The Flavor of Argentine Tango in a Short Film
Check out this beautiful stenciled urban art animation showing off Argentine tango in the streets of Buenos Aires.
Check out this beautiful stenciled urban art animation showing off Argentine tango in the streets of Buenos Aires.
As you might have guessed, tango shoes are essential for anyone looking to dance Argentine tango. And what better place to snag your own pair than in Buenos Aires? As the birthplace of the tango, you can be sure that there are a slew of original handmade shoes to be found and danced in. Styles vary from store to store, but you can be sure to find quality, and that is what makes all the difference.
If you prefer a modern and edgy appearance to your footwear then look no further than DNI Tango. Both a dance school and a shoe store, DNI sells an excellent selection of fun and comfortable tango shoes for practicing and for milongas.
If you tend towards more of a classic, simple and elegant look then we recommend VB Tango Shoes. A small tango shop in the charming neighborhood of San Telmo boasts high quality handmade shoes with a classic “tango look” that are great investment pieces.
If you are looking for a flashy statement shoe then you should check out Comme Il Faut a well renowned shop in the upscale neighborhood Recoleta.
Men also have many looks and styles to choose from. A good men’s tango shoe has a leather sole with little traction, ideal for gliding across the dance floor. The toe of the shoe ought to be soft with little or no sole under the tip to ensure that no damage is done should he step on his partner’s feet.
You can expect a great improvement in your dancing upon owning a quality pair of tango shoes. The fine craftsmanship often ensures that they feel much more comfortable than your typical pair of heels. As comfortable as they are, style is never sacrificed. A good tango shoe is the perfect blend of style and comfort, and makes you feel light on your feet.
Feel free to ask TangoTrips for more shopping tips or book our personal shopping service. Our service will provide you with your own personal shopper, who is an expert on tango and can help you in translating and negotiating with the shops in Spanish.
It’s a Tuesday afternoon in the bustling downtown area of Buenos Aires. Just a few blocks away from the main Cathedral and the Casa Rosada (equivalent to the White House) you can hear tango music being played in the streets in front of the main Bureau of Legislation.
One might expect to hear tango music in down town Buenos Aires, but the music heard on Tuesday afternoon of July 12, 2016 was being played to make a statement. Recently under the new government, the city of Buenos Aires has been experiencing changes, one of which has been increased regulations causing many restaurants and bars to shut down. Milongas (venues where tango dancers gather to dance) have taken an especially hard and unexpected hit. It has saddened many people who enjoy the sense of community, inclusiveness, pride, and creativity that tango gives to all of its fans.
Due to the excessive red tape involved in opening a milonga, increased expenses, and having to wait months for the government to give the ok, many avid tango dancers are fed up with what they see as the suppression of milongas. It does seem that milongas have gotten an exceptional amount of attention from inspectors, and have been systematically shut down for reasons that remain unknown or unwarranted. “Why focus on milongas?” many people have asked. At a milonga there is rarely any seedy activity taking place such as excessive drinking or drug use. Milongas are a place for people who love to dance tango to gather and revel in the Argentine national pass time. A milonga can take place in a variety of locations such as restaurants, parks, dance halls and cultural heritage centers. Tango is an integral part of the culture and a major point of interest for tourists visiting the city. Many feel that this tradition should be not only be accessible to everyone but protected by the government rather than attacked.
I recently witnessed of one of these shut downs first hand a couple of weeks ago while attending a very casual milonga being held on the terrace above a restaurant. There were only a few people dancing tango and many people where having a drink with their friends and listening to the music. Upon the arrival of inspectors the restaurant owner came up and informed that the milonga was under inspection. The milonga organizer promptly changed the music to a soft jazz and everyone stopped dancing and pretended to socialize as they would in a low key bar setting. It seemed silly to have to hide that fact that people were listening to and dancing tango. The inspectors left and the milonga was shut down the following day. The same has happened to many other milongas across the city.
If you are acquainted with Argentine history then you might think this scenario is in some ways reminiscent of the military dictatorship of the late 1970s and early 80s, often referred to as the Dirty War. During this time period there were strict restrictions on activities that were considered “subversive”. Subversive activities ranged from participating in or associating with political organizations opposed to the current government, attending film showings that were uncensored by the government, gathering in groups of more than ten people, and participating in a milonga. Although thankfully the current political climate is nothing like it was during the dictatorship, one cannot help but see a somewhat of a resemblance in the seemingly arbitrary new crack down on milongas.
With the goal of protecting the milongas, many people in the tango community of Buenos Aires are taking a stand. The demonstration on July 12th was a success. With a large turnout and lots of media coverage, the tango community has made itself heard. Common hashtags used across social media in support of this cause are #banquemosLaMilonga (meaning let’s support the milonga) and #LeydeFomentoalaMilonga (law for the protection of the milonga). Avid tango dancers with wide ranging political ideologies are hoping to see the government recognize the cultural and historical importance of tango and to do what it can to protect this national treasure.
Many people wonder what to wear the first time they go out to dance tango at a milonga in Buenos Aires. This article is directed towards helping women navigate tango fashion in Buenos Aires. We will be writing on men’s clothing soon, so stay tuned!
