There are a ton of tango blogs written in English for people who want to come to Buenos Aires to dance. A good list of them is here and Mike has a nice list of lessons and milongas on his blog. This is an opinionated list developed from the perspective of an under-30 female lone traveler who got frustrated with beginner’s dance classes in New York because none of the men really lead, nor do they take their “tango showers” (neutral or fresh odor is essential (ha!) for the intimacy of this dance). Both of these things seriously impede the apprehension of tango for a follow.
Something to note: Unless you have been taking weekly classes for about a year plus social dancing, you’re probably still a “principante” (beginner). If you don’t want to take beginners classes– and I certainly don’t relegate myself to them!– be prepared with make yourself really small and open to criticism. No matter where you go you are going to get your ass kicked. Its good fun though! Just keep in mind that the classes at some dumpy place in a US city doesn’t come close to the level of instruction and diversity of dancing in BA.
My favorite place to go is probably Praktika 8 in Villa Crespo which separates the classes on Tuesdays into beginner and intermediate. The milonga that follows is really fun and there are often really nice performances. Everything is a few pesos cheaper here, too.
Tango Brujo: $15 pesos/90 minute class.
My favorite classes here, since Brujo is very touristy and the teachers are pretty hit-or-miss, are the ones taught on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm by Annabella Cruz Heck & Ariel Yanovsky. Annabella is a gorgeous brown flower with very clear steps and a patient, generous demeanor and Ariel has a very hip style, and a strong, energetic, and precise lead. Its really easy to learn things in this class. Many of the steps they teach involve transitioning from closed to open embrace, which I like a lot.
Unitango/Beunos Tango at Indepencia 572 on Wednesday nights– another class that sort of runs into a cute little milonga with a live orchestra around 11pm. Seems to be a good beginner’s class– small size, a lot of teacher attention, but for intermediate, not so good. The milonga afterwards is fun! Also, if you get bored, its close to the Parakultural milonga at Peru 571 where they also have live music after 10pm, and Shusheta on Piedras. So, Wednesday evenings are San Telmo evenings.
Tango Milonguita: $20 pesos 90 minutes.
This is a Colegiales neighborhood dance hall and milonga within an old-fashioned social club where actual Argentine people go to catch up with culture. Its mostly for beginners but the upshot is that you get to learn to dance with real Porteños who have an innate understanding of the music and a naturally unwavering embrace.
El Beso: $20 pesos 120 minutes.
The floor here is awesome– very easy to learn sacadas and ochos and boleos when your feet aren’t stuck to the floor.
La Academia de Susana Miller is an amazing school for tango that holds classes here several days a week, often with assisted prácticas. The classes I’ve been to felt geared to teaching men to lead from the perspective of a group of some tough-assed ladies, so men, take classes here!
The Casas family also teaches at El Beso every afternoon of the week. I have not taken class with Oscar Casas but I can tell you that he is magnetically handsome. His son, Osky and daughter Sheila are WONDERFUL teachers and I go to their classes a lot.
Escuela Argentina de Tango: This is a big, multi-venue institution that I haven’t quite understood completely. They have classes at the Borges Center but the ones I go to are at Rodriguez Peña 1074: $25 pesos 90 mins + assisted práctica with Analia Vega, Marcelo Varela, and Lucas DiGiorgio on Monday nights…. very FUN class: a lot of laughter, smiling teachers, patience, and great dancers. The floor is like taffy so its important to dump baby powder all over it so the feet don’t get stuck.
Parakultural at Salon Canning: $20/90 min. class
Apparently this is the gringo milonga but I felt like there were a lot of Argentines in the classes when I went. It was a good experience if a little above my level when I took class with Alberto y Belén. On Thursday nights there is a good class and a better milonga. Avoid this place on Saturday nights and go to Peru 571.
Tangocool: $20/90 min class + práctica.
Classes here are a little too big for my liking with really diverse level of skill, so can be a little frustrating until you land with the right lead.
La Viruta: $15 pesos for class and dance all night.
This place is a total animal house before 3am. It is a GREAT spot for tourists– in fact in every other city I’ve visited I’ve wanted to find a place like La Viruta… but in Buenos Aires there’s a problem with its party-down theme with guys yelling into microphones and mixing rock and swing and salsa and tango but the classes are all about fun… After 3am the young Olympic Tango dancers show up and they are pretty amazing to watch.
Plaza Bohemia at Maipú 444: Fernando and Gery teach a great class on musicality, but since I don’t hear the music so good, this one was a little frustrating for me to do alone.