When you travel to South America you should put Buenos Aires at the top of your list to visit. They don’t call Buenos Aires “The Paris of the South” for nothing! It’s a bustling city with gorgeous architecture, great food, awesome fashion; and, of course, the Tango!
According to most accounts, the Tango began around the 1880s. In Buenos Aires, the dance started in the working class neighborhood, or barrio called El Caminito. The brightly colored buildings and cobblestone streets add a festive backdrop for the dance.
Caminito means “little street” or “little path” in Spanish. The neighborhood is comprised of a series of winding little roads. Up and down as far as the eye can see are street artists and food vendors that have set up shop. It’s a popular tourist destination. Lovely paintings can be found that utilize the bright colors in the art that mirror the buildings. If you are lucky enough you might even see tango dancers performing for tourists. The colors of the buildings are so bright and fun, there’s a lot of excitement and vitality in this area.
Following the trip to El Caminito, I was ready to experience the Tango. One of the most popular tourist choices in Argentina is going to a dinner show that features the Tango. There are many Tango halls in Buenos Aires, but El Querandi is one of the most popular destinations. They are supposed to have the best Tango dancers in the city.
El Querandi Tango hall is located in the historic area of Buenos Aires. Much of the architecture that you find in Buenos Aires is a very ornate and stylized art deco. Just looking at the building transports you to a different time and place. It’s a very romantic style of building and architecture. According to the website Argentina Excepion, “the name Art Deco appeared in the 1960s to name the style that had conquered Paris in 1925 during the International Exhibition of Industrial Modern and Decorative Arts.”
Buenos Aires has a large Italian population, therefore there’s a lot of really great Italian food! According to our guide in Buenos Aires, in the 19th and 20th centuries, there was a proliferation of Italian immigrants that settled in Argentina. Many of the original communities that were formed in the city are still primarily comprised of Italians. You can imagine there are many really good restaurants and chefs in the area!
While visiting El Querandi I ordered a wonderful entre of homemade Tagliatelle pasta sauteed with olive oil, arugula, mushrooms, olives, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. It was to die for! Not to mention to delicious Malbec that accompanied the meal. When in Argentina, drink wine! Drink the Malbec.
For dessert, of course, I had the dulce de leche flan. It’s really popular and on most menus in Argentina. It was my favorite food on my trip. Delicious!
As I stated earlier, the Tango was started back in the 1800s along the border of Argentina and Uruguay. The dance trend was started in working-class areas of the country, primarily because that’s where the majority of immigrants and slaves had settled. Tango is a mixture of many different styles of dance including the Waltz, Polka, and many additional influences from around the world. When you see the dance, you can see the many influences that it encompasses.
There are many different ways to experience the music of the tango and to provide the backdrop for the dance. Guitars, pianos, accordions, as well as the human voice, accompany the dancers. You can find elaborate Tango shows, such as the one I attended, or even street performers dancing the Tango. Argentinians love the Tango!
One of the things that I found most interesting was the evolution of the dance that was illustrated in our show. From primarily a working class beginning you can imagine that at the time the dance began it was pretty risque for the time period. In a time where the Waltz was popular and so prim and proper, the Tango certianly added a different twist to dancing! Drama and emotion are the main themes of the dance. Tango is about relationships and the drama, passion, romance, and sometimes danger that accompany them.
The show at El Quiero highlighted each century and how the dance evolved. It was amazing to see just how the dance steps mirrored today’s society. The dance moves have become a lot more intimate and the costumes have become a lot more daring!
Buenos Aires is a wonderfully hip and vibrant city to visit. There’s so much to do and to see, especially when it comes to the arts. Eat, drink and be merry in Argentina!
See you next week when we visit the Recoleta Cemetary. Until then, xoxo