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.

Av. Gral. Iriarte 2290

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

Salon-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.

Raúl Scalabrini Ortíz 1331

 

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.

Buenos Aires Agenda: August/ Agosto

Events/Actividades

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PH:Konstantin-♂

5-6 August: Food Fest BA  will take place at La Rural in Palermo for those who want to stop by and grab a bite. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

5-6 agosto: Food Fest BA se llevará a cabo en La Rural en Palermo para quienes quieran pasar a degustar algún plato.   Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo. 

10-23 August: The Tango Festival and World Championship will take place in different venues around the city and will also be featuring a tango fair to take back home a good pair of dance shoes.

10-23 agosto: El Festival y Mundial de Tango se llevará a cabo en diferentes lugares de la ciudad y también ofrecerá una feria de productos tangueros donde elegir un buen par de zapatos de baile. 

23-25 August- BAF Week will take place at the end of August at La Rural and is a great chance to check out the local fashion trends for the upcoming spring-summer season.  Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo. 

23-25 agosto: A finales del mes en La Rural se llevará a cabo la BAF Week donde se podrán apreciar las tendencias de moda local para la temporada primavera-verano 2018. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

Art/arte

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Luis Felipe Noé- Estamos en el siglo XXI

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

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

MAMBA: Last chance to visit Tomás Sarraceno’s amazing spider web art and Diego Bianchi’s spooky “intertextual”  installation that are being showcased at this beautiful San Telmo centered museum. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

MAMBA: Última oportunidad para ver la obra de telaraña de Tomás Saracceno y la espeluznante instalación “intertextual” de Diego Bianchi que se encuentran actualmente en exhibición en este hermoso museo de San Telmo. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

MNBA: The Buenos Aires Fine Arts Museum is showcasing an exhibit of Luis Felipe Noé’s works, as well as a William Kentridge exhibit.  Av. Libertador 1473, Palermo.

MNBA: El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes está exhibiendo la obra de Luis Felipe Noé y de William Kentridge.  Av. Libertador 1473, Palermo.

Parque de la Memoria: Parque de la Memoria or Remembrance Park is showcasing an exhibit of Hindu artist Anish Kapoor’s work. Avenida Costanera Norte, Rafael Obligado 6745.

Parque de la Memoria: La obra del artista hindú Anish Kapoor se encuentra exhibida actualmente en el Parque de la Memoria. Avenida Costanera Norte, Rafael Obligado 6745.

 

5 Creative Ways to Practice Spanish in Buenos Aires

After a dozen flight hours, a taxi from Ezeiza airport, and a hot bath, you face your first real choice in Buenos Aires. What do I do next? Whilst mulling over it,  glass of wine in hand, that funky Latin feeling starts to tickle you into practicing your Spanish. Here are five suggestions to make it all the more fun, and some tips to master the local lingo.

 1)    Spanglish Exchange

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(Terence Chang)

It’s like Speed Dating, but without the obliged romantic interest! You’ll have five 20 minute conversations (10 minutes per language) with locals wishing to practice their English. They currently meet in 3 locations and you can find all the details at http://spanglishexchange.com/

2)    Spanish Futbol Camp

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(Photo by Rama V)

Whether you’re for Messi or Cristiano, there’s no doubt that Argentina’s soccer players are amongst the best in the world.  Imagine being able to learn Spanish while taking futbol lessons in a professional team’s complex with its youth players and managers. With a variety of options according to your stay time, it’s a must for any sports fan.  http://www.bafutboltours.com/

3)    Eat! And Listen

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(Diego Torres Silvestre)

Nothing better than a taste of Argentina’s world famous Bife de Chorizo to soothe your appetite, or you can learn the name of other meat cuts here, and then tour the city parillas looking for your cut of choice. Mastering the menu in Spanish may be challenging, but the mozos (waiters) are usually friendly and offer a helping hand. You can’t leave the country until you’ve learnt how to say chimichurri properly. 

4)    Tangoke!

