the songs. So that’s around 10 minutes that you spend in an embrace without breaking it. And sometimes 17 it can happen that you stay in the embrace for the interlude and another block of songs.


I don’t know if I was just lucky, but I do believe that tango attracts a certain kind of people. Wholesome and kind people. Because those are the people I met there. Those are the people that I now proudly call friends. My closest friends are people I met through tango. Those are the people for whom the expression “found family” was made. Out of all the things that would’ve been different if I hadn’t started dancing tango, this is the one that I would miss the most.


Remember the smiles from the performance? That’s what I’m talking about. Of course, tango is not always joyful. I’ve had my fair share of tango crises’ and bad feelings, but a lot of the time it is joyful to dance. Often it is just playing around with friends and having fun.


What else could you call all that I’ve written above and a lot more that is inexpressible if not magic?

  1. Too long; didn’t read

  2. Honestly, this should be the conclusion of the post, but I am aware that this is quite a lengthy post so not a lot of people will be willing to read the whole thing. So if you’re reading just some of it, I think this is a nice thing to read.

  3. And I was one at the time

  4. Those dancing tango know what I’m talking about here. In tango, almost every movement is led. Even when you are dancing a choreography, you will still lead/follow. And thanks to that you don’t see two people dancing for themselves, but two people who are dancing together.

  5. I still am, but nowhere near as I was. And a big part of it is thanks to tango.

  6. Mirko <3

  7. There were fewer guys than girls

  8. I really miss those

  9. Dance events where people go to dance tango

  10. The one I remember is about some guys riding bikes naked through the town in the middle of the night

  11. I might be wrong with the exact numbers, it was a long time ago

  12. Don’t tell my parents, since I was still a student at that time

  13. An anti-clockwise route around the outer edge of the dance floor or danceable area where tango dancers progress. As tango is a traveling dance, this allows everyone on the floor to be able to move without collisions.

  14. Probably because everyone was better than me so I was probably the bad dance to some 😀

  15. tanda

  16. Cortina

  17. Very rarely, I think it happened to me only once


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