Wednesday, February 11, 2015

‘’I’m a believer’’ - Interview Lucia and Deniz (article published in Gancho, October 2013)

Motto: “We teach best what we most need to learn.” (Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)

I’ve met Lucia and Deniz through a Facebook group called Tango accommodation exchange (thank you, Luciana, for the initiative!). They were coming to a tango event in Bucharest and looking for a place to stay, so they ended up sharing our apartment with me, my roommate and 3 cats. And, yes, they survived! : )

The first thing that came to my mind when I met them in person was ‘’My God, they are made for each other!’’. I was surprised (in a most pleasant way) to see such a compact, easy going, fun and beautiful couple. Now, you may think I’m buttering them up, but wait until you read their story and meet them for yourself.

We spent an entire weekend together and it felt like we’ve known each other a life time. I’ve listened to their amazing story, I loved it, it made me believe that fairy tales are still possible and I’m happy that they agreed to share some of it with all of us.

Here goes (I have to mention that Lucia and Deniz answered separately to these questions, therefore it’s a surprise they made each other):

Corina: What led you to tango? Why Tango?

Lucia: It is funny, because I really don’t know why tango! I wanted to dance, I missed dancing since I’ve had to finish dancing ballroom dancing because of my high-school. I wanted to dance something, anything, the only condition was – it should be a dance without a partner : ) I knew how hard these relationships could be, so I wanted to avoid it from the beginning. Finally I ended up in a tango class, please don’t ask me why! : )

Deniz: Tango music, without knowing anything about it - other than my father`s old Turkish tango LPs. I was listening to the music and I tried once to dance but it did not go well at that time (in Istanbul). Then 5 years passed and I started to dance in Bratislava, Slovakia. A few trials in few weeks till I found Lucia and then we started together. Tango was waiting for us.

C: How did you two meet?

L: In our first tango class. A friend helped to arrange our meeting, because we both were looking for a dance partner.

D:  In our first lesson on 2nd December day ; ) I was sitting in the only local milonga when a lady approached me asking why I am sitting. I said I don`t have a partner and I am a beginner (I was too shy to say I can`t dance yet). She was surprised and she said “I will find you a partner” and few weeks later she called me saying she has a beautiful partner for me. She found me Lucia ; )

C: What was your first ‘tango crush’ experience like?

L: I didn’t experience a tango crush. I’ve met Deniz in the first tango class of my life, and at that time it wasn’t a crush, because I didn’t know anything about the embrace back then. I think a tango crush can come only with a nice embrace. Besides, I am not allowed to talk about tango crushes anymore... : D

D: I can`t say I had a tango crush – with your terms in your last article. My crush in tango was different. I had just finished a long-term (10 years) relationship before I started tango and met Lucia. Tango was the white light at the end of the tunnel, after the crush in my private life. It fitted me a lot: Tango is including regrets, love, heartbreaks, being homeless and away, loneliness, hope, beginnings… Whatever I was feeling that time was in tango ; )

C: What was the most difficult tango-related decision you had to make?

L: Good question! Actually, there were no difficult decisions since I have tango in my life. Everything seems to go smoothly, as it should... Things evolve naturally. Maybe one thing: when we’ve decided to teach tango. It was a hard decision for me, not based on our enormous experience or perfect dancing, but on the fact, that we want to give to people „our” tango, the way we see and feel it. It is a kind of mission we feel we have to accomplish here and now.

D: I think the most difficult was/is to start teaching tango. We know we are not 100% ready to teach as we are in our learning curve but on the other hand, we also know that if we want to expand tango in Bratislava and have a nice community, we have to. Our friends encouraged us, people started to come and asked to teach and Christine Denniston was telling in her book “I started to teach not because I know everything but I know little bit more than others… Today all over the world there are people starting to teach because they know little bit more”. And we met our mentors Mariana and Dimitris who supported us a lot.
All encouraged us and we made this decision which was really hard and took almost 1 year to decide and be ready.

C: What is your happiest memory in your tango life so far?

L: That I found tango... somehow it came into my life, my world and changed it totally. I am happy just to have it! And also the moment we have discovered Tango Natural in Belgrade and then continued to meet wonderful people, including you! These all are happiest memories!

D: Happiest memory yet to come. But I think I was feeling very happy when I was in Belgrade Encuentro for the first time to see that tango is something much more than what I knew, more social, sharing, full of love and friendship. Let me be the romantic side of the couple: I am always the happiest guy when I embrace and dance with Lucia.

C: How do you manage the idea that your partner has such intense feeling in somebody else’s arms?

