Learning to Tango

Getting my husband onto the dance floor has never been an easy task. But in Buenos Aires the “porteños” (as the locals are called) take this dizzying, heart-throbbing dance to the streets. Seeing the intertwining of legs, bodies pressed so close that you couldn’t pass a breath between them and passionate gestures and looks, where women seduce and men lead, I could see a spark of interest in my husband’s eyes.

We were sitting at an outdoor café in the San Elmo area when, like magic, the music started. Suddenly, couples of all ages and sizes were whizzing about on the sidewalks in what we Canadians would deem an outrageously sexy public spectacle. Watching was as good as doing as we sipped our Argentinean coffee, saving our appetite for local beef for dinner.

The tango is as haunting as its history, when lonely sailors and immigrants would search out brothels for female companionship. Back then it was seen as a dance for the lower classes, but Carlos Gardel made the tango famous and its popularity has sky-rocketed beyond belief. Now, you can’t keep the Latin socialites off the dance floor or the streets. When in town, it’s also a must to stop in at the renowned art nouveau Café Tortoni (825, Avenida de Mayo). Include a walk on the pedestrian Calle Florida, tour the Teatro Colón and visit the Recoleta area, where Eva Perón is buried in the large cemetery.