The milongas of Buenos Aires (Part 2)

“Las milongas de Buenos Aires”

Here I continue to share some of my experiences at the milongas in Buenos Aires. Some are a bit of a blur… these milongas don’t get going until very late in the evening and often end at 2am, 3am, even 5am, so between the intensive tango classes and the milongas there was very little time for sleep.

Cachirulo, at Salon Canning

In recent years this had been my favourite milonga, however, it’s no longer held at Obelisco Tango with the fabulous floor. Instead it’s now held at Salon Canning, a historical icon for tango. This was my least preferred night, I’m not sure if it was me, my tired feet, the choice of shoes for that particular floor or the music which didn’t inspire me.

Hector (the infamous organiser) is strict and reminds everyone of tango etiquette including cabeceo, etc. I sat at a table with local women, except for myself and a follower from New Zealand. This milonga has traditional sitting, ambient lighting, bar service with empanadas, and there is a girl at the door selling tango dresses.

Barajando, at Lo de Celia

This milonga really surprised me, I’d heard of Lo de Celia but hadn’t been to any milongas there. This milonga possibly had the least tourists and many older milongueros. I was offered a seat next to the bar, alongside a row of women. As soon as I had my shoes on my feet I was on the floor, cabeceo all the way, except for one dance where I was approached from behind and asked verbally if I would like to dance. I had a fabulous time here. The floor was orderly, the music exquisite, smooth dancers, a tango heaven!


Image: Hoy Milonga

Aurora Milonga, at La Aurora del Tango

This milonga was small, with a suburban feel, locals who take classes earlier on in the evening and stay for the milonga. Everyone is very friendly, I was offered a good seat in the middle of the room adjacent to the dance floor. The floor itself is unusual and somewhat challenging, part of it is made from timber (however, it’s a very rough uncoated timber surface), the rest of the floor is made from ceramic tiles so you end up dancing on both surfaces as the floor is rectangular and each surface covers approximately 50% of the dance area.

I had an opportunity to dance with the DJ which was quite fascinating, he was telling me about some interesting discoveries he’d made and some of his favourite 1950’s Biagi. A huge portrait of Carlos Gardel hangs at an angle from the ceiling. There is a bar at the back where locals sit and chat. The lighting here was fairly dim, it was an informal evening.


Image: Hoy Milonga

Parakultural, at Salon Canning

Back at Salon Canning, this time to see an orchestra named ‘Los Herederos del Compas’, I would go back just to see this orchestra perform again, they were simply amazing, they only play D’Arienzo as the orchestras’ name implies, the energy levels were incredible, it’s difficult to describe, listening and dancing to their music was an absolute joy.

Video: YouTube

Cachirulo, at El Beso

I’m back at El Beso for the third time in as many days, it seems everyone ends up at El Beso, whether you’re taking classes with Maria Plazaola, doing the afternoon practicas or going to the late night milongas, it’s a very popular venue with both locals and tourists alike.

When I walk in Hector greets me at the door and immediately takes a liking to me, he grabs my hand and walks me across to the other side of the room, orders someone to move and then gives me a spot adjacent to the floor but at the end of the row of women. About 10 minutes later he comes over again and asks me to move to the centre, still adjacent to the floor but in prime position for cabeceo.

After seven nights of dancing you begin to see familiar faces. There are too many tourists here tonight but it’s my final night in Buenos Aires so it has to end on a high. Earlier that night I had decided to wear a pair of brand new shoes so that their soles would have some dust from a BA dancefloor… filled with wonderful memories. I leave the milonga a very happy girl.

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