L: I also do J, so I wish the same for him. I think it is good. It’s strange, but I am not jealous, we even talk about the feelings we had in a milonga. Maybe later there will be a kind of emotion that I will be jealous of... If I thought of this kind of embraces in connection with my man in the past, I would be jealous for sure, but now I am not.

D: Once I heard it from Sebastian which is fitting the definition a lot. When you dance with a woman, you don`t dance with that woman only but also you dance with your love, wife, girlfriend, sister, mum. Simply she is all the women of your life, represented in that woman in your embraces. It is same for the other side. To know this and understanding it make you see tango different. So she is also dancing with me even if she is in somebody else`s arms. (fuhaaa, such a tricky question it was : D )

C: What does tango mean for you now?

L: My life!

D: Tango is life, life is tango. TangoVida : )

C: What’s the story of ‘Gancho’? How did you get the idea to make a magazine? Why the name ‘Gancho’?

L: It was Deniz’s idea, he is the initiator of such activities in our couple. I am the doubtful one, especially in the beginning. He is hot blooded : ) We decided to do something for our small community, to let it know more about tango. It was a very innocent start, we just wrote a few articles related to tango, collecting information basically on the internet. Later, we’ve started to add some personal experience from tango travels, interviews etc. Then, our dear friends gave it a real drive and we have our new web-based version, which we are really proud of.
Regarding the name, I hope Deniz will answer. I had doubts again, especially, because I am translating gancho into Slovak and my „hard times” started with the name... : )

D: After first Belgrade Encuentro, we started to feel that tango is all about sharing so we need to contribute this sharing as well. We can`t only take but we need to give. When we look around we saw that there are magazines on local levels but nothing in English international in gancho`s concept. We said let`s start with baby steps, let`s make a simple pdf e-magazine which people can read or print and put on their tables during milongas and people may enjoy it. It should be the only allowed gancho in a milonga : D Name of gancho represents this fact: hooking people to each other and hooking them to tango. So gancho is touching all parts of tango (fashion, dance, music, CDs, books, travel, people, DJing etc.) and hooking people together.

C: Where do you see ‘Gancho’ in another year?

L: We do not make further plans, we will continue to try to give our best and manage it time wise and make it interesting and attractive and, at the same time, instructive. And of course, we want to reach more people.

D: We started gancho in English and in Slovak (to be responsible to the community we are in). Thanks to our friends Andreea and Andrei to open our minds and carry the target- bar higher. We had a big step change on our e-magazine concept. We have switched to web format after 1 year, but still we keep our pdf format (may be little bit limited version) in a new template. We started to use more visual e-mail letters.
What is next? Target is to be globally local. So we will have local volunteer authors who will maintain local news, translations and events, in parallel global concept will continue. Now we are 5 people and we hope to be more. So next 12 months you may see the link ganchoRomania, ganchoSlovakia, ganchoTURK, ganchoITALY links on  So this is an open invitation for everyone who wants to join us ; )

C: What are your plans for the future?

L: Tango, tango and more tango. And to find a way, how to be able to travel more for tango : ). No seriously, my inner wish is to enlarge our community and to have a nice group of people who love tango, who will feel tango and dance it with their hearts, so that every milonga will be a pleasure and people abroad will like to come here to dance with our tangueros and tangueras and it will fill their embraces with love and the feeling, that life is worth it. I became more romantic after meeting Deniz...

D: We want that gancho will be the unofficial GLOBAL TANGO E-MAGAZINE for everyone where they think first gancho when it is said tango magazine and where they want to take place in one of the news ; ) We have a dream.

C: Any word of advice for tango dancers and your readers?

L:  Always do what you feel in your heart, be it dancing, working, loving, whatever. Follow your intuition, only then life makes real sense. And regarding tango: try to feel tango rather than learn some steps or sequences. When you manage to feel tango, it will create sequences of its own, you will be wondering...

D: I cannot give any advice. The biggest support and gift for us that they read gancho and give us feedbacks to improve it to a better level and help us to spread it by inviting their friends to subscribe us. Just print few copies every month to leave on your milonga tables so that people can read us more. Be a part of gancho-team, by writing, reading, spreading. Thank you for the interview.

When they told me their story I learned that true love is still likely to happen in our days (and listen to me: when you meet them, ask them to tell it! It’s worth it!). Then, as they were going on about their plans with Gancho and their plans with TangoVida – the school – I knew that the passion inside both of them is something I want to honor.  I learned that in life, as well as in tango, everything is better done passionately and in two : )

So, dear readers... what have you learned?...

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