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Christmas Tango Shows 2019

Photo Credit: Gustavo Brazzalle

Christmas is a just 3 sleeps away and the longest day of the year is looking like it is going to be a sunny one. The city is dressed up with tinsel, lights and festivities. Schools are out, meaning the streets are full of boisterous young porteños out enjoying their summer freedom. Christmas is a summer festival for Buenos Aires, meaning the long warm sultry evenings are enjoyed well into the early hours with friends and family. Papa Noel still delivers the presents on the night of the 24th, but being Nochebuena, parents have invented the story that he manages to sneak past everybody to leave the presents under the tree as the children are outside admiring the fireworks. He sounds pretty nimble for a big, jolly man dressed in a heavy woolen suit.

If you have ever spent a Christmas or New Year here in the years prior, you know that fireworks light up the nightsky a plenty during these celebrations. While the amount of fireworks continues to reduce each year, the noise is certainly plenty enough to hide any sleigh bells that Santa´s magical sleigh might accidentally make, leaving children with no doubt that Papa Noel could quite possibly have flown overhead and they wouldn´t be any the wiser. 

There are many ways of celebrating Christmas and New Year here in the city but since you are in the city of Tango, why not spice it up with spending the evening out at a tango show. Several tango shows are offering special Christmas Eve shows that often offer extras like welcome cocktails, a gala dinner, wonderful tango show, a glass of champagne at midnight and the opportunity to continue the party after the show, with a DJ.  La Ventana, Gala Tango, El Viejo Almacen, Piazzolla Tango and Madero Tango are offering special shows on Christmas Eve.  Remember, you are able to book right up until the 24th.

It is highly recommended over the holiday season to prebook everything. Public transportation can seem non existent on the holiday days as they run a very reduced schedule and delays are inevitable - take note that between 9pm and 3am on the celebration days, there are almost no buses or taxis. Many restaurants require reservations as well. All the hard work is done for you with a tango show though and you don't have to worry about being stranded without a taxi. Besides, this is Buenos Aires whose heart and soul is about tango. What better way to celebrate the festive season?

If you are arriving here after Christmas for the New Year, you have a wide variety of options for your New Year celebrations.  All the tango shows are offering specially planned events to welcome in the New Year and offer an excellent way to give you a unique start to 2020. Transfers, cocktails, dinner, tango show - all followed by parties until the wee small hours of the morning. Madero Tango is even offering the additional surprise of watching fireworks go off over the docks of Puerto Madero. Whether it’s traditional (Cafe de Los Angelitos), romantic (Gala Tango, La Ventana), extravagant (Madero Tango, Señor Tango, Rojo Tango) or bohemian (El Viejo Almacen, El Querandi), you are sure to find a New Year´s Eve tango show that suits your style.

Feliz Navidad and may you tango yourself into a wonderful New Year.

3rd Festival Independiente de Tango en Urchasdonia

Summer has arrived with a hiss and a roar and a relentless sun beating down from the cloudless blue sky. The city is on the cusp of the humid suffocating heat that accompanies full summer here, but for a few more weeks, the nights will cool off just enough and the day time breeze will keep you from overheating. The city has turned purple under the shade of the jacaranda flowers and the porteños are happy to finally have shaken off the long winter that 2019 brought us. There is more movement in the city, the people are out enjoying the parks and weekend asados are plentiful.

If you are in town at the moment and are really feeling like a little grass roots tango, get yourself along to the events of the 3rd Festival Independente de Tango en Urchasdonia. The title might be a bit of a mouthful for those non-native spanish speakers, but the tango is first class and the community is warm and welcoming. 

Taking its name from the amalgamation of the four neighbourhoods Villa Urquiza, Parque Chass, Villa Pueyrredon and Agronomia, this is barrio tango at its best. These aren't simply four neighbouring barrios. Some of the most infamous milongas are held in these areas - Sin Rumbo, Sunderland, Milonga del Moran. And El Faro (The Lighthouse) cafe has been a long standing patron to the tango that exudes from these neighbourhoods. It has been a beacon for tango lovers since 1931, featuring an immense amount of intimate concerts of instruments and singers over this time including, Cucuza and Alberto Podesta. 

The third year of running, Urchasdonia is a way to encourage people to view their neighbourhoods differently. To notice and connect on their very own streets, and celebrate the connections that can happen in their own backyards. In a world where so much value is placed on being global, or being seen, or connected worldwide, this festival encourages people to come back to their roots and see the friendships and cultural connections that exist on their very own doorstep. Promising milongas, concerts, music, singers, classes and friendship this festival truly celebrates the artists and dancers from this vibrant part of the city. 

The festival runs from the 15th to the 19th November. On the 15th, the opening event is just a few blocks from the end of Linea B subte (Las Rosas station) so there really is no excuse for not heading down to check out the fabulous street art, the gorgeous dancers Marcelo and Lucila, and wonderful singer Cucuza. Stick around Villa Urquiza and head to El Faro later in the evening to enjoy a true porteño tango experience. 

