Abrazo Tango! Cleveland Tango School hosts 10th annual Tango Bowling Marathon at Mahall's 20 Lanes

Put on your dancing shoes, or maybe your bowling shoes. This weekend will mark the 10th installment of Cleveland Tango School’s annual Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon.

For almost decade now, those who love tango, live music, and friendship have gathered at Mahall’s 20 Lanes for a weekend-long, nonstop dance, pool, bowling, and drinking party.

Tango Bowling Marathon at Mahall's“It’s just going to be a party,” says Alberto Ramos Cordero, who organizes the event and runs Cleveland Tango School with his business and tango partner, Micaela Colleen Barrett. “It’s all [tango] levels of people enjoying the community they’re in and having wholesome fun. And then everyone’s going to get drunk, but it will be wholesome.”

After cancelling the marathon last year because of the pandemic, Cordero says this year’s event sold out in 48-hours. He and Barrett are expecting about 120 people for the weekend package, which includes a Friday meet-and-greet at Mahall’s bar, followed by milonga (tango party) until 3 a.m. with DJ Ciko.

“It’s an impressive experience,” says Cordero of the marathon. “It’s 120-plus really good tango dancers dancing on the floor, just for the love of it, at Mahall’s. And the bowling lanes are open.”

Saturday kicks off with a potluck brunch in Mahall’s restaurant with a “Hangover practica” from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. to dance off Friday’s fun. The bowling league, made up of groups from various parts of the country, meets up a 4 p.m. before DJ Micaela starts the tango night off at 9 p.m. The party still rages on Sunday, with tango and DJ Kim Scola from 2 p.m. to 6 pm., followed by an afternoon pool party across the street. Then DJ Steven Thull brings the milonga until 2 a.m.

Photo: Steven Thull“This is going well into the following days, for sure,” says Cordero of the nonstop dancing and fun. “Every one of these events will be a party through to the subsequent day, I’ll tell you that much.”

Cordero says he and Barrett will launch their tango and education tour shortly after the marathon. “God willing, I’ll be able to sleep for a good 48 hours after [the marathon],” he laughs.

The organizers are requiring proof of vaccination at the door, especially because of the close contact involved in the tango. “Ethically and morally, it’s the best we can do,” he says. “But having physical contact with other humans—hugging and having that human connection in a safe space, we really need it. And I’m going to try to provide it.”

When they are not organizing tango bowling marathons, Cordero and Barrett are touring or teaching classes for all tango levels. Beginning tango classes are held at Diva Dance Studio in Asian Town Center, 1541 E. 38th St.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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