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Tango in Istanbul

Updated: 13. 1.2013

It might surprise you - but Istanbul has a very good, lively tango scene and it's one of the reasons I love going there.

During my frequent trips I visited many milongas, alone or with a friend. And I danced a lot! Turkish dancers also ask ladies to dance if they don't know them and many of them speak some English, French or even German.

There is at least one milonga every night (it can be a bit slower in the Summer months). You can find a lot of information about this in the Internet. Most of them go on until 1 AM during the week and longer on the weekend.

There are also several tango festivals through the year. A friend of mine told me that there were a lot more women than men during a festival, so ladies should bring their partner along.

Milongas

Here are some milongas that I have been to myself - if you want to know about more others you can go to www.milongaistanbul.com

TangoJean is a place where you can dance tango every night. During the winter they even have a live orchestra on some nights, a very nice experience. It's also a good starting point to meet other people and ask them for recommendations.

The place is very easy to find, if you descend the Imam Adnan Sokak (coming from Istiklal Caddesi) you will walk directly towards it (see picture).

There is a popular milonga on Monday by Tangotürk at the Armada Hotel in Sultanahmet. I also like the newer one called El Huracan by Tangonoa at Café Krepen right on Istiklal Caddesi (Halep passage).

On Tuesday at the "My House" in Siraselviler Caddesi No. 35/4 you will find a very nice milonga by Tangoist on the back side of the restaurant with a great view over Istanbul at night.

The "333 Milonga" takes place every Wednesday and Saturdayon Siraselviler Caddesi No. 33 on the 3rd floor, organized by Istanbultango.

The place to be on Thursday is "TangoPoint" by Milongatörat the Hotel Point, Topcu Caddesi No. 2. See picture

One of the several milongas on Friday is a bit further out, by the metro station 4. Levent, organized by Tangotürk.
Levent Tenis Klubu, Akasyali sok, No:3 (walk or take a taxi from the station). Dance with a view on tennis courts :-)

There are several milongas on Saturday, for example:

BailaTango, right on Istiklal Caddesi, on the top florr of the building where MAC Cosmetics has a store. Through the week it's Metin Yasir's dance school.

Club la Cumparsita, Ortaklar Cad. 40, metro station Sisli, Mecidiyeköy

One of my favourite milongas is the one on Sunday at the Ponte restaurant on Istiklal Caddesi. Take the elevator to the 7th floor for another milonga with a view.

As you can see most of the milongas are situated in the Taksim / Istiklal Caddesi area. A good reason to take a hotel here - so you can simply walk there and back home. Suggestions for hotels are here.

List with other milongas
Int. Istanbul Tango Festival
For more, just ask your friend Google :-)

Shoes

Of course there are also shoes made in Istanbul: Turquoise Shoes for example. They sell high quality shoes in great designs. Recently there is also a range of men's shoes.

It's quite easy to find the store: Coming from Takism square, walk down Siraseliviler caddesi. Der shop is opposite of the Italian hospital, on the left side of the street.

As you can see, there is also the possibility to test-dance the shoes! English is spoken.

Turquoise

Want something more personal and for a good price? Go and see Istanbul's most famous tango shoe maker, Necmi Usta. He speaks ONLY Turkish, but some pantomime, drawings and a calculator will help. Often there are also other customers around who can help to translate.

Shoes cost around 120 YTL for standard models up to 240 YTL for special designs.

I had many shoes made there, some with materials that I brought or after my own drawings.

His workshop is close to Istiklal Caddesi as well. At Benetton go down the Mis Sokak, the entrance will be to your left.
Mis Sok., Mis Gurkan Han No. 7, 5. Stock

 

Best let your reception call him first to make sure that he is there. Official opening hours are 8:00 - 20:00.
Tel. 0533 446 64 25
necmiusta.azbuz.com
Watch him at work on Youtube.

If you don't have much time, Necmi can mail the shoes to you. This always worked well for me, sometimes it can take a while though.

 

 

Some of my shoes by Necmi Usta. I will soon get a gold member card :-)

I designed the black and white shoes myself and also brought the fabric.
The white shoes are a standard model.

Right next to this you will find Umay Kundura. He has many ready made shoes in his shop but also does custom orders. He speaks French and some English and is used to shipping shoes abroad as well. Prompt service and good quality.

Mis Sokak No: 13-A
Tel. 249 96 05 / 0535 457 47 06
umaykundura.blogspot.com

If you prefer to buy tango shoes off the rack, you can visit www.buenestilo.com