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Piazzolla Tango Review

Astor Piazzolla is the spirit and inspiration for this tango show centrally located in the depths of the heart of Buenos Aires. Piazzolla’s revolutionary approach to creating and composing tango music during the 50’s, cemented him in tango’s history as the world’s foremost composer of tango music.

Just off Calle Florida (the pedestrian way), Piazzolla Tango is located in the basement of Galeria Guemes, an old gallery whose name has completely faded and rubbed off, making it all the more secretive.  If you’re having some trouble finding it, make sure you enter into this arcade to find the show. There are no signs on the street to indicate where it is. Down several flights of marble stairs, the tango class is held in a well decorated salon which was initially a tearoom/cafe when the gallery was constructed. It was during the 50’s that Abdulah Club, as it was known to the privileged and famous of tango composers, is said to have housed burlesque shows and shown erotic movies until these type of shows lost their appeal.  It was not until 2003 that this gallery (and the theatre) was rescued and restored to the well decorated gold and red gem that it is today.

Recommended to those attending the tango show, this complimentary tango class is a great introduction to the basic steps of tango. Taught by two of the performers, the class is in Spanish with English translations but these can be delivered rather rapidly so you need to be on the look out for them. During the introductions where attendees announce where they are from, the teachers make a note and try to translate, where possible, into other languages including portuguese and Italian.  At half an hour long, it keeps your interest without letting the rumbles of a hungry tummy get overwhelming.

On the other side from this salon is the theatre.  While modest in its size, it makes up with grandeur in lavish red and gold decor. Gold lion heads line the white pillars along with red velvet curtains giving the place a very regal feel. With a capacity of 350 persons, the main floor is lined with tables which are separated by wine holders, meaning diners will retain a sense of ‘their table’ without being locked between strangers. The walls are lined with booths which are for the VIP patrons. Seating up to four people each and accessed through red velvet lined archways, these booths offer not only a great view but dining privacy. There are also balcony booths on the second level for those wanting a higher view of the stage.  The front booths can sometimes obscure the view of some of the band, since they sit at the back of the stage, however you never miss a single moment of the dancing.

The waiters are extra attentive and helpful with whatever questions may arise. Extra options within each course and a higher quality of wine are what separate the VIP menu and the standard menu. A vegetarian option is available in both standard and VIP and the menus are written in english, spanish, portuguese and french.

The show is captivating not only for the sexy costumes and style of high calibre performers, but for the intimacy the small theatre brings, where you are close enough to see the breath and emotion of the singers. The show pays homage to the roots of tango where men used to dance with men (apparently while waiting for their turn inside the brothels), and opens up the first solo dance with a brave and daring couple whose dramatic dancing generated an occasional gasp as the woman executed the difficult moves perfectly, just inches away from the walls. The ganchos fly at lightning speed and are sometimes so quick that you miss them.  

Bear in mind that the show is about 80 minutes and starts at 9.45pm which can make for a long evening if you are attending the class at 7.45pm as well. There is an opportunity for a photo with some dancers as well should you wish.

Overall, Piazzolla Tango makes an excellent choice for those staying in the City Centre and who wish for a tango show with a theatre feel that retains a sense of intimacy and luxury.


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