Since it is a long weekend in the city, the events continue every day. On Sunday, you are promised a wonderful afternoon of music as singers go head to head in the final of the contest ¨Jorge Casal¨at Club Agronomia. It all wraps up with a Monday afternoon Milonga including a class. There is no excuse not to dip your toes in the dancing pool since the weather promises to be fine and its right after siesta time.

Check out https://www.facebook.com/festivaltangourchasdonia/ for more information or @marceloylucila on Instagram.

The tango show like no other - Carmen the Tango

(Photo credit and copyright David Andrews)

As tango shows go, this one is quite different. Still incorporating the story telling of unrequited love, passion, deceit and abandonment (which is common is almost all tango shows), this show embraces the beauty and expression of both Salon and stage tango and also folkloric dance, allowing the storyline and characters to be easily conveyed and developed through the talented dancers ́ beautiful movements. 

You are probably familiar with Carmen, the Bizet opera that shocked its French audiences back in 1875 with its passionate and scandelous storyline which climaxes with the lead character´s murder on stage. Carmen is a free spirited gypsy who seduces military man Don José, making him release her despite being arrested for assalting another woman and he is thrown in jail for not doing his duty. Despite reuniting with Carmen after his release, and running away with her and a group of smugglers, Carmen gets bored of Don José and sends him back to his mother. She then falls for the enigmatic bullfighter Escamillo and a love triangle ensues, which ends with Don José murdering Carmen in a jealous rage. 

Musically, Carmen has given us two of some of the best known operatic arias: the Habanera from Act 1 and the Toreador Song from Act 2. While Bizet adapted ¨L´amour est un oiseau rebelle¨ (the actual name of what is known as the Habanera from Carmen) from what he thought was a folk song, it was actually adapted from the habanera El Arreglito by Spanish composer Sebastián Iradier. 

Full of love and passion, Carmen is ripe to be remade and told through dance, and what more appropriate dance than the flirtatious and sensual Argentine Tango? That´s what went through Parasol Arts Creative Director Lorita Travaglia´s head who is the master mind behind this wonderful piece of choreography and dance. Seeing the emotional response of the audience to the 2018 production, she has been excited to present the show for its second year running in Denver Colorado. ¨If a show can move you to tears, it´s a success¨. 


Featuring the talents of Donato Juarez as Don José, Diana Cruz as Carmen and Marcelo Molina as Escamillo, Carmen is presented by Parasol Arts which is a professionally operated non-profit organisation providing a space for the collaboration of dancers, musicians, vocalists and creative artists in unique and original theatrical productions. They endeavour to bring the joy and passion of Argentine Tango to new audiences. They have also recently brought us Tango Portraits in Love which is the stories of eight people whose lives are entwined. Their paths cross in a variety of roles (lovers, partners, exes, acquaintances) but ultimately in friendship.  It is described as ¨an exploration of love and human relationships through narration of poetry, lyrics, philosophy and Argentine Tango.

While the performances of Carmen the Tango have finished for the season, once a sponsor is found, this show will be on the road in the United States. It would be wonderful to see this interpretation of the opera Tchaikovsky described as ¨a masterpiece in every sense of the word … one of those rare creations which expresses the efforts of a whole musical epoch¨ brought to the home of its dance - Buenos Aires

Review of Carmen the Tango:


Bravo bravo!!!!! Bravisimo!!! Bravo!!!!

We both very much enjoyed your CARMEN: the Tango production Lorita, it was absolutely, utterly and completely magnificent!! I say this, as it brought tears of love to my eyes in the last few minutes!

The roles, the costume, the sound, the lighting, the colors, the movement, the expression, the telling… the entire event was magnificently precise and suffuse with fulfilling engagement!

Ahem… Well done, to say the least.

Again, great thanks and gratitude for the blessing of opportunity for our attendance.”


To find out more about Parasol Arts and the beautiful work that they do, you can find more information about the performers, shows and ticket sales on their website:


Tango and La Boca - 149 years on.

La Boca. You have probably heard of it. It´s a barrio down in the south east corner of Buenos Aires, squished between Barrancas, San Telmo and the River Plata. It houses famous tourist delights and tango milongas, but outside of this tourist area, it remains a relatively poor neighbourhood. However, this year it has a big celebration on its hands. 

Celebrating 149 years, this barrio (and indeed the tango dance itself) was heavily influenced by the many immigrants coming from Genoa, Italy in search of a better life. Together with African, Spanish, English, Italian, Polish and Russian cultures, this melting pot crafted out the beginnings of the Argentine tango  which has morphed and changed into what we know it to be today. Its beginnings are murky - indeed no direct origin for the word ´tango´ can be found - but it was born from gatherings of slaves and lower class free people, before gaining popularity and being taken out into the word by the traveling rich young upper class of Buenos Aires. Apparently in 1789, authorities placed a ban on tango musical gatherings which probably only served to make it more tantilising than it already was. It is worth noting, that the music and development of tango was not restricted to La Boca, but also was found in Montevideo, Uruguay as well, making it truly a gem of the River Plata.