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(Brainbitch)

Tango lyrics are as passionate as its music. Learning their meaning is a way into the heart of Argentina’s culture. Google translate in hand, you can beef up your Lunfardo skills while you drink a glass of Malbec wine and sing along to melancholic tunes. There’s tons of playlists, for example Karaoke Tangos for you to practice before you hit the milongas, and if you really want to master the art you can take a tango singing lesson in the nostalgic Almagro neighborhood with Anna Franken

5)    Volunteer

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(Leo Grübler)

If helping others is your thing, BA Volunteer is a great chance of knowing the country through and with those in need. While you learn Spanish, you’ll also help leave a sustainable impact on the organization you volunteer for.

5 Lugares para aprender tango en Buenos Aires

tango legs

(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).

5 Spots to Learn Tango in Buenos Aires

tango championshipPhoto by Peter Forret

With the Tango Championship taking place until the 15th of May, tango related events in the city abound, and surely, after watching some of the city’s best dancers perform, you will be tempted to try out some dancing yourself. Of course, the Championship program includes lessons, but in case you want to further your instruction, here are 5 spots for tango lessons in Buenos Aires.

Milongas

Milongas are dance halls or events where people get together to spend the night tangoing. Most of them offer lessons before the event starts and our top three picks are:

La Viruta

This spot offers tango lessons, but also lessons to dance other styles such as Rock n’ Roll and Milonga per se (which is also a dancing style). On Sundays, from 6pm to 8pm you can also head over to practice with a live orchestra. Armenia 1366, Palermo.

La Catedral

 An easy going spot with great ambience where younger tango crowds go to take a lesson, stay for a milonga, or grab a vegetarian bite. Sarmiento 4006, Almagro.

Confitería La Ideal

Although it is temporarily closed for restorations, this traditional tango spot which has been open from 1912 is a lovely place to take a lesson, stay for a tango show or just to stop for coffee in the afternoon. We will update when it reopens. Suipacha 384, downtown. 4328-7750.

Private Lessons

Another option for tango lessons is to book private lessons. Lucía and Gerry have over twenty years of experience dancing tango, and always get great reviews (more information here). Alejandro Gee is another great option to take either English or Spanish tango lessons, and he has an interesting approach to the dance as he comes from a tanguero family and is a psychotherapist as well (more information here).

 

Top Mobile Apps for Travelers in Buenos Aires

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(Photo by Georgie Pauwels)

Technology has made travel all the easier, and there are a great variety of very useful mobile apps to help us when we are in a new city. Below, we’ve selected a few of those that we think are practical for people travelling to Buenos Aires.

Language

If you need a Spanish app, of course Google Translate is the most immediate option, however, we recommend Porteño Spanish  which will help you with the language and the local lingo.

Also, if you’re learning Spanish, or any other language, Hello Talk allows you to connect with native speakers to practice.

Money

Two useful apps while travelling anywhere are XE Currency, for exchange rates, and ATM Hunter, to help you find the closest ATM.

Transport

There are many apps to help you around the city in terms of transport. Como LLego offers you transport options and directions for getting from one place to the next, BA Subte  is the local subway app, Trenes en Vivo is a useful app for those who travel by train and lets you know at what time the next trains are coming in, Easy Taxi is an international Taxi app that also works in Buenos Aires for calling cabs, BA EcoBici lets you know where you can find public city bikes and bike paths.

City Guides

International city guides are available from Trip Advisor that offers offline city guides, including one for Buenos Aires, from Travel Guides by Triposo and a GPS guide by Digi Guide.

Dining, Wine-ing, Dancing

Guía Oleo and Restorando are two apps that offer restaurant listings and reviews that will help you pick out the best places to stop for a bite and make reservations.

Otherwise, try CookApp for closed door dinner options.

Argentina Wine App, in English, and Vinomanos, in Spanish, are two wine apps that specialize in Argentine wine and are useful to pick out and discover some of the best local bottles.

Hoy-Milonga is an app for Tango enthusiasts that want to know when and where the BA milongas are taking place.

LightOut is BA’s nightlife app for those that like to dance till dawn.