Guide to Tango in Argentina
Enjoying some tango is one of the great joys of any holiday in Argentina. You don't need to be a dance conoisseur or even a 'Strictly...' fan to be enthralled by the stylish sensuality of this sophisticated dance. Whether you opt to take in a full tango show in Buenos Aires, or just enjoy some of the impromptu street tango shows in areas like La Boca and San Telmo, you can be sure to be blown away by the poise and control on show.
Even the origin of the word 'tango' is hotly disputed, although most experts suspect that it originates in Africa rather than in South America, and the origins of tango as a dance are equally obscure. All that can be said with any degree of certainty is that by the end of the nineteenth century, a new and 'sinful' dance which became known as the tango was becoming popular in the bordellos and boarding-houses of Buenos Aires' sprawling port districts, where thousands of recent immigrants from Italy and Spain, as well as from the Argentinian interior, lived in crowded, cheap accommodation cheek by jowl with sailors and traders from all over the world.
The tango gradually became more mainstream, and the golden age of tango in Argentina arrived in the 1930s with the advent of band leaders such as Juan D'Arienzo, and continued right through to the 1950s. This golden age was characterised, above all, by the legendary singer Carlos Gardel, who - although claimed by the Uruguayans as their own - made his career and life in Buenos Aires. Today you will see images of him all over Buenos Aires, and particularly in the San Telmo district which is still held to be the beating heart of tango today.
Watching a Tango Show in Buenos Aires
You'll see tango performed all over Argentina (and for that matter, in neighbouring Uruguay as well), but there's no doubt that the best place for taking in a live tango show is Buenos Aires. However, it's a huge city, so where is actually the best place for watching tango shows IN Buenos Aires, I hear you ask? Hmmm...
San Telmo is the traditional tango centre, and although you'll find some decent streetside tango performances in La Boca as well, San Telmo is still arguably the best place in Buenos Aires to watch a streetside tango show. San Telmo also has upmarket and classic venues like El Viejo Almacen, which is very much the grande dame of the Buenos Aires tango circuit.
More recently, however, a lot of the top venues for tango shows, particularly of the "dinner and a show" type are further north towards Centro (like Piazolla and El Querandi), and even out to the west of there along Avenida Rivadavia, like the relative newcomer Los Angelitos, which is currently getting rave reviews from tango fans.
If you don't already have a tango show included in your holiday itinerary, you just have to ask: we can help secure whichever tickets for watching tango shows in Buenos Aires you need, and of course if you get a taste for it and would like to try some authentic Argentine tango lessons, then just let us know...