Argentinean tango in Iceland Skip to content

Argentinean tango in Iceland

Dance enthusiast María Ásmundsdóttir Shanko is organizing a series of events and lessons in Iceland this month related to Argentinean tango – including a special performance on August 18 – aimed at strengthening the local dance culture.

By Anna Andersen.

On August 18, Moneir Bardai, an actor, singer and tango performer from the Netherlands, will stage a 30 minute long performance, with a touch of comedy, singing, and dancing about the early years of tango in Argentina.

Shanko became interested in tango at 17 after she and three friends saw an advertisement for lessons. “We found four boys from school that we hardly knew, and

we were ready,” Shanko told

Years later, when Shanko started to assist in lessons at Café Cultura in Reykjavík, she noticed that the majority of the young and single participants would leave right after the open class and not take part in the milonga (tango dance night) where there were mainly married couples over 40 who would only dance with each other.

Now that Shanko gives her own lessons, she tries to attract a wider segment of people – including the young and single. To broaden the dance culture, Shanko teaches both conventional tango and more unconventional forms of the dance.

Along with guest teacher Per Berséus from Sweden, Shanko hosts “queer tango” every Thursday night at Q-Bar, downtown Reykjavík, where she encourages both men and women to learn how to lead and follow.

Berséus is an accomplished tango dancer who currently teaches at Tangokompaniet in Lund, Sweden. Originally a student of salsa, Berséus has been increasingly drawn to tango over the last few years.

“Tango has more dimensions,” Berséus told “It allows you to express many feelings. If you are happy, you can dance a happy tango, or if you are sad, you can dance a sad tango. It allows you to express your personality within a certain context.”

Shanko’s tango lessons have typically attracted Icelanders, foreign students, and even tourists. Therefore, all events are taught in both Icelandic and English.

For more information visit

Click here for a sneak preview of Bardai’s tango performance.

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