An Insiders Look at Where to go Tango Dancing in Buenos Aires

Whether you’ve already caught a tango show or not, since you’re in its hometown Buenos Aires, you might be feeling inspired to pick up a bit of the fancy footwork yourself. Whether you’re mal coordinated with two left feet, or you’re a natural on the dance floor, Buenos Aires has plenty of places where you can easily give the dance a go.

While stepping into a milonga  (tango ballroom) could feel intimidating, tango culture in Buenos Aires is actually incredibly friendly and open – beginners needn’t worry.

If you’re looking for a dance partner there’s no shortage of willing accomplices (particularly for women) and one on one classes are readily available at affordable prices.

For those who haven’t yet adjusted to the Argentine clock (it’s nocturnal) be prepared to hang on a little – classes are late in the evening and if you’re looking to see the pros, the action doesn’t tend to get going in milongas until well after midnight.

La Catedral

 

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A bohemian take on the traditional milonga, La Catedral is based in a disused dairy factory. The outside is fairly non-descript – you could easily walk by none the wiser of what’s going on inside. Its walls are adorned with locally created art and draped with red fairy lights. Full of tango dancers of all levels, it attracts a particularly international crowd – perfect for those making their first foray into the dance. If you’re looking to learn the basics head to one of their group classes, on from around 8 PM, (be prepared to wait a little as the place isn’t really known for punctuality). Later on performances and live music kick off from around midnight, leading on into the early hours. The kitchen is also known to be excellent with a vegetarian menu – not so common in this carnivorous capital.

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Queer Tango

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For those who hate the idea of following a stiff gender code, head to San Telmo’s Buenos Ayres Club on a Tuesday night for a LGBTQ milonga night. Turning tango on its head, and shaking up gender roles in this typically male-led dance, the night brings in dancers of all levels who aren’t afraid to challenge tradition and want to leave dated gender roles at the door. A great way to take an alternative look at the changing local scene.

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Bar Los Laureles

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One of the city’s historical bares notables, entering Bar Los Laureles is like taking a trip back in time to the 19th century. Located in Buenos Aires’ southerly Barracas neighbourhood, it’s a little out the way for most of the city, but worth the trip to see a true remaining part of Argentine heritage. Throughout the week it’s a neighbourhood watering hole but come the weekend, it transforms itself into a lively milonga.

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La Viruta

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If you’re not keen on rubbing shoulders with pro dancers and just want to give learning the basics a go, La Viruta, based in the Armenian Cultural Centre is a good place to start. You’ll find a whole mixture of tourists and locals who come here to learn – throw your fears to the side and prepare to dance. Lessons tend to take place a little earlier here, from around 6:30 PM, later on, be prepared to sit back and let those in the know take over the floor.

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Salón Canning

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An iconic Palermo haunt, Salón Canning is well known on the professional tango circuit. Dance lessons are available earlier on in the evening but by midnight the place will be packed out with the city’s finest tango dancers swirling across the venue’s polished wooden floors. If your moves don’t quite cut it, there’s always space for spectators who are welcome to sip at a drink and soak up the atmosphere.

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Things to Do in Buenos Aires in August 2018

Independent Tango Festival FACAFF (3 – 31st) will be taking over the legendary Almagro milonga, CAFF (Sanchez de Bustamante 772). With 60 tango artists, both musicians and dancers, taking part in the 21 day festival, it’s unmissable for both seasoned tango fans and total newbies alike. Day tickets are priced at AR $100, making it an absolute steal to see some world class tango. The full program can be viewed here.

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PH: Mi Buenos Aires Querido

Centro Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551)  is well known for its high profile selection of jazz artists who come to perform every Tuesday. This August is no different, with performances by Argentine composer and double bassist Jorge Lopez Ruiz Cuarteto (August 14th)  as well as singer Ludmila Fernández (August 14th), a full program of talented jazz artists are expected to take to the stage. Even better, entrance is free! See the full schedule here.

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PH: Perfil

Art

El Mundo Entero es un Bauhaus is the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo’s latest exhibition exploring the short life (14 years) of the controversial and avant-garde art school as well as the lasting impact the foundation has had on worldwide design. Consisting of photographs, documents and some of the objects themselves it’s not one to miss. Set in one of Buenos Aires’ most beautiful and historic museums, the interior alone warrants a visit. Entrance is free.

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PH: barter-paris

Malba is currently showing a monumental retrospective detailing the works of legendary north American artists Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. Famed for their controversial use of appropriation, whichever side of the debate you side with, their work is considered to be pillars of North American modern art and should be seen in the flesh. Entrance is AR $140.

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PH: Vuenoz

The exciting reopening of a brand new MAMBA museum (Av. San Juan350), is marked by a new exhibition examining the links between U.S, European art, and Latin American art between the years of 1955 and 1986. With much of the collection on loan from the MMK museum in Frankfurt, it’s a chance to see how each region’s art world has at times run in parallel or merged with one another. Entrance is AR $30. 

