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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5 Lugares para aprender tango en Buenos Aires

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(foto de Cecilia Heinen)

Los eventos de tango abundan en la ciudad este mes, gracias al Campeonato de Tango que se lleva a cabo hasta el 15 de mayo. Seguramente luego de ver a los mejores bailarines de la ciudad bailar, surjan las ganas de aprender y practicar. En el programa del campeonato se ofrecen por supuesto clases, pero para tener más opciones, acercamos esta selección de 5 opciones para aprender tango en Buenos Aires.

Milongas

Las milongas son salones de baile o eventos donde se reúne la gente para pasar la noche bailando tango, y la milonga misma que es otra variante de este tipo de danza. En la mayoría de los salones se ofrecen clases ante de que comience el evento. Nuestros recomendados son:

La Viruta

En La Viruta se ofrecen clases de tango y también clases de Rock n’ Roll y Milonga. Los domingos, desde las 18 a las 20hs. hay una orquesta en vivo y se abre el espacio para prácticas. Armenia 1366, Palermo.

La Catedral

La Catedral es un lugar relajado y muy bien ambientado donde van las generaciones más jóvenes a tomar una clase, bailar o incluso comer algún plato vegetariano.  Sarmiento 4006, Almagro.

Confitería La Ideal

Aunque en este momento está temporalmente cerrado por reformas, este recoveco tradicional del tango que abrió en 1912 es un lugar hermoso para tomar clases, quedarse a ver un show de tango o simplemente para tomar un café a la tarde.  Suipacha 384, microcentro. 4328-7750.

Clases particulares

Otra opción para aprender a bailar es tomar una clase particular de tango. Lucía y Gerry se dedican hace más de veinte años al tango y tienen siempre muy buena críticas (más información aquí). Otra opción es tomar clases con Alejandro Gee que tiene un acercamiento interesante a la danza porque viene de familia de tangueros y como es psicoanalista aplica conocimiento de psicología a la danza (más información aquí).

This Week: 9th-14th of March

Monday

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(Photo by Ministerio de la Nación Argentina)

If you’re visiting the Obelisco and strolling down Corrientes Avenue, stop by the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación which is hosting a photography exhibit about the social problematic related to last World Cup in Brazil. Av. Corrientes 1543, downtown.

In the afternoon, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm you can stop by the Fierro Hotel garden and grab a couple of cocktails at the new UCO after office event! Soler 5862, Palermo.

You can also stop by Centro Cultural Konex where famous percussion group, La Bomba del Tiempo, will be carrying out their Monday show starting at 7pm. Sarmiento 3151, Almagro.

Tuesday

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(Photo by Lee)

Take one of FotoRuta’s Street Scape tours and learn some photography tips while discovering the city from a different angle. More information here.

It’s Milonga Week in the city so check the out the schedule here, pick a time and a venue, and stop by Bolívar 466 in San Telmo from 2pm to 6pm to pick up your free tickets.

Wednesday

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(Photo by SpejoBlancoNegro)

If you’re in the Recoleta area, stop by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes which is hosting a new exhibit featuring collages by Eduardo Stupía, texts by Ricardo Piglia and music by Luis Nacht until the 22nd of March. Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta.

At 7pm, head to La Trastienda for their Brazilian Wednesday event, Miércoles Carinhosos, and dance all the way past midnight. Balcarce 460, San Telmo.

Thursday

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(Photo by Parque de la Memoria-BsAs, Argentina)

The Ciudanza festival, featuring contemporary dance performances in urban settings, kicks off until Sunday!

Later on, catch an experimental performance combining theatre and poetry at the Teatro Colón starting at 8pm. Tickets here.

Friday

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(Photo by Nathan Ludwig)

Take one of graffitimundo’s North City Tours and check out the Buenos Aires street art scene in the Colegiales and Palermo neighborhoods. The tour ends at Post Bar where you can grab an icy beer and also purchase some urban art to take back home. More information here.

At 8pm and at 9.30pm, the Planetarium will be hosting live music concerts featuring covers of The Beatles with full dome projections of the diamond filled sky. Av. Sarmiento, Palermo.

And, if the street art tour left you hungry for more color, you can head to the Life in Color: World Largest Paint Party at Mandarine Park. Tickets here.

Saturday and Sunday

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(Photo by messycupcakes)

Book your place at Fierro´s unique weekend brunch, now revamped with an Irish version as well!

The Sivory Museum, next to the  Palermo Rosedal offers free tours in English and German on Saturdays at 3pm and 5pm!Av. Infanta Isabel 555, Palermo.

On Saturday night, British DJ John Digweed will be in charge of setting the rhythm at Mandarine Park. Tickets here.

On Sunday, James Blunt will be staging a live show at the Luna Park Stadium. Tickets here.

Tango Festival and World Championship 2012

(Photo by femuruy)

One of the most important cultural events of the year, the Tango Festival and World Championship, kicks off today, promising for a full two weeks of traditional porteño music and dancing. The festival, which will be inaugurated today at La Usina del Arte with a special presentation at 8pm by Pablo Agri and la Orquesta Típica Sub25, will display both traditional and contemporary tango until the 28th of August.

Some of the participating venues include the Centro de Exposiciones, where dance lessons, world dance championship, a Piazzolla music program, and most of the tango concerts will take place; La Usina del Arte, in La Boca, where there will be a special program of acoustic tango concerts, as well as parties and “Milonga Raves”; the Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario, where various tango shows will take place, the Teatro Regio, in Chacarita; the Luna Park, where the tango dance world championship finals will take place, and the Colón Theatre, where there will be a special presentation by TangoContempo on the 20th of August. Additionally, there will be a product fair and permanent exhibition of Piazzolla in the Centro de Exposiciones from the 15th to the 26th of August.

