Dance world is full of various dance stories, from people who dance only for fun to those who seriously train and compete, from dance teachers to choreographers, from festival organizers to dance school owners. Stories diversify depending on the style someone dances and whether they prefer dancing in pairs or dancing by themselves. The dance has so many different shades and every dancer carries his dance story, which is not reflected solely in their dance, but also in their everyday life. But in the end, all dance stories share one great love, love for dance.
In the 10th interview of Dancer's Life Stories, we will get to know the story of Tamara Di, who is the owner of Balerina Caffee & Fun and is also an enthusiastic dancer of Hip hop, Cuban salsa, Bachata and Kizomba.
Tamara, when did you start your dance story? When did the idea of a bar, where you could host dance socials, come to life?
Dance has been my love since I could remember. I have been connected with music since I was a kid, but I started to dance more seriously and took classes in dance schools, when I was at faculty. It was also the first time I visited Kazina dance school. Thank you Kazina for inspiring me to take my first dance steps. I continued my dance career in Pro dance. The dance style that I came to love was hip hop and it is still running through my veins, also the music of it. So, I have been dancing since I was about nineteen or twenty. You also asked me about Balerina?
Yes, but also in which direction did you dance evolve. You started at Kazina and then Pro Dance. Where did it grow from there?
I've been with Pro Dance for quite some time. After the birth of my daughter, who is now 8 years old, I joined the group of Hip hop moms. We were, if I'm not mistaken, European Champion in Amsterdam in the year 2014. Then I stopped competing, but I still continued to dance, because of the love for this dance and music. Then I don't know what happened. I wanted a change, and it happened in all areas of my life. I quit my job, I stopped hip hop and there were a bunch of other things.
In the meantime, I got a license for guided exercise and I was also teaching. I think I started to dance Cuban salsa in 2015, that is where we met as well. The girl, who was going to my dance classes, went to Cuban salsa as well and always invited me to come check it out. She told me, that there were some very good dance socials by Cubana Ljubljana on Thursdays in Kolosej. I got there and in that instant I knew, I wanted to learn that. I remember Oli was the first one to invite me to dance. Dance is just something in you,but you still have to learn the steps and so on. I started taking classes in Cubana, with Jan and Eva, and later with Robi and Kiki. That's all about Cubana.
How about your bar, Balerina?
That is the second part of my story, where the switch happened. One part of the switch was dance related and the other one was in business. My four biggest loves are coffee, dance, music and kids. So I was thinking how to combine them. At the time, I had nine months to think about it and my second child, Balerina, was born. Now I do everything in Balerina.
You also host dance socials at Balerina. How common are they, how do you choose the dance style and do you go to all of them?
I hold these dance socials in the warm months, sometimes from April or May, till September, every Tuesday. That's when we are outside on Balerina platform. In the winter we are inside and the socials happen every second Tuesday, as Dancefloor has their social every other Tuesday. In order not to overlap, Rok has one week and me the other one.
The decision about the genre I make purely by feeling. When I started Balerina, I worked with dance association Alma Eslovena. They had their socials at our place every Tuesday. They mixed, from salsa, a little bachata and reggaeton. Then, a year ago, I went to a festival in Pula. There I fell in love with bachata, it gave me butterflies. I took the first steps of bachata with Gregor from Alma. I just felt bachata and wanted to have it in Balerina. The story continued with Klavdija, who is an extraordinary dancer. In Pula we were talking about how there was no DJs for bachata. So we brainstormed what to do about it and how to start and decided to make an event. From there comes also Klavdija's name DJ Chica. Then we started with sensual socials with bachata.
The answer to your question about how I decide what will be the style of the socials in Balerina: I just follow my heart.
Do you attend all of the socials?
I do attend. At the beginning, I was there every Tuesday, but now not as much anymore. Balerina has so many projects, that I can't make it every Tuesday, but I try very hard to be there. However, I really want to spend more time visiting other dancefloors and events.
Probably you do not want to only dance at your place in Balerina, but also on other dance floors.
Yeah, because it's like having a party at home. If I am somewhere else, I am more relaxed.
You said you had salsa, bachata and reggaetón socials and also sensual socials. Did you notice any difference between them? In people, atmosphere, energy?
Definitely, Cubana is playful, energetic. It seems to me, that at cuban salsa, people mix up a lot more, they play and are more open than at sensual dances. I also judge this by myself, since I can dance cuban with anyone, but I can't do the same with sensual. Sensual dance socials seem more closed, not in a bad way, it is just different. There is more contact while dancing, trust must be created between the dancers, also they have to be open and relaxed for magic to happen on the dance floor.
To be continued…