 

 

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PH: Indie Hoy

Also be sure to check out Cava Uco, our new wine tasting space and shop next door to Fierro Hotel. Hotel guests receive one complimentary wine tasting!

El origen de las empanadas

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PH: Philip Fibiger

En Argentina solemos decir que las empanadas son uno de nuestros platos típicos. Esto es cierto, hasta un punto, dependiendo de lo que se considere “típico”. En Sudamérica no siempre es fácil definir este término debido a las fuertes influencias europeas sobre la cultura. En Argentina, los patrones de migración que surgieron después de la colonización fueron particularmente particulares, y por ende, las influencias también. Como resultado tenemos pizza, pasta y helados “típicos” cuando son comidas que generalmente se consideran típicamente italianas. De hecho, es de Italia que recibimos esa influencia. No obstante, también es cierto que cada lugar toma lo que recibe y luego lo modifica y hace propio.

A la hora de buscar el origen de las famosas, y deliciosas, empanadas, podemos trazar un primer punto de partida en España. Pero, tampoco podríamos detenernos ahí porque es muy probable que España las haya incorporado de la cultura árabe cuyos deliciosos fatays,  sfijas y kibbes se parecen mucho a las empanadas. Antes incluso, los griegos ya habían importado de Constantinopla un plato similar pero hecho con masa filo llamado bougatsa. Y en Mesopotamia, parece que ya hacían una delicia del estilo cientos de años antes de Cristo incluso.  En Sudamérica, antes de la colonización, las culturas prehispánicas ya preparaban tamales y humitas, que siguen una lógica similar a la empanada si se piensa en la idea de relleno envuelto. De hecho, una de las empanadas que se hace en Argentina es la empanada de humita, con un relleno a base de salsa blanca y de maíz, ingrediente fundamental en la alimentación prehispánica.

Hay muchas más culturas que tienen su variante de la empanada. Independientemente del origen que podamos trazar, probar las variantes típicas argentinas, ya sean fritas o al horno, es un gusto que recomendamos darse en cualquiera de estos lugares.

Y, para quienes quieran pasar por UCO Restaurant para tomar un trago y picar algo a la tardecita, también ofrecemos nuestra propia variante de empanada rellena de mozarella, albahaca, tomates secos y salsa pesto para acompañar.

The Origin of Empanadas

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PH: Antonio García

In Argentina, we love to say that empanadas are one of our typical dishes. This is true, but to a point, it all depends on what you mean by “typical”. Of course, “typical” in South America is sometimes difficult to define because of the strong European influence. Migration patterns after colonization were particularly particular in Argentina, so it is even more notorious here and so we have “typical” pizza, pasta, and ice-cream too, when probably you would be thinking wait, aren’t all those foods typically Italian? Yes (relatively), in fact originally that’s where we got them from, however, then each place appropriates the influx and makes it into something of its own.

When trying to trace back the origins of the famous (and delicious) empanadas, first influx in Argentina of this juicy morsel would be Spanish.  Tracing back, the Spanish might have gotten it from Arab cultures which make similar mouth-watering fatays and sfijas and kibbes. Apparently the Greeks had already imported an empanada type phyllo-dough dish called bougatsa from Constantinople as well, and in Mesopotamia, meat pies were supposed to have already been popular several hundred of years BC. In terms of prehispanic South American cultures, humitas and tamales follow a similar logic to the empanada, if one thinks of them in terms of folding and stuffing. In fact, one of the typical empanada versions we have is called humita and stuffed with corn (a prehispanic staple) and bechamel sauce. There are many more cultures with their own version of the empanada. Regardless of their origin, if you are in Argentina, make sure to try the “typical” variants, oven-baked or fried, that are common here because they certainly are delicious.

Our top 5 spots for empanadas in Buenos Aires? Find our picks here.

And, if you happen to want an evening appetizer at UCO restaurant, make sure to try our own version of tapas sized empanadas filled with mozzarella, basil, oven dried tomatoes and served with Pesto.

Buenos Aires Agenda: October/Octubre 2017

Events/eventos

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PH: Rosmarie Voegtli

5th-21st October: FIBA International Theatre Festival: Start buying your tickets now for the theatre performances that will be taking place this October as part of the FIBA!

5-21 de octubre: FIBA Festival Internacional de Teatro de Buenos Aires: ¡Ya están a la venta las entradas para las funciones de teatro que se llevarán a cabo este octubre como parte del FIBA!

16th of October: National Holiday as the Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity is commemorated. 

16 de octubre: Feriado nacional por el Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural. 

22nd October: Legislative elections will take place, which means few things will be open. On the 21st, from 8pm onwards, nightclubs and bars will be closed and the sale of alcohol will be restricted.

22 de octubre- Se llevan a cabo las elecciones legislativas por lo que muchos lugares estarán cerrados.  La veda electoral comienza el 21 de octubre a partir de las 20hs:  las discotecas y los bares permanecerán cerradas, y se limitará la venta de alcohol. 

