Clara Koehler

My Berlin Tango Life immersion

n Berlin, We are due to meet Francesco in the gym at the Technical University of Berlin, where he gives tango lessons. When we arrive, he is packing his gym bag and greets us warmly. The Italian has been in Berlin since 2010 and first discovered tango ten years ago. «Come on, let’s go to Milonga Nou. I often dance there and DJ now and then». Sounds good, so we follow him.

Tango is Like a Language
We arrive and make ourselves comfortable with a cold beer. «What do you like about tango and what got you into it?», we want to know. «It was just by chance, really: I saw a flyer in my home town in Italy and went along to a dance lesson. I loved it from the very beginning. Dancing the tango is a lot of fun and it can be very physically demanding. For me, dance is an art form with its own language. What sort of dialogue you have really depends on who you are dancing with».

The way he describes dancing gives us half a mind to put on our dancing shoes, but we still have a few questions we want to ask him: «How would you describe the tango scene in Berlin?» Francesco answers: «You could easily call Berlin the tango capital, after Buenos Aires of course. I’m not talking about the quality of the dancing, rather the availability of tango classes. There are lots of teachers and Milongas here, so there’s a lot of choice.

«And of course the quality is good, but at the end of the day tango is also a matter of taste, so you can’t really compare different cities with each other».

We would never have thought that the scene would be so large, but so much the better.

Our beer bottles are empty and Francesco suggests a change of venue. We follow him to Ballhaus Berlin. To our surprise, the ballroom is in the same building. There’s a lovely retro bar with a witty addition: old fashioned telephones are at your disposal, which you can use to call people at the other tables. Very cool!

We order a last round of beer and thank Francesco for the wonderful insight into the tango scene.