Monday, 21 August 2017

Before and After: A Tango Milonga in the Midst of Sofia

Alternative Cultural Guide to Sofia*   
Every Sunday evening Sofia meets Buenos Aires in an old, light blue house in the Secession style. If you want to witness that meeting, walk along Hristo Belchev street and go underneath the “Before and after” sign.

You’ll know you’re on the right path once your feet touch the shiny hard wood floors of a spacious corridor and your eyes settle on the dozens of pictures along its walls, capturing the dancers that you’ll be watching this special evening. We are, of course, speaking of the tango.

One of the oldest milongas in Bulgaria’s capital is organised by Sofia Tango. In the dimmed lights of the club Before and After, a dance floor forms around the fountain that stands in the middle of the room. The Thonet chairs have been moved along the walls around the small tables with lit candles. The comfortable booths afford for more intimacy or a spontaneous artistic impulse, acted upon on the rough brown paper which here serves as a tablecloth. The greenish retro walls, the soft lighting coming from the matt glass on the ceiling, the wooden floor and the well-selected furniture all work together to create the specific atmosphere of the place.

The milonga is a special event for those who frequent it. It requires a good attitude and respect to the partner, because the tango is a social dance, interaction and language. It has its own etiquette – movement happens in a defined direction: an experienced male partner can invite a lady to dance with just a glance, and if she accepts the invitation, he is required to dance with her at least three times. Women can turn requests down, but men – if invited by a lady, have to accept. The couples on the dance floor almost always look as if they are the only ones – wrapped up in one another and possessed by the same passion.

You can also dance tango in:

Social Jazz Club, 4 Slaveykov Square: every first and third Monday of the month

Timeless Café, The Architects’ Home, 11 Krakra Street: every second Monday of the month

Faith Club, 50 Tsar Samuil Street, every Tuesday

Salsa Plus, 3 Aksakov Street: every Saturday

Places that offer tango lessons in Sofia:

Sofia Tango

TanguerIN studio


* This story is part of the Alternative Cultural Guide to Sofia. The guide was created by students from Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski. Initiated by associate professor Alexander Kiossev, it was supported by the Sofia University’s Academic Research Fund. The texts, published in Bulgarian by the student magazine Piron, were edited by Lyuboslava Ruseva, and translated into English by




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