Art/arte

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8th September- 3rd of December- Bienalsur- The first edition of this Latin American contemporary art biennial is taking place until December. Check out the full program here.

8 de septiembre- 3 de diciembre- La primera edición de Bienalsur, dedicada al arte contemporáneo latinoamericano, se lleva a cabo hasta el 3 de diciembre. El programa completo se encuentra aquí. 

MALBA: The MALBA is showcasing two exhibits, one of renowned photographer Diane Arbus until the 9th of October, and the other of Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca who works with copper until November. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

MALBA: El MALBA está exhibiendo dos muestras; una, hasta el 9 de octubre, de la reconocida fotógrafa Diane Arbus, y la otra, hasta noviembre, de la artista peruana Ximena Garrido-Lecca que trabaja con cobre. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

MAMBA:  On the 5th of October the MAMBA inaugurates an exhibit of Elba Bairón’s works. Also, don’t miss the artsy dj-vj sets at the museum on weekends. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

MAMBA: El 5 de octubre el museo inaugura una exposición de la obra de Elba Bairón. Además, los fines de semana no se pierdan las sesiones de música y videoarte. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

Usina del Arte: Until the 30th of December, stop by the Usina in La Boca to check out the showcase of Bjork’s digital works. Agustín R. Caffarena 1, La Boca

Usina del Arte: Hasta el 30 de diciembre, la Usina en La Boca exhibe las obras digitales de Bjork. Agustín R. Caffarena 1, La Boca

FILBA: BA’s International Lit Fest

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PH: Dara or

Heads up readers, Buenos Aires is wrapping up September with a bookworm compost fest that starts on Wednesday 27th of September and lasts all the way up till Sunday. It’s the city’s annual FILBA international literature festival, and this year the alphabet is getting more swing than ever.

Interspersed between the usual black rimmed debates there are a couple of sparkly speckled surprises including performances, live music, a silent reading party and more.

One of the many changes of the Festival this year is the location, a clear symptom that the literature scene in the city has grown and will continue to do so. Events will be taking place at the MALBA, the National Library, the Margarita Xirgu Theatre and the Casa Victoria OCampo. The topic of this edition is violence.

Some suggestions include:

MALBA: Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo

27/09: Dance performance at 8pm.

28/09: Interview with Juan Echenoz.

29/09: Theatre performance based on a dialogue between John Gerassi and Simone De Beauvoir.

Also, on Thursday and Friday at 7pm, you can tour the museum’s Diane Arbus photography exhibit while listening to a reading of related literary texts.

National Library: Agüero 2502, Recoleta

On Saturday and Sunday most events will take place in the National Library. From 4pm onwards there will also be a book fair, and on Saturday, a literary performance between 4 and 6pm (sign up here: talleres@filba.org.ar  and bring along a book to donate), drinks and a poetry reading at 7.30pm, and a feminist poetry party at 9pm.  On Sunday, wind down at the Silent Reading Party at 4pm, and then head to the 5.30pm screening of four authors’ favourite violent film scenes.

Margarita Xirgu Theatre: Chacabuco 875, San Telmo

Julieta Venegas and Martín Buscaglia will play together at a live concert that will take place on Friday at 9.30pm. To get tickets, stop by the theatre on any of the festival days between 4pm and 8pm  and donate a book.

Casa Victoria O’Campo: Rufino de Elizalde 2831, Palermo

The rationalist house of emblematic local literary figure Victoria O’Campo will be hosting a special photography exhibit as part of the festival.

5 Ways to Experience Tango in BA

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PH: Zabara Alexander

With the Tango Festival and World Cup in full swing (more information here) ’tis the season to glamour up and get into the tango groove. Whether you’re more for the dance or for the music, here are our suggestions of 5 ways to experience tango while you’re in BA!

Take a tango class

Those that like to experience through participation will love learning the basics of this renowned Argentine dance, or taking their skills further with some lessons. Some suggestions are taking a class with Lucía and Gerry or heading to La Catedral in Almagro where you can stay on dancing the night away after learning your moves!

Watch a tango show

For those that prefer to watch and enjoy a meal, the city is full of tango shows to choose from. Café Los Angelitos and Piazzolla Tango at the Galería Güemes are great traditional spots, Gala Tango is another great option, otherwise Faena’s Rojo Tango is well known as an extravagant and all out experience.

Do a tango tour

To get to know the circuit of city milongas, which are the tango dance saloons, your best bet is a tango tour. Some options include Tango Streets,  Narrative Tango and Tango Trips.

Listen to live tango

If tango music is more to your liking than the dance itself, then you should definitely stop by for a drink at El Boliche de Roberto in Almagro or at Café Vinilo. For a more alternative experience, head to Club Atlético Fernández Fierro (CAFF) to watch a live tango orchestra. 

Shop for tango records

If you want to take back home a tango vinyl record, head to  Parque Centenario to browse the Sunday fair, or head to Tango Cerouno which is near the Recoleta cemetery.