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Buenos Aires Tango street dancing
Argentina: The deep culture in the dance
Buenos Aires, or "fair winds" in spanish, is the place your'e looking for if you are into Tango and street dancing. This cultural capital city, is not only best known for its dancers, but is also said to be the birthplace of Tango itself. Whether or not this is true, is open for debate, but go see for yourself, the persuasive authenticity of the gripped passion in the eyes of the locals under the rhythems of the bandoneon; it shouldn't fail to seduce you into believing it.
The deep culture in the dance permeates the air of Buenos Aires – tango art and history, a 24 hour Tango TV channel, tango clubs two per block, not to mention the local tango dancers on the streets and squares who buntly expose the heart of the city's love for the art.
If you have seen the film Tango, Last Tango in Paris, or Scent of a Woman, you should already have a vibe of why the love for the music and its dance resonates with people from all continents. The story has been more or less the same, globaly, that Tango has begun since 1983. But this was just the beginning of what is considered to be "The Renaissance of Tango" which was followed by the fall of the military junta in Argentina. Studies, infact, that have been done to dig up its origins have found over 150 years of history in the dance.
In the 1990's Tango music and its dance started becoming popular internationally and a handful of new artists surfaced in Buenos Aires.
One of the most recognized Tango musicians, Astor Piazzola, is considered by many to be a pioneer in gathering the popularity of the music around the world. He paved the way for a new age of Tango to start: Nuevo Tango, a fusion of electric sounds with the acoustics of Tango, spread worldwide in the late 90's. Today, Tango is still burning its lights brightly keeping its popularity anywhere a seed of it has already been planted.
Everywhere you go in Buenos Aires there is someone performing Tango on the street. Crowds gather, the music plays, the dancers put on their show with their natural culture. If you happen to stop to watch; then throw over some pesos, it's only polite. In Plaza Francia or Dorrego square every afternoon there should be some couples dancing for tourists.
If your'e inspired to give it a go yourself, Buenos Aires is one of the easiest places in the world to find a tango lesson for low, or at times even no cost at all.
Many hostels will also offer you a free tango class included in the price of your stay, which modestly take place in the bar of the hostel.
Enjoy the Milongas which will take place either during sunlight or very late at night. If you dont feel like staying up till 4-5 am, go for the "Matinée Milongas" which usually start in the early afternoon and go until 10pm.
Wait wait wait.... What is a Milonga?
A Milonga is both a place where a Tango dance will take place, as well as a specific type of tango dance.
For instructors or partners to dance with, go to a Milonga. You will find them from beginners, experts, and all in between. Because the locals shy away from tourists, a lot of visitors sit there not dancing. Once you get the gist of things the regulars would be more than pleased to see you get up and try to dance, the more you let loose, and the more fun you have, the more inclined one of them will ask you to tango!
To simplify, there are two types of tango in Buenos Aires: Tourist Tango, and Social Tango.
-For a variety in Milongas, try the Cafe Ideal, Parakultura, and the NacionalCafe Ideal. Each offer something different.
San Telmo, is a neighborhood iconic for its tango.
Make sure you atleast stop by on a sunday, its the most energetic day of the week and considered to be the highlight for tourists.
At night, you will see the vendors on the street packing up, and the street dancers taking off their make up, but don't leave yet.
When the plaza is clear, the restaurants will set up their tables which fill up the atmosphere of the square for the milonga. Grab a table and watch as the locals come down to show off their tango skills in the warm air, creating a communal friendly ambiance to finish off your day.