Some of the recommended events for the 2012 Tango Festival and World Championship include the Usina del Arte parties, where there will be remixes of electronic tango and late night dancing during the weekend from 8pm onwards; Gabriel Senanes Trio‘s Tango Monstrosos debut, with Pablo Agri, Pipi Piazzolla and Pedro Aznar as guests; the TangoContempo concert at the Colón Theatre on the 20th of August; the tango dancing world championship rounds, of course, and also, on Sunday the 26th of August the special tango dance shows that will be held at the Centro de Exposiciones from 2.30pm onwards.

The full program is available here.

Tickets to all the events are free of charge and for the Centro de Exposiciones, Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario, and Teatro Regio will be available on a first come first serve basis before the shows. Tickets (a maximum of two per person) for the Usina del Arte will be handed out with the following criteria: for shows starting at 5.30pm, tickets must be picked up at 2pm, for shows starting from 6pm onwards, tickets will be available at 5pm, and tickets are not required for the Usina parties. The tickets for the opening concert are being raffled by facebook. Tickets (again only two per person) for the Teatro Colón show will be available at the Centro de Exposiciones box office on Saturday the 18th of August from 11am. The Luna Park tickets for the dance finals will be available on Monday the 20th of August from 11am at the box office of the Centro de Exposiciones following the same two per person criteria.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by vagner carvhaleiro)

Stop by La Rural, the annual agricultural and livestock show, and get a feel for the Argentine campo, where so much of the local identity and economy has been forged. The fair takes place from the 19th to the 31st of July at La Rural. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

In the afternoon stop for some tea and sweet treats at the traditional Confitería Las Violetas and then shake off the cold at the nearby La Bomba del Tiempo, a percussion orchestra that has become one of the local absolute musts. Centro Cultural Konex Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864-3200

Tuesday

(Photo by Andreas Ebling)

Fundación PROA in La Boca is showcasing two new exhibits. The first features Argentine and Brazilian contemporary pop art, realism and political art, and the second is a collection of works by Roberto Aizenberg and younger artists who have been inspired by him.  Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

Don´t miss the chance to see Russia’s top ballet dancers on stage at the Teatro Coliseo.  There will be three performances on the 31st of July and the 1st and 2nd of August at 8.30pm. Tickets here.

Wednesday

(Photo by jikatu)

Head to the Dorrego Flea Market in Palermo, which is often overlooked and is the perfect place to go on a treasure hunt.  Antiques and curious finds are waiting to be dug up and claimed in this charming neighborhood market. Open Tue-Sun 10am-7pm.  Av.Dorrego and Conde.

In the evening head to the new El Faro de Buenos Aires Milonga with live music, dancing and more at the special Palacio Barolo.  Wednesdays from 5pm-1am. Av. de Mayo 1370 P.B, Downtown.

Thursday

(Photo by m4caque)

Take a free tour of Buenos Aires with Jonathan, an Englishman in love with the city. Tours start every day at 11am at the center of Plaza Italia by the Garibaldi Horse monument and cover the areas of Almagro, Congress and the Plaza de Mayo using local transport to get around. More information here.

For a unique evening, book your place at Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno. Tastings, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by Mulling it Over)

Stop by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to check out the new Real/Virtual exhibit, featuring Argentine kinetic art from the 70´s. Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta. 5288-9999

Later on, musician Francisco Fattoruso will be staging a live show at Boris Club de Jazz starting at 10pm. Gorriti 5568, Palermo.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by amanky)

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s unique must-try brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays! Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

Book your place for one of Norma’s cooking classes and learn to make typical Argentine food such as locro, empanadas and the delectable alfajor. Classes run every Saturday from 11am-2pm and include lunch. More information here.

Head to the Planetarium in Palermo for one of the special screenings of Journey to the Stars. You can also access the planetariums telescopes to get unique views of the sky. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldan. 4772-9265

We Recommend: Cultura Cercana’s Tango Tour

(Photo by Lazzarello)

One of the trademarks of Buenos Aires is its melancholic and sensual tango music and dance. Knowing where to go to catch a glimpse of the real essence of this tradition is not always an easy task as there are many options, some which include dancing, others that include a theatre like show, and alternatives that serve dinner amongst others.

Cultura Cercana, a tour agency that aims at showing travelers the Argentine version of Argentina, offers a tango tour that acts as a filter of the available options sorting through the tourist traps to get to the places where the buzz is local and genuine. The tour also has the advantage of being guided by a couple of tango dancers who show what they can do and explain the meaning of each gesture and move. Additionally, they offer an optional tango lesson prior to the tour, should you want to try out some dancing yourself and work with reduced groups to keep the attention personalized.

Plus, they take you to and from the hotel.

More information on Cultura Cercana here.

While in Buenos Aires you MUST experience a Milonga

Milonga

We have all heard about the tango shows in the city and they are fine, but if you are in Buenos Aires for a few nights you must visit a Milonga at least once.

Milongas are where the local dancers (both professionals and amateurs) go to dance tango. With a great mix of characters and people of every age, they are a great place to learn how to tango (classes before the milonga), improve your level (by dancing with different people with different styles), see some excellent dancers (usually there is a couple that performs every night) and listen to live tango with traditional tango orchestras (not in everyone). 

Another great thing about the milongas is that they open every night of the week as individual events: It’s not about the venue, it’s about the organizer and the people. So in the same space you can have different milongas on different nights. 

With fix times you might have to go to several on one night to spend the whole evening dancing (although maybe with a few hours is enough if you are not an experienced dancer) as they have fix opening and closing times.

Some of our favourites are: La Catedral (see previous photo post), Salón Canning, Porteño y Bailarín, mail us to recepcion@fierrohotel.com if you want a full list!