Experience real tango in Buenos Aires
By Eva Stelzer
Five things you need to know about Argentinean Tango. It is a must to round out any Buenos Aires experience. Tango is passion, the music is haunting, there is tango for show and then there is the real tango, and lastly, tango is pure entertainment.
Tango is an essential part of any Buenos Aires experience
It is commonly held that tango was born in the brothels of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s more likely tango started elsewhere, but the brothels of the port area of La Boca is where people of the upper and middle classes first encountered it. Brothels were major places of entertainment for the working classes. Due to a shortage of women in the early days of Buenos Aires, prostitution became a thriving industry, with long queues forming as men waited for the women to become available. Visit the ever-colourful houses of La Boca for a glimpse back into history, where tango dancers perform on the streets outside the buildings, maintained as a memory to this port city’s past.
Tango is passion
Tango immediately became linked with hot passion, and a forbidden style of embrace. Watching or dancing tango, you can’t help but feel that same passion. Brothel owners in Buenos Aires employed tango musicians to entertain the men as they waited outside for their turn with an available woman. Men danced with other men, in close embrace. They began practicing together as a means of impressing the women who were watching from their brothel windows and preparing for the moment when they would dance with the women. The best place to get a sense of this is on the streets of La Boca or in San Telmo during market days.
Tango music is haunting and will draw you in
Tango music is sentimental, passionate and at the same time melancholic. You can’t help being drawn into the haunting sound, the solitary accordion or the singular clarinet. The music is not strong on rhythm. Rather it is an emotional expression. The lead dancer’s role is to interpret the sounds or even one of the instruments and then get his partner to feel his interpretation. The musical roots of tango come from the European immigrants that landed at the Rio Patense area now referred to as La Boca.
Tango music is sentimental, passionate and at the same time melancholic. You can’t help being drawn into the haunting sound, the solitary accordion or the singular clarinet.
The real tango
After you’ve seen the tango shows especially prepared for tourists, try the real world of underground tango. This nocturnal world of tango offers the purest way for visitors to experience the dance. The shows are not choreographed while the performances in nightclubs are. Most milongas do include an impressive invitational performance from professional dancers but mid-way through the evening, the dance floor is open for improvisation for the remainder of the night. Even if you are not a dancer, you will see the raw pleasure of dancing tango and some incredible performances from regular people out on a late night adventure.
Tango is entertainment
Tango shows are pure delight and pure entertainment. It’s a show-stopping experience or a physical one that you can try yourself. Try a class with Caucho Dante in the Recoleta area. Eviactive will gladly organize a tango lesson or two. You can also ask your hotel concierge to arrange a “taxi dancer,” who are experts in tango. They pick you up at your hotel, take you to a late night neighborhood milonga, and then dance with you until the wee hours of the morning.
Whatever your choice, when in Buenos Aires, don’t miss the Argentine Tango experience. Book your next adventure in Argentina with Evia and we’ll introduce you to the real tango. Check out some of our Buenos Aires and Argentina trips at eviactive.com/category/trips/argentina-trips/ and contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 514-344-8888 or 514-344-8888 and ask for Eva.
By: Eva Stelzer (Article first published in WestmountMag.ca October 25, 2015 http://www.westmountmag.ca/tango/
Images: Eva Stelzer, Andrew E. Larsen and René Mayorga via StockPholio.com
Eva Stelzer is the owner and founder of Evia, a bespoke travel service. A former academic, she has spent many years delivering experiential journeys and travel writing. Learn more at eviactive.com