New Year’s Eve is a magic time when we all make a wish and promise ourselves to be happier, to travel more or to start a new hobby in the next year. So, how about combine all these three components together and sign up for Argentine Tango dance club in January where you can not only learn how to dance passionate tango but also open every new city from unexpected side and easily meet locals?

My first semester here, in Tartu, was full of amazing tango-events and tango-traveling. Moreover, Estonia has opened for me from another wonderful side, but let me first quickly tell my story of tango.

When I have started to dance tango 6 years ago, I did not know how a lot of new friends and unforgettable moments it brought to my life. My parents had danced Argentine tango for 3 years by that time and the only thing that I knew about it was a Wikipedia-style definition:

“Argentine tango is a partner dance that developed over the last century in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is very different from the tango in International and American ballroom dancing. Argentine tango is an interpretive, improvisational social dance that allows the dancers to develop a deep connection between themselves, the music, and the environment in which they are dancing.”

Tango-festival in Tallinn, 7-10 of October 2016, photo by PhotoGuero
Tango-festival in Tallinn, 7-10 of October 2016, photo by PhotoGuero

I thought that this dance is boring (because I did not like the music) and weird (because the idea that you can improvise during pair dancing seems really strange for me after some experience in ballroom dance). So, I was convinced that I would never dance Argentine tango, but… Never say never! And on New Year’s Eve in 2010 I just tried it and from that time I can’t stop to dance.

I have felt in love with the big tango-world which gives something special for everyone. Because it is a social dance, people don’t dance it on a scene, the main magic happens on milongas, the events on which all tango-dancers come together to dance tango and to enjoy the evening. They invite each other to share very intimate and close dance for 3 or 4 songs and after that break up to repeat this again with another person. Sometimes the only thing that you know about your partner is the name and the country, sometimes you do not know even this, but you share with each other marvelous dance and this tells about the person much more than any talking. That is why it is said that dancing partners in tango are “one body with two hearts and four legs”.

Tango festival in Riga, 9 - 12 of December 2016, photo by FotoKārlis
Tango festival in Riga, 9 – 12 of December 2016, photo by FotoKārlis

Because of that “social” feature of tango, you can find milonga in any city and dance tango everywhere with everyone. So, the first thing that I did after my moving to Tartu was googling milongas here. I found one of them which happens once a month in Vilde restaurant, so I took my dancing shoes, came to this place… And I meet so a lot of cool locals, enjoy dancing with them and spent a good time. That is how tango helps me to live through my first feeling of loneliness (which could happen with everyone who moves to a new city), to learn more about Estonians and their culture and to have new friends in Tartu.

But it is not the full story: I also found milongas and tango festivals in Tallinn and Riga and because the bus prices are so cheap in Estonia and these cities are so close to Tartu, I organized for myself my own tango-weekend in new cities. Everywhere I found new friends not only between locals but also between foreigners who as me came to this city to travel and dance. Some of the locals organized an excursion for me in new cities and tell some stories that I would not know after typical guide excursions, so cities opened me from a new side. Tango-people are so hospitable that we became friends and sometimes meet with each other in different cities to share the dance together again and again. Yes, tango is a sort of addiction, just try and you can not stop!

That is why this semester in Tartu I have danced a lot and felt that Estonian way of dancing tango is more sophisticated, more intimate than Latvian or Ukrainian one, they interpret music differently but their hugs are so warmly as in my home country. I felt in love in Estonia even more after this and in the next semester, I will not stop to dance here and to open new cities from tango-side.

So, what about to learn how to dance tango and to travel together in the next year?