No visit to Argentina would be complete without experiencing tango, the dance and musical form that dates to the late 19th century. Tango’s alluring blend of intricate moves and rhythms makes it one of the South American nation’s most legendary traditions — it’s so important, in fact, that tango has appeared on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists since 2009. To provide some inspiration and ideas for that next trip, we’ve put together a list of five amazing ways to experience tango in Buenos Aires.
1. Take a private tango lesson. There’s no better way to understand the allure of Argentinean music and dance than to take to the floor yourself. Buenos Aires is home to a number of schools and milongas — venues where people go to dance tango — that offer classes for beginners and experts alike. Professional dancers will teach you the seemingly complex moves and movements, regardless of whether you’re a born dancer or a novice. The Best of Argentina itinerary includes a private tango lesson, and the package can be customized to include other experiences as well.
2. Visit a milonga. These neighborhood venues, which range from large and grand to small and decidedly typical, are where local people go to dance tango — and they’re also perfect for listening to live musicians. If you’re looking to live life like a porteño, you can’t do much better than this.
3. Attend a dinner show. Argentinian cuisine is just as legendary as its music and dance. So why not combine the two? A variety of venues make it easy to enjoy a night out, savoring mouthwatering steaks, empanadas and other delicacies, paired with the best Argentinian wine — all while viewing a dramatically staged tango show. At the trendy Faena Hotel Buenos Aires, for example, the “Rojo Tango” show features a live orchestra and spectacular dancers, in a sumptuous, nightclub-style venue where expertly prepared cocktails are a major feature on the menu. You can easily add it to our Fine Wines and Great Cities of Argentine and Chile itinerary.
4. Join a cultural event. Many large-scale venues host impressive tango shows with some of the best dancers and orchestras in Buenos Aires. The Borges Cultural Center, named after the novelist and poet Jorge Luis Borges, stages outstanding productions that showcase various interpretations of tango music and dance. Also noteworthy is the Esquina Carlos Gardel, named for Carlos Gardel, the French Argentinian singer, songwriter and actor who was the most famous figure in the history of tango. Gardel himself used to hang out at this venue before he passed away in 1935. Today, it’s a rewarding place to admire the talents of performers in period costumes from the early 20th century.
5. Enjoy a Festival. For an extra-big dose of musical excitement, plan a visit to Buenos Aires during the Festival y Mundial de Tango, an annual tango festival that takes place in Buenos Aires in August. More than 400 dancing couples were expected at this year’s event, which lasts nearly two weeks and includes more than 50 special music and dance productions.