If you ever had the dream to travel to Buenos Aires to learn tango, just do it, would be my recommendation. Whether you are a seasoned tango dancer or a complete beginner, there is a reason why people all over the world make the journey to study this beautiful dance style. Here is my introduction to where to learn tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
My journey into the world of tango
I started my journey in South America in Buenos Aires. My dance teacher in Australia had organised a tango tour and I jumped at the opportunity to join her. At the time I was still a complete beginner, with only 10 classes to my name!
On the very first night in Buenos Aires my teacher took me to a milonga. For those of you who are new to the world of tango, a milonga is a place where you dance tango. As I was quietly sitting, minding my own business one tall Argentinian approached me to dance on a completely empty dance floor. Terrified as I was, I said a shaky “si” and all that could go wrong, did go wrong. I stepped on his feet, could not follow his steps, was out of time with the music and to add insult to injury, had the whole club watching me fail. That being said, I survived and actually really enjoyed the experience. By the end of the night, in the wee hours of the morning, I felt incredibly lucky to have been part of it all. Or maybe it was just the Malbec going to my head. I felt grateful to have witnessed such skill and finesse of the dancers supported by talented musicians. I knew I was seeing something magical and to this day, Buenos Aires and this milonga holds a dear place in my heart. So if I have the nerve to offer you advice, it would be to go, go, go! You will NOT regret it.
What really surprised me was the sheer number of tourists coming to BA just to learn tango, and not just to learn but to study it seriously. I was not the only ‘gringa loca’ out there.
The tango professionals
Firstly, you have the professional tango teachers coming to brush up on their skills from all over the world. If you dare teach tango overseas, in countries like Australia, Germany, France or the U.S, it is pretty certain that you had received at least some of your training in Argentina. My Australian teacher makes the journey almost religiously every year. Each time taking private classes to enhance her technique and teaching methodology further. Tango is always evolving, transforming into something more sophisticated and refined. As such you need to continue to brush up on your skills.
The serious students
Secondly, you have the serious students who dream of becoming professional tango dancers performing and teaching worldwide. They usually come and stay for a while, a few months or years even and diligently perfect their technique. I heard many languages spoken within the dance schools, but French, Japanese and English featured heavily.
The complete beginners
And thirdly, you have the beginners to intermediate who come to just check it out. It was inspiring to see so many dancers coming here from different cultures, the locals and the foreigners mingling and enjoying each others’ company, people of all ages out there showing what they’ve got on the dance floor. A couple in their 80’s dancing next to two teenage girls. A young French couple dancing with a baby strapped to their back (astonishingly, the baby stayed asleep throughout the class and the milonga…coolest parents ever no?) It is such a melting pot of interesting and quirky characters that just to people watch can be fascinating.
Planning your tango holiday
If you plan to visit BA to learn tango it can be pretty daunting. But don’t worry, there are literally hundreds of dancing schools in BA and I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Below I am going to provide you with two tango dance schools to find your perfect class and teacher. By no means is this list exhaustive and no, I have not been paid to promote these schools. And with time you will start to find your way around the place, and will get recommendations here and there. Remember word of mouth is still the best method of finding good schools and teachers. Good luck my friends!
DNI Tango School
DNI Tango School is a popular and modern dance school in Buenos Aires. The school attracts a large number of tourists wanting to learn tango.
Set in a beautiful old mansion with an outdoor courtyard, beautiful wooden floors and a chandelier … the school is every dancers’ dream. There are 7 levels of dance classes on offer, from beginner to expert. If you are a complete beginner try the level 1 class. Every Saturday there is a practica where the teachers mingle with the students in an informal setting. The school also has folkloric, contemporary and yoga classes. Private lessons at the school are excellent.
The school even has its own lovely café offering delicious freshly squeezed juices and empanadas. Try their eggplant parmigiana, it’s delicious! If you want to buy tango shoes or clothes DNI have 2 shops, one inside the dance school another bigger one a few blocks away. I could literally live here.
Check their website for the class timetable as class schedule changes regularly.
Location: Bulnes 1011, Almagro, Buenos Aires
Cost: The first class is free, so you can try it risk free. Group classes are ar$ 100 pesos per class.
Private lessons are between ar$ 450 – ar$ 700 per hour, depending on the instructor.
Escuela Mundial de Tango Gabriela Elias
Escuela Mundial de Tango is a more traditional tango school popular with the locals. Set in a beautiful Cultural Centre – Centro Cultural Borges, it features excellent wooden floors and high ceilings, typical of colonial buildings in BA. There are classes every single day, throughout the day. Evening classes tend to be more popular so if you want to take a smaller class go during the day. They usually have special workshops taught by renowned tango instructors on the weekends which tend to be very popular aswell. Ask if you are unsure whether the class is suitable for your level. You dont need to have a partner for most classes.
Location: Viamonte 525, corner of Viamonte and San Martin, 2nd floor, Buenos Aires
Cost: 100 pesos per class. Discount if you buy a package of 10 classes
Private lessons are available.
For a more detailed list of tango schools in BA please visit the BA Tourist Website