The capital city can also be explored to the 2/4 rhythm of the tango. Below, we’ll recommend the best activities and ‘milongas’ (tango ballrooms) in the city that never sleeps, for beginners as well as aficionados of this magnetic dance.
Declared an UNESCO Cultural Heritage, there’s plenty of reasons why the tango is a veritable national symbol as well as an alternative starting point for submersing yourself in Argentina’s fascinating history. Created in the port of Río de la Plata in 1880, this musical genre – a product of the fusion of varied rhythms such as polka, mazurka and the waltz – first became popular amongst the working classes before turning into a true national past-time. Melancholic like its origins, this dance has continued evolving, and today every iteration is still paid tribute to in every corner of the city.
For anyone visiting Buenos who wants to discover the mystique of the tango, here we’ll sum up the best bars, ‘milongas’ (tango ballrooms) and tournaments dedicated to this discipline.
Notable Cafés for Dancing Tango
If you’re looking to discover the history of the tango in Buenos Aires, the various notable bars deserve a whole chapter to themselves. Spread out in the city’s different neighborhoods, you can today sit down in many of these intimate spaces – that served as a meeting point for artists and intellectuals such as Carlos Gardel, Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar – to enjoy a tango show and even dare to take your first steps. In Café Tortini, for example, shows are put on every night by internationally renowned artists. Bar El Sur is another recommended spot for anyone who wants to enjoy this dance as locals used to in the 19th century.
Milongas of Buenos Aires
The milongas of Buenos Aires (ballrooms dedicated to dancing the tango) are the perfect place for anyone who won’t settle for just listening to this musical genre, but wants to learn to dance it as well. La Catedral and La Viruta are two of the classics that no lover of tango should miss out when visiting Buenos Aires.
The first operates in a former garage in the heart of the Almagro neighborhood, the second is in a basement in Palermo shrouded in mystery. In these two temples of tango, short introductory classes can be taken (between one and two hours) so that afterwards you can go off and practice on the dancefloors. What’s more, in milongas, the culinary offering is all part of the experience: the dancing always takes place a few meters from the tables, where spectators can sample typical snacks and local wine.
World Cup and Festival of Tango
During the month of August, Buenos Aires becomes even more crazy about tango. That’s because, over the course of a few days, the city turns into the backdrop of one of the most important events dedicated to the 2/4 rhythm in the world. Since 2009, for the World Cup and Festival of Tango of Buenos Aires, the best international dancers of this discipline have come together in the city that gave birth to this dance. What’s more, for anyone who doesn’t dare compete, during these days you’ll be able to enjoy demonstrations and free shows in different corners of the city.