Documentary, Tango with open roles

Informal Tango Interviews #60, Ludo & Julija/Totally in Tango

Video (1:13:26): Tango DJ and podcaster Lucas Antonisse persents a really original interview with Ludo & Julija of Totally in Tango, as this couple is truly contributing to the emancipation and normalization of double-role dancing in Europe and beyond.

Lucas Antonisse (alias DonAgucho) writes in the show notes: Ludo and Julija are the organizers of a year-round network of double role events all over the continent, that involve local communities as well as like-minded dancers from many different countries. The whole scale of this undertaking is rather impressive, and with this interview, you’ll be able to take a peek behind the scenes of this interesting formula.

Over the last ten years or so, we’ve seen a trend of double role dancing moving beyond the confines of Queer Tango and becoming more and more common among the wider tango public. This is especially true for women, many of whom are learning to lead for various reasons, but we can also see a momentum of (some) non-queer identifying men picking up the other role. However, there are still many obstacles to not doing things the conventional way, and that is, in part, why Ludo & Julija started organizing their first event in 2016, which has evolved into a whole family of similar events ever since.

Totally in Tango offers a platform for both simply having fun dancing whatever role you like and when, as well as for learning and practicing, with lessons by invited maestros. Some events are meant for social dancing, others are more based around classes. Sometimes it has the classic tango event format of a weekend, other times it lasts up to a week. And even if the focus is mostly on social dancing, the organizers make sure there is enough space on the floor, so that beginners (meaning, beginners in the other role) of both sexes have enough space to dance comfortably and not disturb others. All in all, Totally in Tango is difficult to compare with conventional events like marathons and encuentros, because the format differs a bit from one edition to the other.

As you’ll learn from this conversation, Totally in Tango is like a community, a family that keeps growing organically, full of dancers that motivate each other to be serious about learning the other role. It’s not always easy to swim against the metaphorical current in tango, but usually, after people come back home, they really invest the time and effort in practicing, and when they attend another edition of TiT, their friends can see how far they have come. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and as you’ll find out in the interview, the amount of work the organizers put into their brand is incredible.