BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: At the Tango Festival and Dance World Cup, held for the past 12 years in Buenos Aires, visitors are treated to seminars on the dance, tango-related films, and beginning or intermediate dance classes. At night, put those steps to work at a steamy electro-tango dance party. But the main spectacle remains the pros who pour their passion onto the dance floor as they step, swirl, and stomp their way through the semifinals and finals of the World Tango Competition.
Feeling inspired by all this tango talk? Check out the competition happening in Buenos Aires, now through August 30, or try one of these B.A. milongas where you can learn, dance, and watch “the most sensual dance in the world.”
By Sarah Langdon
Learn to Tango
La Viruta Tango Many milongas have very complicated and subtle rules of etiquette, but at La Viruta Tango, a relaxed vibe makes it welcoming to first timers. Tango lessons are offered Wednesday through Saturday nights at six different levels with both Spanish- and English-speaking instructors. Armenia St. 1366; +54 11 4747 6357 www.lavirutatango.com/
La Catedral At this former grain silo, dairy, and refrigerator you can take a tango class any night of the week. The etiquette at La Catedral is slightly more traditional: for example, when you agree to take a dance partner, it is considered rude if you leave before the set of four to five songs ends. Sarmiento 4006; +54 11 155 325 1630 www.lacatedralclub.com/
Club Gricel The expansive wooden dance floor at Club Gricel provides a great place to learn the seductive art of tango. Classes include free entrance to the night’s milonga, where you can show off your newly acquired moves. La Rioja 1180; +54 11 4957 7157 www.clubgriceltango.com.ar
Watch the Tango
Complejo Tango This beautiful old building is home to all things tango including a hotel with dance-themed rooms. At Complejo, dinner starts at 8:30 p.m. every night with the show at 10 p.m. Dancers are accompanied by a live orchestra, and the show illustrates the history of tango in five scenes. Optional lessons are available every night. Reservations are required. Av. Belgrano 2608; +54 11 4941 1119 www.complejotango.com.ar/english/index2.html
Señor Tango Looking for a tango show that’s so shamelessly over-the-top you’ll walk out covered in glitter? Señor Tango is the place for you. This elaborate theater and lounge hosts an event that is more theatrical than traditional but guarantees an unforgettable night. Vieytes 1655; +54 11 4303 0231 www.senortango.com.ar
Most tango shows focus on the dancing rather than the food, but Madero Tango repeatedly gets high marks for its culinary decadence as well as the elaborate show it hosts. Alicia Moreau de Justo y Brasil – Dique 1 – Puerto Madero; +54 11 5239 3009 www.maderotango.com
Dance the Tango
La Glorieta de Belgrano This milonga pops up in a large gazebo every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night in the park Barrancas in the barrio Belgrano. Dancing starts at 8 p.m. Show up an hour early for a free lesson so you can spin along with the locals. 11 de Septiembre between Sucre and Echeverría streets; (+54 11) 4674 1026 www.visittangobuenosaires.com/La_Glorieta-en.htm
Parakultural at Salón Canning Popular with Porteños, at Parakultural, tango is not a spectator sport. Open only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, patrons come here to show off their skills on the dance floor. Scalabrini Ortiz 1331; +54 11 5738 3850 www.parakultural.com.ar
La Marshall At La Marshall, the traditional he-leads, she-follows method of tango is turned on its head with a number of same-sex couples proving there are many ways to dance the tango. The location of this moving milonga changes from night to night, so check the website for up-to-date details. +54 11 4300 3487 www.lamarshall.com.ar
Former Traveler intern, Sarah Langdon, is a fifth-year visual communications major at the University of South Carolina and is spending her last semester studying in Buenos Aires, a city that truly never sleeps. Follow her @sarahmlangdon.