Monday, 9 December 2013

It takes two to tango

Cafe Torotoni is a famous cafe in Buenos Aires known for having been the meeting place for thinkers and artists alike.  Now it's mostly known for the tour buses parked outside and the expensive lattes and tango shows, but if you look just to the left there's a door that leads to the World Tango Museum sponsored by the National Academy of Tango.  For 70 pesos (roughly 12 Cdn dollars), you get access to the Tango museum and a show with a live singer and four dancers.

The museum is in a beautiful space with chandeliers and guilded moldings. At the time I arrived, I was the only person in there, which was a nice treat as I was able to take my time and enjoy everything from old concert posters,  photographs, records and shoes.  The mood is greatly enhanced by the soft tango music playing in the background.  And since I was by myself, I may have taken a tango step or two in the open area.    

To be honest, for $12 I wasn't really expecting too much from the museum of the show so I was really impressed once the show started.  There were no sets, minimal stage lighting, prerecorded music and a singer who may also have been moonlighting as a "comedian", but once the dancing started almost all of that faded away. 
Performing that evening were two couples.  The first focused on some fancy footwork as they kicked up their heels and entangled and detangled their legs expertly.  The second couple relied heavily on lifts, dips and tricks to keep the audience engaged.  They explored different types of tango from the most traditional to more modern pieces.  They also conveyed different themes and emotions in their pieces.  The audience was taken on a journey from blissfully in love to a woman scorn and all things in between.  

The audience ranged from backpackers in their early 20's to middle-aged portenos showing their family visitors around.  Judging by the oohs and aahs emanating from this small crowd, I would say that the performers dazzled their audience from those getting their first look at this form of dance to those who are better versed in the art form.  

If you're in B.A. and you'd like to learn a little bit about Tango and watch a show, this is an excellent bargain and great way to spend an evening.  They also offer tango classes if you'd like to learn.  Next time I'll be sure to travel with a dance partner.