Dance Around The World – Buenos Aires, Argentina
When I think of tango dancing, I think of love and anger; fight and passion; a women dressed in a long sexy dresses with her hair pulled back in a nice slick bun with a man dressed in all black with hair gelled so tight the guys from Jersey Shore would be jealous; and the effortless footwork that moves so quickly you can’t tell who’s leg is who’s. Ahh… so awesome, and I can’t believe I’m in the heart of it all, Buenos Aires!
Tango in Buenos Aires is as popular as soccer. When you walk down almost any major street, by every soccer shop is a tango shop right next door. I was also surprised to see soccer tours sold along with tango tours. I’ve got to tell you, it was refreshing to see music and dance celebrated as much as sports!
While in the city of tango, I came across people dancing every weekend; especially on Sunday’s. From restaurant shows to street performers, you’re bound to hear or see tango in nearly every nook of the city. Some of my favorite tango-spotting sights were in San Temlo and La Boca.
San Temlo on Sunday’s is a great place to shop and for spotting tango. The main street closes down and a market takes over. Craftsmen, jewelry makers, along with tango bands and dancers transform the street into a wonderland. Just make sure you go after siesta. That’s when the street performers start coming out. Along with listening to an amazing tango band, I caught my first glimpse of tango dancers. An older gentleman with one dance partner in hand and another in waiting, worked the audience with his grace and charm. I spoke to him and told him about my Dance Around The World project; he exited and wished me luck! Funny and kind of ironic, his picture is actually on my Lonely Planet app for Buenos Aires. I guess that makes him kind of a celebrity.
La Boca is a famous barrio (neighborhood) for tango in Buenos Aires, and Caminito Street is where it’s at. Along the brightly colored streets, you’ll find museums, shops, and restaurants bursting at the seams with tango. It’s hard to believe this barrio, which was once considered a slum, and a dance that was performed by prostitutes and pimps would become a hotspot and tourist attraction. Needless to say, I totally wore my tourist hat when visiting La Boca. I indulged by watching the “free” shows at the restaurants while drinking a glass of wine… and I took tons of pictures too! (On a side note, I’ve realized nothing is free in South America. They might give you something or say it’s free, but you are expected to pay a little something.)
Another way to see, hear, and try tango in Buenos Aires is to go to a milonga. There’s typically one happening somewhere in the city almost every night. Most of the milongas I found where a little over my price range for this trip. But, I was thrilled when I learned there was a tango festival taking place, and I dragged my husband to the free milonga. The band was scheduled to start at 9pm with dancing beginning at 11pm. However, in mañana time, that means the event will start almost two hours late. By the time midnight came around and the dancing still hadn’t started, I was pooped! I read that milongas can last until 4am, and now I know why. Although the music was fantastic, I decided I would just have to learn how to tango another day.
I thoroughly enjoyed my tango moments in Buenos Aires. How can you not love live music and dancing!? During my trip, I chose to seek out the cheaper end of the tango viewing available in the city. However, if you’ve got the money, I would recommend a dinner and dance show. A friend informed me that these dancers are phenomenal and are real professionals. But, just in case you can’t make it to Argentina, don’t worry. I took tons of pictures and videos of the dancing. Below are a few video clips I took in La Boca.
The Offbeat Ballerina
p.s. Don’t forget to check back and read about my tango class experience 😉