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A Guide to Choosing a Tango Show

Photo credit Ornella M. on Flickr.com


Since Buenos Aires offers its tourists an abundance of everything tango, it can be a little overwhelming to sift through the myriad of tango shows on offer to find the one that will be the gem of your experience in this intoxicating city.  From the discerning milonguero to the budget conscious backpacker, there is a tango show for everyone - whether you are looking for a full evening experience including three course dinner and show or a show-only option for an injection of tango into your evening.

So, “which tango show should I choose?” you ask. You've read the online reviews extensively and have a storm cloud of possibilities whizzing around in your head. Well, we’ve done some leg-work (high heeled and all) to bring you a list of shows under umbrellas to give you some help in deciding what type of evening you’re looking for.  Note that some shows will come under various umbrellas, meaning they will satisfy an array of desires.

By Popular Demand
Tried and tested by many, these tango shows are long-standing favourites amongst the visitors to Buenos Aires.  Do not be put off by the extent of their popularity - these places have not become the fast food giants of tango shows. They have authentic charm and flawless shows and work hard to keep up their good reputation. The dancers and orchestras are talented and their performances impeccable every night. For those looking for something steeped with history, the Esquina Carlos Gardel tango show is held in the old theatre haunt of tango legend Carlos Gardel. If you’re staying in the heart of the popular old tango district San Telmo, El Viejo Almacen brings to life its small historic ballroom and La Ventana delights you in a warm 1940s vintage wine cellar ambience.

For an Intimate Experience
Who can’t help but fall for the romantic charm that Buenos Aires has and the sexy sensual tango is sure to make anyone swoon, making it the perfect night out for a date in this gorgeous city. For those looking for the romantic experience of the intimate ambience a smaller venue can give you, then look no further than the opulent and luscious settings of Gala Tango and Rojo Tango. Offering superb VIP packages in a cosy atmosphere where you can be close enough to see the sequins on the dancers’ costumes, these shows ensure an elegant and romantic evening for you and your partner with a fine dining experience. Those looking for romance and intimacy in a theatre setting, should head to Cafe de los Angelitos, whose refined baby blue and gold theatre makes for a charming evening at very affordable prices.

For the Dancer Within - a tango lesson
If you’re more of a hands on type traveler, you might be eager to dip your toes into the tango waters and try your hand at this dance of love. While you won’t be learning leg flicks and high boleos, many shows including La Ventana, Complejo Tango, Gala Tango and Piazzolla Tango offer a free tango lesson before the show, giving you a taster of this beautiful dance and the chance to also meet one or two of the performers who assist in these classes. While the one hour tango lessons are included in the dinner packages, they require reservation so make sure you request the tango lesson when making your purchase.  

The Traditionalist
For those looking for the historic ghosts of the traditional tango, look no further than El Querandi or El Viejo Almacen, both of whom pays tribute to the history of tango. These golden gems offer their guests a trip back down memory lane sticking to traditional music, compositions and ambience. For the musicians amongst you, the show Piazzolla Tango is dedicated to the 1950s music composed by Astor Piazzolla - a bandoneon player who brought tango to the orchestra scene - and whose music is known extensively throughout the world.

The Modern Twist
For those who are looking for something a bit more modern and contemporary, some shows are now embracing the ever-evolving branch of modern tango into their shows. With brighter lights and dynamic stage productions, these shows can offer an entertaining and spectacular show. Set in the heart of the glitzy suburb of Puerto Madero, Madero Tango offers a stunning view of the Rio De La Plata, reminding patrons of the humble seafaring immigrants who created the tango dance that is now danced in both historic and modern day Buenos Aires and the world. If you’re truly looking for something different, try Señor Tango - whose round stage and innovative lighting guarantees a spectacular show.

Tango and Folklore
The other child of Argentine music is folk music. It is to the campo (countryside) what tango is to the city. A dynamic and charming style, its rhythms are strong, its sentiments joyful and its sound is warm. Some shows offer an injection of this style to its patrons as a way of showing more of their country and its dance. It is not uncommon for tangueros to dance several of the folk dances (chacarera or zamba) at a milonga (dancehall) so its place within a tango show is not without reason.  The boleadoras set is not to be missed as a male dancer dressed as a gaucho (cowboy) uses two long ropes, each with a ball at the end, to accompany his zapateo (shoe tapping dance). It is dynamic, rhythmic and energetic. Sabor a Tango’s high quality folklore act comes recommended for those eager for a show with a bit more than tango, while La Ventana and El Viejo Almacen also include an Andean music and gauncho dance in their tango shows.

Budget Conscious Traveller
So you’ve made it to Buenos Aires but limited funds means you’re unsure whether a tango show is an option for you during your stay. Have no fear - there are tango shows that deliver a quality show for those with a smaller budget so you don’t have to miss out. So if you prefer something with a showcase note (Taconeando was founded by the 1920s Argentine star Beba Bidart) or related to tango music’s history (Esquina Homero Manzi pays homage to tango writer Homero Manzi), or something with sumptuous decor (Sabor a Tango is housed in Palacio Rossini which was home to the Opera Singers Guild), be sure to check out these budget-friendly options.

Upgrading to VIP
Everyone loves an upgrade, so what exactly is your VIP upgrade getting you? The options can include a guarantee of a private booth or a balcony seat on a higher floor (Piazzolla Tango, Esquina Carlos Gardel, Cafe de los Angelitos) or front row seating (Madero Tango, La Ventana, El Querandi, Complejo Tango) which gives you and your date privacy and a clearer view of those amazing dance moves. Upgrading to VIP also includes a more elaborate menu with more course options and finer wine choices to accompany your meal. It’s a little bit extra for better views and an upgraded menu which is sure to enhance your tango show experience.

Reviews
Still want to read a little more about your options? Here are some happy Tangotix customers who enjoyed the shows so much that they wanted to share their experience on TripAdvisor. Click on the show you’ve chosen to read what they had to say about the show:

Rojo Tango
Esquina Carlos Gardel 
La Ventana
Viejo Almacen

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