When I die, if it’s possible to place a well-timed request for the next life, I’m totally asking to return as a tango dancer in Buenos Aires. Now, I’m sure a life of dancing the SEXIEST dance in the world comes with its fair share of pitfalls (I’d mention a few, but I’m still trying to think of them). Still, I get the feeling that in the end I’d do well being born into stellar dance moves, superb coordination and a sex-on-legs dance partner.
(Ayaz, are you reading this?! Make your next-life dancing wish with me while you can, please!)
Anyhow, if you’ve never been to Buenos Aires, or even if you have, you’re aware that tango is pretty much the national dance over here; it’s like the second Argentine religion after eating grilled meat.
I’m ecstatic to report that not only did Ayaz and I see some of the best tango in town while living here, we did so among hundreds of locals and paid exactly … NOTHING. Win!
Now, most tourists will go to one of the city’s countless cheese-tacular “dinner and tango show” combos. In fact, on my first trip to Buenos Aires, short on time and research, I did exactly that. The dinner totally sucked, but the tango show was legitimately great. Still you’ve paid an exorbitant fee to eat crappy food and wind up crammed in a room with dozens of other tourists from … everywhere but Argentina. And that feels pretty inauthentic.
The other option is to visit a milonga, essentially a tango dance hall. These run the gamut from dark and dirty to rather sleek, and typically attract amazing dancers from across the city. It’s possible to take a lesson at the onset of the night and join in the dancing (NOT recommended if you have my utter lack of coordination), or sit on the sidelines and watch the awesomeness unfold (sitting is more my speed). If you opt for the milonga, be aware: these don’t get started until midnight and roll on ’til 4 a.m. or so. On a weeknight.
Finally, on this trip to Buenos Aires, we happened to arrive during their summer months, when the city rolls out the carpet for “Verano en la Ciudad,” a months-long series of free activities and events across the city.
On the list? Tango shows galore. We headed out to an amphitheater in Parque Centenario in the Villa Crespo neighborhood, unsure what to expect. What we found were a few dozen people lined up at the amphitheater entrance a solid hour-and-a-half before the start of the show. Hundreds more would arrive soon thereafter.
We were treated to an evening of gorgeous, breathtaking tango produced by the extraordinary Mora Godoy dance company. Four couples slithered around the stage, defying gravity and laws of human flexibility.
The crowds cheered wildly for the lead male dancer, chanting, “Paolo! Paolo!” as he smirked, adjusted his unbuttoned shirt and ran his hands through greased-back hair.
I elbowed Ayaz repeatedly, marveling at the extraordinary speed with with the women kicked their legs between their male partner’s legs.
“Can you imagine if I did that to you?” I asked him. Ayaz cringed.
Let’s fact it, considering I can barely walk in straight lines down the sidewalk without stumbling, I’m guessing he’d need full-on body armor were we to partake in the tango.
The lesson in all this? No, not that I should take tango lessons while in town. But rather, take the time to research where to see tango in Buenos Aires so the experience is the most authentic. It will — I promise — be very worth it.
PS — Let me know if you enjoyed the videos! They’re the first I’ve ever uploaded to YouTube – booyah!