Don’t worry, there is no need to break the bank when planning your milonga outfits. Chances are you might already have some great clothes in your closet for tango. It is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a gown. Generally speaking, there are versatile tango items that will always be appropriate no matter where you go to tango. In the summer a flowy knee length dress or skirt with a nice tank top will always be appropriate. Women will often bring a pretty fold up fan to milongas in the warmer months to help stay cool in the crowded tango halls between songs. In the colder months you can’t go wrong in black leggings and a sexy tunic or a glittery sweater.
You can always take your look up a few notches if you so wish. It’s ok to dress a little sexy at a milonga. So if there is an item you might not wear to work or out on the street, you can probably wear it at a milonga and feel great. Bring on the crop tops and open backed dresses! This applies to all ages. It’s common to see women in their seventies wearing fishnets at milongas because that is just tango.
Tango shoes are always a plus no matter what. If you don’t have a pair then you can get away with heels. Just make sure that if you go that route your heels have an ankle strap for support (you don’t want to slip out of your heels while dancing). You also want to avoid shoes with any traction as you will need to be able to glide on the dance floor, so remember smooth soles are key.
It is sometimes difficult to plan your outfit as there are milongas where people can get away with wearing sneakers and tee shirts while others require proper tango footwear and a more elegant look before stepping on the dance floor. The level of formality really depends on which milonga you plan to visit, as every milonga has a different dress code and protocol. To find out what the dress codes are like at different milongas you can always consult with TangoTrips and they will inform you about any specific dress codes at certain venues.
It’s no wonder people from all over the world flock to Buenos Aires to study tango. After all, tango was born in the city’s immigrant neighborhoods and has evolved over time into the dance it is today. Argentina continues to be the place that avid tango dancers come to from around the world to improve their tango and build upon their skills. The quality of instruction in Buenos Aires should be fully taken advantage of while visiting this passionate South American capital. But with so many options where do you start?
At TangoTrips one of our favorite places to take a tango lesson is at a studio called DNI Tango. This a great option for those looking for private instruction as well as group classes in a comfortable environment. The lessons are taught by a local tango dancers who are all fluent in English. The classes are always taught in both English and Spanish so that you don’t have to learn Spanish before you can learn tango. The teachers keep the overall vibe of the lessons fun and light hearted, which is very refreshing as the tango scene in Buenos Aires can sometimes be quite serious. If you sign a private lesson, the instructors will listen to what your goals are as dancer and then tailor the class to meet your needs.
This school not only provides excellent instruction but has also focused on creating a friendly sense of community. DNI has several studio spaces as well as a cafe with a full bar where you can reenergize after class. There is also shop where you can buy tango shoes and attire and socialize with other students. If you want to mix things up a bit they offer other classes that complement tango such as yoga for dancers and contemporary dance. They also organize parties in the evenings for students to come and practice what they have been learning. All of these extra events and services really help to make students feel involved in the tango scene and feel as though they have a “home” in the tango community.
Perhaps you’ve taken some classes already and you want to take your tango moves to the next level. Maybe you’ve never taken a tango class in your life but you’ve always been curious. Whether you are just looking to get a basic sense of tango or build on the moves you’ve already mastered, DNI Tango is an all around great option. Tango lessons are an excellent prelude to an evening out at a milonga, and visiting a milonga is an absolute must in this city!
When we go out to a milonga we never know what might happen. We might dance the night away or not get asked to dance at all. There are a couple reasons why your night out in the tango scene could yield different outcomes. It’s all about how you present yourself and how much you know about “tango etiquette”.
These tips may helpful to people who are starting to venture out into the world of tango. Remember that each venue is a little bit different so some of these tips may or may not apply to every milonga. All in all, if you want to dance Argentine tango just keep calm and carry on dancing!
People visiting Buenos Aires often wonder if they should go to a tango show or go to a milonga. First of all, “what is a milonga?” people often ask. A milonga is an event at which tango music is played, and people who love tango gather at the milonga to dance.
At a milonga you will be able to see locals who have danced tango their whole lives practice their hobby which is one of Argentina’s national treasures. So what is the best translation of a milonga? A tango dancehall is probably the best term to describe it in English. Milongas are happening every afternoon and every night all over Buenos Aires and yet they can be difficult to find. The elusive milongas where authentic Argentine tango is danced are usually found in Cultural Centers, parks and night clubs as well as some cafes and bars. There are usually one or two nights a week in which a venue will host a milonga. The schedules of milongas are subject to change hence the difficulty in locating them. Once you find one though, it is worth staying a while and observing not just the dance but the culture surrounding it. You will see authentic dancing and observe etiquette being played out that is unique to the tango scene.
A tango show on the other hand is sure to please you if you want to see a flashy broadway style rendition of Argentine tango. A tango show will feature an acrobatic tango style that you are unlikely to see in a milonga. In a milonga dancers usually avoid this style because the dance floor is usually too crowded for high kicks and low dips without getting hurt or hurting other dancers. The atmosphere is very different as well. At a tango show you are clearly the audience while at a milonga you are part of the scene, and you may even be asked to dance! However, there are ways to avoid being asked to dance if you don’t want to, which you can read about in another post: …..
If you cannot decide whether going to a tango show or visiting a milonga is right for you then why not try both? Buenos Aires is the perfect place to appreciate the acrobatics and glitz of a tango show and the authenticity and culture of a milonga all on the same trip!