Posted by: adventuressetravels | September 16, 2011

Tango World Championship Festival: Beauty in Buenos Aires

Like the fading memory of a doomed love affair, ivy vines of melody wind their way through the streets. At once wistful and stirring, sensual and melancholy the haunting notes waft from the subways, drift out of the milongas, or tango dance clubs, and fill the markets, enchanting passersby drawing them into another world. And never more than the 18 days of the World Tango Championship and festival in August.

Dance is the life-blood of Buenos Aires, more specifically tango. From the Parisian elegance of Recoleta to the colorful streets of La Boca, tango permeates the city. Though many “porteños” take it for granted, or claim it to be old-fashioned or touristic, this tango culture has its mark on even the most skeptical of the Buenos Aires locals.

The city literally explodes into an opulent bouquet of colorful dancers and afiligree of music pours out of every available building. Theaters, cinemas, dance clubs, parks and even the planetarium host tango-related events. The festival is not just about dancing; it is about history, and culture.  People flock to the festival from every corner of the earth to see, hear and participate in this extravaganza of tango.

Some of the best tango bands and singers in the world grace the festival with their dulcet strains.  “Orquestas tipicas” full orchestras with piano, bass, violin and of course the ivy fingers of the bandoneons, revisiting the timeless works of Carlos Gardel, the maestro of tango, weave a memorizing rich tapestry with their music and pull in the hapless passersby. Capturing the attention of the

younger crowd, the streamlined tango nuevo bands throw tango into a blender with DJs, rock or hip hop, and pour out delicious fusion music cocktails. There really is something for everyone, so long as you like tango.

The tango culture is an amazing and addictive one, and the festival really is the best place to get started dancing.  Some of the best instructors in the city offer



free lessons for all levels. There is tango products fair where you can pick up your first pair of tango shoes and maybe an outfit or two. If you want to go a little deeper into the roots of tango there is also a film festival, or you can even stop by the tango book fair. Even if you don’t know the first thing about tango, you will walk out of the festival talking like a true tanguero, or tango aficionado.   

But as wonderful as all of the festival events are, they merely whet the appetite for the main attraction: the Tango World Championship in Luna Park.  The final two days of the festival the top dancers in the world compete for the title of

world champion.


The first day is the “tango salon” competition. Tango salon is the more traditional improvised tango.  Though not as ostentatious and flashy it has heart, soul and spontaneity. Many couples dance on stage at the same time to a song chosen by the festival coordinators. Without a choreographed routine, this is thought to display
the talent and relationship of each pair.

The man shifts his body giving all but imperceptible cues and the woman responding is like watching a relationship unfold before you.  The more one knows about tango the more the subtleties and intricacies of tango salon unfold, and the better the dance becomes.

Quite different but equally impressive is the “tango escenerio” competition, the final day of the championship.  Tango escenerio is a showier dance with more acrobatic or theatrical tango.  Each couple dances to a song they have chosen and perform their choreographed dance. You don’t need to know the first thing about tango to be wowed by the flips, leaps, whirls, and twirls of these phenomenal performances.

If you have even a passing interest in dance, this festival is really not to be missed.  Even better, these amazing concerts and exhibitions are free; however you do have to pick up tickets before the festival.  For more information go to the festival website at:


  1. Deja lue.

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