It’s pretty safe to assume that Tango is one of the first things that comes to mind when most people think of Buenos Aires. Also, with all the different tango shows, milongas or street performers it’s pretty easy to surround yourself with tango in this city. However, if you talk to any locals you might be shocked to realize that the majority don’t dance tango, or even know how for that matter! Before moving to BA I just assumed it was something that sort of came in their genes. Unfortunately the majority of the Tango that is danced and learned today is done for touristic purposes. I had my fair share of tango attempts when I was fresh of the boat, but tango and I didn’t get along too well. I like to dance freely with my hands above my head, and being stuck to another person while having to focus on the technicality involved was just not my thing.
But I had to dance. I mean how can I be in Buenos Aires and not dance? So I started looking around, and one day while walking past the large park in Parque Patricios on a Sunday afternoon I saw almost 100 people dancing something that looked far less touristy and far more exciting. It’s name, you ask?? Why it was folklore! The dance of the Argentine version of the cowboy- the gaucho!
Not only does the music want to make you smile, but the dance is fun! You don’t have to worry the whole time about all the steps, and its more than OK to laugh out loud. So I started going to Folklore classes and pretty soon was hitting up the local dance halls called peñas. I also liked that the classes were always filled with Argentines, rather than tourists.
One of the most popular folklore dances, the Chacarera, originated from the Province of Santiago del Estero in the North of Argentina. Traditinally danced in the rural parts of the country, the gaucho’s goal was to “conquistar” his dance partner through a series of foot-stomping and twirls.
Here is a popular Chacarera song:
So, if you are tired of Tango and are curious to learn more about Argentine Folklore you should go to some local peñas, or the Feria de Mataderos, or even walk around the park in Parque Patricios on a Sunday afternoon!