Tango. The mere mention of the word invokes images of sensuality, passion, and the forbidden. Buenos Aires‘ most famous export, when executed by the masters, is so sultry that it is almost uncomfortable to watch. There’s a reason why sex has been called the “horizontal tango,” however on this given night the professionals at Tango Porteño were going to show us the vertical version.
I met my friend at the entrance to Tango Porteño at 7:20. It was a hot and humid November evening. I guess the city was just trying to prepare me for the heat that the show was about to bring.
“How are you doing?” I ask as I greet Jasenka with a kiss on the cheek.
“Doing very well,” she replies. “How was London?”
“Fantastic! Thanks,” I say while holding the entrance door open for her.
We continue to chat while I try and cool off inside the air conditioned theatre. I pick up the tickets that were held for us at the door. Ten minutes later the first part of the night began: The Lesson.
The lesson, is an option you can add to your evening at Tango Porteño. Two of the show’s stars will guide you through a few of the basic steps, and help you feel a deeper connection to the dance you’re about to witness. Of course, after the lesson Jasenka and I were offered spots in the show, but we kindly declined, saying we wanted to relax this evening. It’s good to know that I have options in town.
After about an hour of gliding across the floor in our lessons, we are handed certificates commemorating our achievement. The lesson was an enjoyable pre-dinner part of the evening. The two bilingual stars of the show were very helpful, going from pair to pair demonstrating how to properly execute the steps. They seemed to enjoy showing us the basics of what has surely been a life passion for each of them.
After the lesson, we were shown to our table at the front of the beautiful theatre. The theatre has an Old World air to it. It’s exquisite in design, and elegant throughout. Once at our table the server came over with the evening’s menu. The dinner was a three course meal, with three options for starters, four entree options, and two different dessert options. We had the San Telmo and Villa Urquiza starters. Both were very good, with my preference being the Villa Urquiza salad. For the mains, we ordered one chicken and one beef dish. Argentina is famous for its beef, and for good reason. My recommendation would be to stick with the beef here. Quite honestly the chicken dish was kind of dry, and not near the dish that the beef was. Then to wrap dinner up we tried each of the desserts. Although I’m usually a fan of chocolate, the flan with caramel ice cream was delicious, and a clear winner in the dessert category.
After finishing what in Argentina was an “early” dinner at about 10pm, the show began. The opening scene is a “typical” street scene in Buenos Aires cerca 1920. The bustling street breaks out into dance and music. From the first moments you are awed by the talent of these individuals. The precision of their steps, the acrobatics of the moves, and the dance that is so deftly performed is a true spectacle. It left me thinking that I had devoted my life to the wrong cause; I should have been a tango dancer.
After the completion of the first scene, we are introduced to the orchestra, which provides the sultry songs that will be the backdrop to the entire evening. I regularly attend concerts of all varieties, and this has continued while in Buenos Aires. Since arriving I’ve fallen in love with one of the most integral instruments in tango music: the accordion. This orchestra had four of them. To find four accordion players in my entire home city would be a challenge, never mind in one group!
The whole show rolled seamlessly from scene to spectacular scene. My only suggestion to those at Tango Porteño would be to announce in three languages to the crowd that flash photography is not allowed, instead of just Spanish. The English, and Portuguese speakers took full advantage of flashing away during the beginning of the show. It was slightly distracting, and could easily be cured.
The night passed by, and before we knew it the show was coming to an unfortunate end. We couldn’t believe how quickly the stages and costumes changed. With each new dance a new twist was brought to the sensual steps. All the dances were performed without a flaw, and were truly awe-inspiring. Maybe I need to take a few more classes.
Experience Tango Porteño For Yourself
How to Get There
Tango Porteño is located on the widest boulevard in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The address is: Cerrito 570 (Cerrito is a commercial street parallel to 9 de Julio.) Just look for the massive Obelisco. It’s on the west side of the boulevard, next to the famous Teatro Colon.
For More Info
Tango Porteño has a great website, with many more photos, pricing information, and contact info, all to the backdrop of great tango music.
Their Website: http://tangoporteno.com.ar/