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Celebrating the National Day of Tango in the City of Tango itself.

If you were out and about in Avenida de Mayo on Saturday 8th December, you would have found yourself in a wonderland of tango. Three stages, live music and a mixture of both dancing high heels and sneakers would have greeted you as you meandered your way along the infamous Buenos Aires street. 

La Gran Milonga Nacional is a yearly staple in Buenos Aires since 2007.  It preempts the National Day of Tango which is celebrated on the 11th  December - also incidently the birthday of the golden boy of tango, Carlos Gardel, who would be celebrating his 128th birthday if he could be here with us today.  La Gran Milonga Nacional is when Avenida de Mayo transforms itself into a 8000sqm dance floor for anyone inclined, complete with seating for those wishing to sit and enjoy, and a sprinkling of magic with hundreds of fairy lights. For those who are used to smaller milonga halls, it can be a shock to see just how many tourists and locals alike can be crammed into such a big space and still find a way to dance without trodding on toes.  You are also quite likely to find people dancing where ever they can find space - whether that is in a designated area, or simply in the corner behind the chairs.  

Most amazing to admire perhaps, is the ability for two people dancing together to get lost in the moment of the music and movement with each other, rather than being acutely aware of the hundreds of other people dancing around them. This is what makes tango so special. While the leader must still have a sense of whats around them and how others are moving about the floor, nothing really exists between the two dancers except the ´here and now´ within the music.  And nothing makes this more evident than watching a follower with their eyes closed, on a crowded street/dance floor with their leader dreamily moving smoothly together, seemingly dancing in an invisible bubble oblivious of those around them. 

Also, you will notice that the high kicks and lightening speed flicks that you see during tango shows, is not present in a milonga such as this. This is traditional milonga, which has been danced for many many years in halls (and probably alleyways) of this city. The most important part of this style isn´t whether you can do some amazing dance move. It is if you can connect and be with your dance partner for those three songs and enjoy the moment with them. Which sounds quite easy if it is at an outdoor milonga, under a clear sky, with a warm breeze, and right in the beating heart of the City of Tango. 

That said, if you did manage to make it and to stay late (in true porteño style), then you would have been in for a treat as the Piazzolla Tango Show dancers gave a dazzling performance for the audience. These performers work hard at their art, and to be able to convey a sense of ease when performing such daring moves in high slitted dresses and high heels, is deserving of all the credit they get. 

If you missed the milonga, make sure you head out for a tango treat on the 11th December - whether that means watching an orchestra, dancing a tango or taking a class. You won´t regret it. 


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