What is the best tango show in Buenos Aires?

Ah, the tango! What a unique gift from Buenos Aires to the the rest of world. It’s sensual, seductive, captivating and definitely not to be missed. So you’ll probably want to go to a great tango show while in town, right?
Well, perhaps not. And prepare yourself for a statement you’ll almost never hear from people working in tourism: tango dinner-shows were created specifically for tourists. In fact, to describe this kind of pricey dinner-show that’s now so prevalent in Buenos Aires, the local tango community has coined the term tango exportado (“tango for export”); meaning it caters to what the average tourist thinks tango should be about.
There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that in and of itself (a tango dinner-show can still be a fun night’s entertainment). Nor of course is there any problem with being a tourist, and engaging in tourism. BuenosTours guides love being tourists when not showing people around Buenos Aires! However, the aim at BuenosTours has always been to provide an authentic snapshot of the city, it’s history and culture for anyone passing through and taking a tour. With that in mind, a tango dinner-show is probably just about as unauthentic as you can get.

Discovering the authentic local dance of Buenos Aires

People dancing at a milonga in Palermo, Buenos Aires
In the real world of Buenos Aires tango, if you want to watch people dance, you wouldn’t go to a dinner-show. It’s extremely rare to see locals at such events. For a start, the shows are usually too expensive for the average or even above-average earning local. Money aside, those shows are not what traditional Argentine tango is about.
In the spirit of full transparency, it should be mentioned that for years BuenosTours has recommended and sold tickets to tango shows in Buenos Aires. No one at BuenosTours was madly in love with the idea of selling them, but clients were asking for these shows, and that old principle of “the customer is always right” came to the fore.

No more tango dinner-shows

Now, to cut a long story short: BuenosTours has come to the decision not to sell tango shows anymore.
From here on out, if you choose BuenosTours, you will instead be given the most authentic and interesting experiences available, whether it be a walk around the city, or an excursion into the world of tango.
So, how can you have a more authentic tango experience in Buenos Aires without seeing a show? You’re asking an excellent question!

The REAL local tango scene

Some people visiting Buenos Aires wonder if they should go to a tango show or a milonga. A common question is also, “what’s a milonga?”. Well, a milonga is an event at which tango music is played, and local people who love tango gather to dance.
At a milonga you will be able to see locals who have danced tango their whole lives practice this beautiful art, one of Argentina’s national treasures.
Tango dancers in Buenos Aires, Argentina
So, what is the best translation of the word milonga? A tango dancehall is probably the best way to describe it. Milongas are happening every night all over Buenos Aires and yet they can be difficult to find. The elusive milongas where authentic Argentine tango is danced are usually found in Cultural Centers, parks and dance clubs. The schedules and locations of milongas are subject to change, hence the difficulty in locating them.

Here’s where TangoTrips comes in…

The founders of TangoTrips, a sister company of BuenosTours, saw two main ways that visitors are currently experiencing tango in Buenos Aires:

  • A big dinner-show production, with fantastic dancing but far from the real world of local tango, OR;
  • Going to an authentic tango salon alone, but with doubts about when & where to go, or exactly what is happening & why.

And so, the solution, TangoTrips, was born: a way for visitors to enjoy Argentine tango in its true form with the company of an expert guide. On a milonga tour with TangoTrips, you’ll discover the insider’s tango scene, and gain an understanding of the culture and social etiquette surrounding this famous local dance.
A tango show would feature an acrobatic “broadway” dancing style that you are unlikely to see in a local milonga, where dancers tend to avoid this flashy style. In lieu of that you’ll find Argentine social tango, which is not a form of showing off, but instead about the connection – el abrazo (the embrace) – between two dancers.

Find the real deal

TangoTrips offers a “tango night out” experience, rather than simply watching a staged production. Your guide takes you to the places the locals go and your “show” is real life. These are custom tours and every tour is slightly different based on the time and date you choose to take it. Your guide finds the most interesting places to take you during the times you have available, and will make sure you see the milongas with the right style and atmosphere to suit you.
Live tango singer in Buenos Aires
Due to the tour’s organic nature, there are always surprises on these excursions! From guest performances by well known dancers, to live music, and amazing singers, there are often unplanned delights on such evenings out with TangoTrips.
At a tango show you would clearly be part of the audience. At a milonga you are part of the scene.
You can click here to learn more about the TangoTrips Private Tango Nightlife tour, and book online.

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