Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dancing up a storm in Buenos Aires

Dancing is a popular past time in Buenos Aires - the tango capital of the world - and the city is known for its nightlife. So I made sure I got my share! Zouk is going strong in Buenos Aires, and even with the dominance of tango there's something for all kind of dancers. I went out to zouk to Maluco Beleza club, after a week’s break I couldn’t wait to get to burn the floor! The club has zouk/lambada parties on Fridays and Sundays where they first have a class (at around 11pm) and then social dancing until around 2:30am. On Friday there were plenty of people taking the class, enough for both beginners and intermediate groups. To my surprise I got paired up with a Finnish guy (yes!?) for the class. That was again one of those odd coincidences again, like meeting a Finnish samba friend in my hostel room at the Iguazu Falls!

The dancers and teachers there dance the Porto Seguro style and the girls wear the lambada style clothes. The music was a bit more leaning towards lambazouk but lots of good songs to keep me on the floor from the first song! The classes were simple and only a small routine was practiced (with comparison to very long sequences they teach in the parties in London). And then it was time to party! I asked one of local zoukeros to dance with me and after that I think I didn’t get a break the entire night. This was the first time I also manage to get some local friends and a Dutch girl who I met in Iguazu to join me (yay!!) and got them on the dance floor too!

The zouk party lasted about 3 hours in the main floor downstairs and there was some axé dancing in the hot second floor dance floor. At around 3am the zouk ended – with me bathing in sweat. I was really getting into the whole lambada dancing and one guy wanted to practice some high-flying lifts with me so it felt a bit like back home! My whole body was tired for the first time in many days. Then the axé dancers moved down to the main floor which by that time was hot like a sauna – no wonder even the guys wore short shorts :D. Still 4am the party was going strong and the axé show had just started! The axé people are just crazy, it’s incredible how they know all the songs (tens, probably hundreds?)  and their choreographies by heart. Especially the guys – have a hard time seeing that happening in Finland!

Axé dancing in the big (sauna) floor upstairs - note the guy in short shorts :D
Axé party of the main floor downstairs after the zouky stuff
Axé show

Here’s a video clip of the axé show on Friday night:

Sunday there was a party again at Maluco Beleza. A little less people than on Friday, only one (beginners) class but the dance floor was quite full when the party got going. Upstairs was closed then.. The zouk was also A$ 25 (4,5€) on Fri and A$ 20 on Sunday – on both nights the entrance included a drink (water/soda/beer). On Saturday there would have been an outdoor party on Costanera Sur in Puerto Madero but it got rained in so all my zouk was done in two nights. But they were good ones :)

Maluco Beleza is on Sarmiento 1728, a block from the B-line metro station Callao and if you take the last metro you’ll arrive just in time for the classes. A taxi is easy to find on the street after the party and is perfectly safe (about A$ 20 to San Telmo). 

Salsa! It’s everywhere…

I went to see salsa down next door from the zouk club with Ruben, the club owner. The local salsa dancing looked impressive! I hear they do all the styles there so no worries if you only know one style. They also have the same class + party structure so you’ll get an intro to dancing even if you’re less familiar with salsa. if you’re looking for salsa (and they said also some bachata which I didn’t hear when I popped in but it might be worth to check out) go next door of Maluco on Sarmiento 1700-1800 (you can’t miss it, you hear salsa to the street) on Wednesdays and Sundays, the entry is A$ 25.

Tango in Buenos Aires – a must see & do!

I went to one tango night in the posh Palermo district. It wasn’t the most expensive or the most touristy of places, the entrance was A$ 30 and you could also rent a locker for A$ 5 which was very handy. And they had nice & cheap dinner offers too. There were many different dance classes during the night, some lindy hop / rock and a couple tango classes (on several levels). I took the beginners’ group and we learned the basic routine of 7 steps. I didn’t feel that was enough to get me dancing but certainly inspired me. And watching the locals burn the floor definitely inspired! High kicks and sultry sexy moves. I want to give Argentine tango a try once I get back to Finland!!

Tango classes in action

Our beginner group's lovely teachers

The pros show how to do it...

And finally some social dancing!

Remember the steps?
There are tons and tons of tango classes and shows in town every night, ask the locals where to go for the best ones. Some include food or you can eat there for a separate fee (our dinner menu of three courses was A$ 45 so around 8 € and a bottle of wine is A$ 50 and up – good value for money I’d say). Some of the tango nights are performance only (so no classes or social dancing), with either/both dancing and music. If you already know some tango go and find a social dancing night and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed. Just prepare to stay late: still at 2 am there were lots of people just arriving and putting on their dance shoes (and this was Wednesday – local holiday season though).

If you're up for a new dance expience or just love to party til 5-6am Buenos Aires is the place to be!

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