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!