Maja has been dancing since she was three years old. She has a background in contemporary dance and ballet, as well as latin and ballroom dances. She attended music school for ten years, where she played the piano and flute. She studied Spanish and German language and literature at the University of Zagreb and worked as language teacher and translator. In Karlsruhe, she worked in different departments of the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM). Marko was more into sports and almost went pro in basketball. Instead, he decided to study Electrotechnics and later Physics in which he obtained a degree at the University of Zagreb. He later continued his education and in 2014 received his PhD in Nanobiotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). From 2010 until 2018 we have lived in Karlsruhe, Germany. We curently live in Zagreb, Croatia.
We started dancing tango in Zagreb, Croatia in 2002 in a small group of enthusiasts curious about this “new” dance. Some five years later we began giving regular lessons at the Tango Argentino Zagreb dance school. Our first and most influential teachers were Pablo Rodríguez and Noelia Hurtado. Later we continued to study with Noelia and Carlitos Espinoza. We also studied with Federico Naveira and Inés Muzzoppapa, Bruno Tombari and Mariangeles Caamaño and Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepúlveda, among others.
Since 2014 we are working with tango professionally, holding workshops and performing all over Europe (Amsterdam, Minsk, Florence, Karlsruhe, Genova, Budapest, L´Aquila, Freiburg, Treviso, Poreč, Mantova, Halle, Sevilla, Lisbon, Procida, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Reykjavik etc.). In 2018 we have started to work in North America, Asia and Australia.
While our performances are always improvised, our lessons are most certainly not. Each lesson has a defined structure which allows us to guide the students step by step through the topic. We always start with the technical execution of the movement, explain the role of leader and follower and finish with the tips on musicality. In this way the dancers of all levels should be able to take a certain part of the lesson with them and are encouraged to continue to work on their own. We make an effort to approach each student and couple individually, as there is no magic formula that fits everyone. Having and transmitting a clear idea is extremely important to us. Everything we teach we have tried out ourselves. We’ve made the mistakes that our students will make, we’ve encountered the same problems, we’ve asked the same questions and worked on them until we were happy with the answers.
We rarely teach figures. We prefer to focus on the basic technical (walking, stepping, pivoting, keeping posture, finding balance, embracing, quality of movement, etc.) and musical (phrasing, change of dynamics, interpreting different orchestras, etc.) elements. We always come back to the basics ourselves. Our philosophy is based on 3 ideas: feeling good, looking good and connecting with our partner to the music. One of the things we like the most about tango is the close embrace. We see it as a living, changing thing that enables us to transmit the movement that interprets the music. We like to play with the possibilities and limits of close embrace and encourage our students to do the same!
Even though we think of ourselves primarily as social dancers, and social tango is also what we teach, we believe the aesthetics is an important part of the dance and should not be neglected. Once we feel comfortable with the movement in the body, we can focus on the beauty of its external shape. Furthermore, changing the quality and character of the movement can bring great diversity in our dance, even in the simplest steps. This again enables us to interpret many different orchestras without reaching for complicated figures. Everything we do must harmoniously work both with our partner and the music.
Finally, the foundation of our dance and teaching is this: we see ourselves as equals in the couple and we both contribute to the dance equally. This idea is based on the communication that goes both ways – whether we are doing a complicated sequence of steps, a pause or an embellishment. By suggesting, understanding and sharing a movement inspired by the music we are both actively and willingly participating in the dance. We want our students to do the same: to go past leading and following and start dancing.
02. – 04.06. Manchester, UK (link)