“Are you sure?” She looked confused.
“Yes, I am sure. I can’t come to the milonga tonight. I will be at the marathon.” She looked at me from top to bottom, and stopped at… my belly. For a split second I thought I had something there, a stain maybe. I looked down. Nothing there.
“It’s just that… You don’t seem to be a… sporty guy.” I couldn’t stop laughing for at least a minute.
“Not a running marathon, my dear. A tango marathon. I am flying in a few hours. And thank you for the honesty.”
What’s a tango marathon?
“What’s a tango marathon?”, she asked, “And you are welcome, laughing burns calories, it will help you with the belly.”
“Hey! This belly is highly appreciated in the milongas. It’s called a tango belly, and it is the sign of an experienced tanguero. Do you know how many times I had to force feed myself at 5am after a milonga to develop this comfortable fluffy embrace?” She didn’t look convinced. Point taken.
“Have you ever felt that a milonga is just too short for you to feel fulfilled?” I asked.
“Me too. That’s where tango marathons come into play. You get to dance for three or four days. Sometimes more than 12 hours per day, if you choose to do so. One DJ follows the next one, essentially creating four or more back-to-back milongas. People come from all around the world, dance, dance, dance, and then go back home.”
What’s so special about these tango events?
“Can I join you?” she asked.
“Probably not. This, like most tango marathons, was fully booked months in advance. The experience is usually so unique that people don’t want to miss out and book their spots the moment registrations are open, but…” I paused, “let me send a message to the organizer.”
I clicked on the Tango Partner’s app icon on my mobile, and contacted her.
“Let’s see. Getting a ticket now is not so easy. There are many reasons for that. Often the organizers guarantee role balance, meaning there will be as many leaders as there are followers. This allows everyone to dance more. Also, most dancers that join marathons are dancing for at least four or five years. This means that you are almost guaranteed at least a few great dances, so everyone wants to go.”
“But there is something else that makes marathons such great tango events. When you spend four full days sharing wonderful moments with people who have the same passion as you, you get to connect, laugh, make new friends.
You get to go out with them, exploring a new city, eat together, and complain about sore feet, moments before you put on your tango shoes and start dancing again.”
“It seems there is a spot due to a last minute cancellation,” I said looking at the mobile. “Should I book it? We’ll have to get ready and be at the airport in less than 2 hours.”
Download the free TangoPartner App now to discover tango marathons and other tango events, and connect with the local tango community.
Preparing for tango
“Tickets for the event, check. Airplane tickets, check. AirBnB, waiting for confirmation, but worst case scenario, you’ll crash at my couch. I would give you the bed, but my tango belly doesn’t fit on the couch,” I laughed.
“Let’s get you all set up. We have less than 15 minutes.”
“What do I need?”
“Tango shoes. Take two pairs just in case one breaks.”
She looked at me in disbelief.
“Do you want to find yourself in a tango marathon seated? Clothes.”
“Just consider each day as three milongas. You might sweat, your partners might sweat. You’ll want to feel fresh.”
“Got it, bring me my luggage, it’s at the top shelf,” she said while slamming open the wardrobe.
“Talking about luggage, you’ll need a small backpack or a bag to easily carry the shoes around and a change of clothes. Do you have a small towel you can bring with you?”
“Yeap, what else?”
“Mints, deodorant, fan, handkerchiefs, etc?”
“Good marathons usually have mints and deodorant in the bathroom, but better safe than sorry.”
“A cream for sore feet.”
“Now, that’s the kind of problems I love.” she smiled.
Arriving at the event
“Try to figure out who of the people walking by are going to the event,” I said as we were approaching the entrance of the marathon’s building.
That moment two guys started running toward two women that were approaching from the opposite direction. They looked like children, hugging and jumping up and down.
“Not so difficult, is it? Meeting friends, knowing that beautiful moments are coming, embraces, laughter. You don’t even need to be in the marathon, you are already feeling better days earlier.”
“Here are your marathon bracelets with access to all the milongas,” said the receptionist. “And here are the tickets for lunch and dinner. I see you selected the vegan option,” she said giving me the green ticket.
“How can you maintain a belly while eating carrots is beyond me,” my friend said. I looked at the receptionist as he was trying to stay serious.
“I told you,” I said while putting my bracelet on, “it’s a carefully crafted tango belly, that took yeeeaarrss of constant… ” I looked behind me, she was no longer there.
Let’s get ready to dance
We entered the room and saw my friend unsuccessfully looking for a place to sit. All seats were taken.
“Just leave your stuff on my chair,” a woman who was putting her shoes on next to us said. “I am not planning to sit much either way.” I gave a wink to my friend, and we both thanked her.
“Come with me,” I said while going up some stairs. “From here you can see the complete dance floor.”
“I like to take a moment to notice dancers whose dance I like. I also check from which part of the stage they leave when the tanda is over, and where their tables are. On some occasions you might even notice some people you do not want to dance with.” We observed for a few minutes.
“The tanda is starting. I want to dance. Let’s go.”
“Wait a second. This is the perfect time to identify problematic areas on the dance floor. See, at that corner, you have way too many people entering at once. This forces you to wait for half a song till you can enter with your partner. Compare this to the other corner. It’s flowing, doesn’t it? It’s easier to enter from there.”
I turned triumphantly, feeling wise and experienced. She wasn’t there.
Time to dance.
Tango Marathons that we love
If you would love to dance at tango marathons, take a look below. We create a small list of marathons that we think you might love.
Entre Nos Tango Marathon – 16-18 July 2021, Moscow, Russia
A cozy, colorful, hot, and long awaited event in Moscow’s city center, organized by the Kaleidoscope team!
Prague Tango Marathon, 10th edition, 11-13 February 2022, Prague, Czech Republic
DJ’s, folklore, food, drinks, laughs, deep thoughts and even more food included. Let’s experience the unbereable lightness of dancing in the midst of too loud a solitude.
2nd Cappadocia Tango Marathon 4-6 June 2021 Cappadocia Turkey
Tango, spa, and an incredible location.
Porto tango marathon 13-17 January 2022, Porto, Portugal
50 hours of tango music, two live bands, a 200 square meter dance floor, and the world’s best wine (according to the Poruguese).
Tango Marathon Entre Arcos 27-29 August 2021, Moravice, Czechia
Tango, a castle, a swimming pool, summertime fun, and nature. What a way to say goodbye to the summer.
Gothenburg Tango Marathon 27 – 29 August 2021, Gothenburg, Sweden
Reviving the original format of the early tango marathons, the DJ’s (including our very own Daniela Felicke-Wolff) will play their sets of uninterrupted tandas (no cortinas). The milongas will take place inside in Frimurarsalongerna, an early 19th century jewel, right in the very heart of Gothenburg.