Millions of Strictly fans will no doubt remember some spectacular Argentine tango routines over the years and probably wished they could throw a few shapes themselves.

But while the will may be there so are perceived obstacles which, sadly, are often enough to deter many a would-be dancer from ever making it onto the floor.

For some, it’s the lack of a willing partner; for others it’s the fear of having two left feet.

Ali goes through the paces with one of his students at
Taş Mekân. Picture by Steve Parsley

Sheer joy

But, whatever the concern, the reality is that, in most cases, they can be overcome. And – just like the Strictly stars – those who succeed find it hard not to evangelise about the sheer joy they’ve discovered.

Ali Kemal Özkan’s Argentine tango lessons at Fethiye’s Taş Mekân are a case in point.

If you haven’t tried any formal dance training before, no one could blame you for feeling a little apprehensive walking through the door for the first time.

However, the relaxed and homely venue helps counter the nerves, as does the warm welcome – not just from Ali but from his students.

There’s a drink available at the bar for those who may feel they need a little Dutch courage but for most, the distraction will be watching dancers going through their paces before the formal class begins.

Again, some will find themselves measuring their talent – or apparent lack of it – against members of the class with months or even years of experience under their belts.

No experience necessary

But, as Ali insists, no prior experience is needed for his classes; just a willingness to learn.

“From the outside, Argentine tango can look complicated but, if you learn the right way, it can feel easy and give a great deal of pleasure,” he said.

“As for a partner, we have both students who come with one and those without. Either is fine, although dancing with a partner you can practice with is better in the long run.

“You don’t need to dress up for class either; people come in clothes which make them comfortable. However, if you are going to become a regular dancer, it might be a good idea to spend some money on some dance shoes.”

Tango lessons at Taş Mekân. Picture by Steve Parsley

Lessons begin with basic steps, each student observed by Ali and then given tips on technique before being left to practice some more. Over time, the steps then develop into the component parts of an interchangeable routine.

An hour’s class at Taş Mekân costs 30tl per person. Beginners classes are held from 7.30pm on Tuesdays and students are both local and from overseas. Instruction is offered in both Turkish and English.

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