Zuzana Smékalová is a tanguera and tango DJ from Bratislava, Slovakia who played in a Slovak movie. We have had a chat with her regarding her experience in this movie. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as we do.
Hello Zuzana, you had a role in a Slovak documentary “Waiting room” (Čakáreň). Can you tell us something about the movie?
It is not purely a documentary, but a kind of artistic documentary. It consists of stories of 7 different women, every one of them of a different age (from youngest to oldest) and in different life situation. Stories are connected by the theme of waiting and also with a train station and its waiting room.
In the movie, your daily life at home and in the work was combined with your tango life. What are/were you “waiting” for?
Stories in the movie are very different, and not always happy. In “my” part of film they depict my daily office life and “second life” as a tango dancer and DJ. These are connected by the music – I listen to tango music a lot. And my type of “waiting” was something that all of us tango dancers know – waiting for great dance, a perfect tanda. That’s what makes us happy.
And which one of the other characters in the documentary do you feel close to? Why? What are the commonalities?
There is one similar story to mine in the movie – a photographer, living her daily life as waitress, and doing artistic photography in her spare time. I saw a real passion in that girl, doing things she loves, and that was so close to me.
It is very interesting that a local director is interested in tango life. How did the idea of such a documentary come?
One of director’s friends is a tango dancer. I suppose they were talking about tango in the past and he gave him the basic idea about tango, the passion that tango dancers are driven by and also the etiquette of behaving at milonga and finding a dance partners. When he approached me he did not have a clear idea of what my story will be about, he just wanted to have a dancer as one of his characters.
I know that this documentary triggered the director to do another documentary related only to “tango people”. It is great that a non-tango person/director shows so much interest in tango and even wants to make an artistic production out of it. What do you think?
During the preparation of “Waiting room” I talked a lot with the director about tango, about the community, about our lives of “tango addicts” going to milongas after work and travelling frequently to tango marathons around Europe (or even farther). But we also talked about my civil life, what I do in my life except from tango. During the making of the documentary he visited a few milongas, met other people from Bratislava community, and was fascinated about the fact, how different people, having different background, work and social life, meet after work just to share the same passion and come to dance.
What will be the topic of the new movie?
It will be about the Slovak tango community, about different people, how they live their lives and in what way tango belongs to their lives and how it influences them. These people live completely different lives, have different jobs, hobbies, talents, capacities, but they all have something in common: that is tango and the meeting place, milonga.
Coming back to “Waiting room”, is it possible for non-Slovak people to have a chance to see the movie? If yes, how?
I have contacted the producer to find out if it was possible to have it online. If yes, we will post it. (We will inform you, if possible to have it online in the upcoming issues). In the meantime you can have a look at our flashmob. It was shot and cut by the director’s team at the Bratislava train station. Part of it was also used for the film, but the director made a special cut for the purposes of the flashmob. Dancers are from our tango community (+ some help from Budapest). Thanks to everybody for their attendance and patience!
Finally what are your plans for your tango and life? What is waiting for you? What do you wait for in/expect from tango?
I want to keep travelling for tango, not only as a dancer but also as a DJ; hopefully invitations will keep coming also in future. I want to invest more into classes to improve, and also in new tango music. With my friends we have recently started a new milonga in Bratislava, I hope it will have a successful continuation. However, the future is still mystery – I will wait to be surprised what life brings. But what I can say is that I’m waiting for great tandas 🙂
Any last words?
Bratislava is small but promising. Come and visit us during the festival in October!
Thank you for your time.
photo credit: Martin Vitek