Back to La Boca. This barrio is proud of its connection to tango, the musicians and writers that have come from its streets, and, of course, being the home to the infamous football team Boca Juniors. La Bombonera is their home stadium and it stands proudly in the middle of this barrio. Come game day, the streets are a mob of blue and yellow, and loud with the music from members of La Doce (or the Twelfth Player) who also dictate which songs are sung throughout the game.  You can practically taste the passion. There is even a saying that ¨La Bombonera no tiembla. Late¨ or ¨The Bombonera doesn´t tremble, it beats¨ since its one unique vertical side of seats was known to shake when fans started jumping all together.  And the fans jump together often. And wave their arm letting their hand shake towards the team. Their excitement is palpable. Many players have come and played on its holy ground, but probably none arguably as famous as Diego Armando Maradona who returned to finish his playing career for the Boca Juniors.

You have probably also seen the gorgeous pictures of brightly painted walls and the sultry tango couple striking a remarkable pose in front of it. This is El Caminito, a street musuem that was created in 1950 when neighbours and local artist Benito Quinquela Martín, decided to regenerate the area. Martín used the wood and sheet metal buildings as canvas, which were traditionally painted by whatever coloured paint was had left over from boat painting, so they say. El Caminito itself follows a dried up stream that linked to the river, and what had previously been a railway line. The conventillos or communal dwellings were where people lived but also gathered to dance.

If you are out and about over this weekend and want to catch some of the festivities, check out https://www.infobae.com/deportes-2/2019/08/23/el-emotivo-video-de-boca-para-celebrar-el-149-aniversario-del-barrio/. It also has a lovely video about the barrio that is worth watching. 

Eco-tourism, bikes and tango in Buenos Aires

If there is one thing the city of Buenos Aires was definitely made for, it was cycling. For a start, it is a flat as a pancake, with straight streets, in a grid like fashion. The only thing really holding it back is the traffic. As anyone who has taken a taxi ride in Buenos Aires will contest, driving here is very similar to being in a video game, where lines are more suggestions rather than actual lanes to follow, hazard lights flashing mean ¨looking for a carpark but will probably end up just double parked¨, indicators are just for show and very rarely used, the give-way-to-the-right at intersections has exceptions which include who has the biggest car or who is going fastest, the horn is an appropriate way to convey your feelings and speed limits are simply numbers that mean nothing. Biking, really, was taking your life in your hands and you needed eyes in all directions and it was inevitable that you would end up on the bumpy footpath to make sure you arrived safely at your destination. 

But all of that has changed since 2015. The city started building more cycleways - also know as bicisendas. These bicycle lanes are dual direction and are separated from the traffic with a little barrier. Usually these remain car free although it has been known to have had irate neighbours who are angry at their parking space being taken, parking in it anyway. In addition to that, the local council has also added Ecobici. Ecobici is the city´s free to use, bright orange bicycle rental system that allows you to access a free bike from almost 400 stations, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  And with 4000 bikes available, there should be one very close to you. There is over 200km of bike lanes interconnected throughout the city including through the infamous ¨green lungs¨ parks of Palermo, so whether you are after a small or large ride, you should be able to bike to your hearts content.

But what has that to do with tango you ask? Well, in today´s climate of sustainable tourism, a tango enthusiast might just find that biking from milonga to milonga is rather a good option instead of opting for waiting for a taxi. There are a few rules about using the bikes which include being over 18 if a tourist, only having an hour (or 2 hours on weekends and holidays) to use the bike before having to return it to a station and needing to use an App on your smart phone. If you need your bike for longer, you can simply return it and wait 5 minutes before asking for another. By using the interactive map at https://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/ecobici/red-ciclovias/estacionamiento, you can see the closest bike station to you and see all the lanes crisscrossing the city. 

If you fancy getting out and filling your night dancing tango, you could start off the evening by heading to La Glorieta, the open air milonga held in the old bandstand in Barrancas de Belgrano. Jump on an Ecobici bike and either head to Salon Canning or Club Malcolm in Palermo or even all the way to El Tacuari or La Mariposita in San Telmo. Thinking of finishing off the night at La Viruta in the hope to catch their 5am medialunas? There is an Ecobici station on the corner of Gorriti and Armenia, a block and a half away from the milonga. And rumour has it, the medialunas are totally worth it. 

But what about the chaotic traffic, I hear you wonder. Well, cars are not the only thing you have to look out for while biking in this city. In a city where pedestrians are always in the right, new bike lanes are taking some getting used to for porteños who are used to only dealing with chaotic traffic. It is not uncommon for people to simply step out to cross the road without looking both ways, or to wait at an intersection standing right in the bike lane. Otherwise, get out there, feel the wind in your hair (no helmets required!), and enjoy all this city has to offer on two wheels.