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Tango, Tango

May 9, 2016

“Tango should come with a warning label – this could be highly addictive” Rommel Oramas told my friend Victoria Braden and me as we were about to start our Tango lesson in Buenos Aires. Francisca Durao – our instructor and guide for the evening – and Rommel, her dance partner,  should know. Both of them changed their lives for this dance. Francisca even moved here from Portugal!

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Vicki and I had been traveling through Patagonia for two weeks and decided to spend an extra day in Buenos Aires on the way home. And how can you go to Buenos Aires and not experience Tango?? I realize there are many touristy Tango shows in this city, but I wanted to experience it the way the locals do, in a traditional Milonga, and to start things out right have a Tango lesson myself.

We met Francisca and Rommel at a small dance studio for our introductory lesson. During this time we were taught how to correctly walk, do some simple turns and most importantly how to listen to your dance partner. Argentine Tango is a dance which is mostly improvised and the man will lead the dance.

The lesson passed much to quickly, we said good-bye to Rommel and continued on with Francisca to a local Milonga (a dance hall for Tango). The hall was filled with people of all ages and it was clear that they were all pretty experienced dancers. We spent over two hours here during which we were able to observe the dancing while Francisca explained  Tango etiquette and its history to us.

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In the room women were sitting on one side of the dance floor, men on the opposite side. If a man would like to dance with a woman, he will nod at her. If she looks back at him, he will ask her to dance, if she does not want to dance with him, she will look away. There are different types of hold in the Tango – a close hold and an open one – and the woman decides which one she prefers.


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The dances are grouped into sets of four, each set lasting about 12 minutes (sometimes referred to as the 12 minutes of love). Each set is interrupted by a non-Tango piece of music. It would be very bad manners to leave your dance partner during a set! At the end of the set everyone sits down and will then pick a dance partner once the Tango music starts again. Three types of music are played in a Milonga: the traditional Tango, a Tango waltz and a Milonga (which has a bit of a faster rhythm than a Tango). The music will not change during a set so nobody will end up dancing to music they do not like.

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We had a wonderful evening and were sad when it ended but very grateful for this experience.

If you happen to travel to Buenos Aires and would like to have a perfect Tango experience, you can contact Narrative Tango who set up this wonderful experience for us.

And if you would like to see pictures of the rest of my Patagonia trip I invite your to take a look at my website.



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