Tango BA, Buenos Aires’ 20th annual tango festival, is in full swing. So, if you’re curious to explore Argentina’s most sensual and emblematic art form, check out some of the programming during its biggest event of the year.
Through Sunday, September 3, the city will host a range of events celebrating the traditional Argentine dance, from movies, concerts, and readings to classes, performances, and milongas.
The headline event is El Mundial de Tango (The Tango World Cup), a multi-day tournament to determine the best tangueros and tangueras in two categories: Tango de Pista (Dance Floor Tango) and Tango Escenario (Stage Tango), with 40 dancers competing in the former and 20 in the latter. The final is scheduled for Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on Diagonal Norte, in front of the Obelisk.
Some other notable events on the calendar include, but are far from limited to:
- Balletango, a fusion of ballet and tango, directed by Teatro Colón’s Matias Santos, at the Usina del Arte on Friday at 6:00 p.m.
- Angel, a short film about tango, at the Museo de Cine on Friday at 5:00 p.m.
- The Buenos Aires Tango Orchestra, directed by Maestros Néstor Marconi and Juan Carlos Cuacci, at the Usina del Arte on Saturday at 9:00 p.m.
There will be milongas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at the Milonga Parakultural, La Bicicleta Tango Club, and La Viruta Tango Club, respectively. You can also try your hand (and feet) at a tango class with former world champion dancer Natacha Poberaj and her partner, el Gato Valdez, on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in Plaza Colombia. These events are free, but most require reservations that tend to go fast, so plan accordingly.
Tango was born along the Rio de la Plata, in Argentina and Uruguay, towards the end of the nineteenth century. The dance has both African and European influences but is distinctly a product of the countries’ immigrant communities, many of which settled in the poorer neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In fact, the tango originated in the brothels and clandestine bars of these cities — particularly in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires — before migrating to their more affluent salons.
In 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the Rioplatense dance to its world heritage list, claiming that it “embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue.”