Saturday, December 18, 2010

Milonga me up!

A couple of old pros.
Buenos Aires is well-known for its (expensive) (and touristy) tango shows.  The set dinner menu, full-orchestra, and extravagant suits & dresses the performers wear may well make a visit worthwhile; but we can't speak to that because we never went.  Instead, we opted for the far cheaper, and perhaps more fun, milonga tango experience.

A milonga is simply a place where tango is danced.  And we visited La Viruta milonga twice - first with Lynda & Steve and then Sue & Howie.  Both times we reserved a table and for a cover of $6 USD per person.*   In part it is so cheap because the milonga is in a community center recreation room!  But it had a proper dance floor, some stage lighting, and tables all around.  It was kinda like being in Dirty Dancing - The Sequel in Argentina.

Milonga are a fun way to watch and learn tango because they start (or at least La Viruta starts) with tango lessons.  So from 10:30 until 12:00 we all took beginner tango lessons. 
Actually, before any lessons the professionals dance around making the tango look super easy.
It is not.
Those 7 steps look easy, but can be tricky, especially in a crowded dance floor.  After the 90 minutes of lessons are up, the dance floor clears and local milongueros (people who frequent milongas) took over.  Old & young, fat & thin, good-looking & not-as-good-looking Argentines graced the dance floor and danced incredible tango.

Better at tango than horseback riding.
It is hard to explain how good the local dancers were.  Suffice it to say that as bad as we were - and we were bad - they were good.  They sailed and glided over the entire dance floor.  They effortlessly bobbed and weaved through the masses of untrained and novice milongueros, i.e. Jesse and me, Lynda and Steve, Howie & Sue (who only after a few hours of bumping into people realized that the entire dance floor danced clockwise, and not counter-clockwise).

Instructor: ¨You are very good.  But you keep bumping into people.¨
Howie: ¨Yes.  Why are all these people going the wrong way?¨
Instructor:  ¨I am very sorry.  You are going the wrong way¨
Howie: ¨No hablo espanol¨
It was fun to watch.

But they got the hang of it pretty quickly...
Nonetheless, the lessons were fun, the drinks cheap (and whiskeys large), and the experience well worth having.

Look at those smiles.  That is the sign of a fun milonga.
Or the general happiness as a result of my moustache.

La Viruta Milonga
$25 pesos cover charge
Call in advance to reserve a table.  Request on right on the dance floor.

See some pictures in our Milonga Album.

* Actually, at the end of each tango lesson they sell half-priced tickets.  So the second visit only cost $3per person.


  1. You neglected to mention that Lynda and I were in the first group of new tango dancers to be chosen by the instructor to demonstrate our new talents to the others............we assumed this was because of superior performance, but quickly realized that more likely it was for comic relief. Also, learning tango in Spanish is very hard for us Americanos who speak only English. And lastly, how about when we had to switch partners and tango with other new tango dancers who did not speak English - that was a real hoot! All in all, a great evening!!!

  2. I have not laughed so hard (at myself or anyone else) in a long time. Thanks for the smiles and sharing part of your adventure with us. We had a blast!!!

  3. Lynda had me rolling on the floor with laughter when she described how she and Steve tangoed around the dance floor. It sounds like great fun.


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