Bal Tout Terrain (BTT) – 13th – 15th July 2018

Story | Review | Mathieu Pageaux | 26 May 2019 | 0 comments

If you don’t understand French, BTT means “All-terrain Ball” (I am not sure the translation is very useful but you can’t get it wrong now!). For the little story, the first edition of the BTT took place in the streets of Paris. It was an open air event and that’s explains the name. Dancing without caring where you will dance. Later, the BTT moved to the venue of the Roots tango festival “La parole errante” (this time, the translation is welcome but I let you google it) just one week before this other event. Th two events decided to share venue and floor for the best.

I discovered the BTT in 2017. I was in Paris for another tango event. A friend invited me there during the dinner break. I joined, forgot about the first event and stayed until the end of the BTT. The atmosphere was special. I had a crush. I decided to come back the next year. In 2017, I danced on a wooden floor and had a great time. In 2018, no floor was available because of the national day with all traditional ball. We danced on the free floor and that was still fine. I felt very glad of the experience as it was like going back to the roots of the event. So if I had only one sentence to describe the BTT, I could say -“With or without a floor, you will ask for more.”

Let’s begin with the non-dancing part of the event. It takes place outside in the garden. To describe it, the first comparison which comes to in my mind is a “school celebration at the end of the year” (as a good memory). You have stands with home made food and drinks, big tables to sit and share time with people, a tiny swimming pool for kids in the middle, a place to drop clothes you don’t use anymore, etc. Knowing that, I arrived on Saturday 2 hours before the start of the music. I bought some pie and salad, sit and ate with a German dancer that arrived also early. Like me, he just wanted to enjoy the sun, chat a little and feel this calm moment before the event. When people arrive slowly, you have time to cheer them without the pressure of the dance.

The BTT is not just tango. You can find other activities as theater, yoga, other expression art. The combination of this activity is an opening comparing to the monomaniac aspect of several events. There is more often folklore and yoga in events but tango stays as the main element. In the case of BTT, you can see it as 50/50. You can find also various tango clothes/shoes sellers.  If you are bored with Paris, you have other options to be busy and make shopping.

The BTT is not a classic milonga, nor a classic event. The whole place is set as simple as possible – floor, DJ in the middle, big stairs to sit and that’s all. You can find few strange decorations – I still try to understand what is the meaning of some object set there. What can I tell about the tango now ? I am sure you already heard a lot of stories about tango in Paris and the atmosphere in the milonga. I already guess which kind. Just forget everything you imagine. Organizers are giving a place where dancers can create their event. Everyone can find his place and have a nice moment. I liked this impression of freedom when I discovered it. I didn’t ask the organizers if it is what they try to create but I feel it like this.

I travel once per year in Paris. The BTT is the place where I can meet dancers from Paris that I like. They have different profiles. They don’t go in the same milongas in general but they gather to this place. Some are not regular and are just here by chance as a girl I didn’t see during 5 years and didn’t know how she arrived here. Others are following all the editions. The event is also a mix of dancers from Paris and travelers. I had always at least one good surprise with a foreigners.

Thanks to Petar Pavlov for the pictures of the edition 2018. You can find the whole album at the following link – He has a lot of nice albums on other events, don’t hesitate to visit it. Remember that you will have a group picture from the front and one picture from the back because the organizers are shy and can’t kiss when people are looking at them.


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Published: 26 May 2019 @ 10:57


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