Tango Classes at Tango Brujo

I should begin by pointing out that I don’t know how to dance tango. I think it’s amazing though and I’d love to learn. So when my mom and niece were coming to visit, I decided it was time to take a couple of classes with people who know as little as I do and with whom I have no problem looking like a fool.

Trying to decide where to take tango classes in Buenos Aires is about is no easy task. I asked everyone I know who’s in the tango world and there was no consensus. A lot of people recommended La Viruta, the massive milonga in Palermo, but I had heard the classes at La Viruta were very crowded and I also knew that it attracts a younger group of people. Worried my mom might feel out of place and that we wouldn’t get any one-on-one attention from the instructors, I looked for something smaller. Tango Brujo was recommended in a discussion on Couchsurfing. And since I think the crowd over at Couchsurfers is pretty cool (read an earlier post about this project here), it sounded right for us, too. 

 Tango Brujo Shop

Tango Brujo is housed in a beautifully renovated building on Esmeralda in downtown Buenos Aires. There’s a gorgeous shop on the ground floor. The shoes and clothes are enough to make anyone want to become a tango aficionado. Unbelievably cool stuff! Head upstairs for the cozy dance studio. 

 Tango - Mom and Jordan

They offer classes for all levels and throughout the week, which makes planning a lot easier. We took two: Introduction to Tango, and the Beginners and Intermediate. What I liked about our classes at Tango Brujo was that there weren’t too many people and yet there were enough of us to change partners and get in a good bit of practice. 

 Tango Brujo - Instruction

The classes were in English and Spanish and the instructors were excellent. They were great at figuring out how quickly they could move on to the next step, who needed a bit of individualized attention, and making sure everyone was dancing even though there were more women than men and pairing people up was sometimes hard to do. 

Tango is as hard as I’ve always heard it was to learn. The problem for my mom, my niece and me was that in Louisiana we dance to Cajun or Zydeco music. It’s fast and loose. Hips move and bodies swing in Louisiana. By the end of the class, we’d learned to keep our hips still and wait for the guy to let us know what was coming. But sometimes it felt like I had to wait for an eternity and then I realized… that’s it. It’s that longing and resistance between the two that creates the mood.

An ex-boyfriend once told me I’d never be able to learn tango because I wouldn’t be able to let the guy lead (he was pretty mad at me when he said that). He may have been right, but now that I saw how that anticipation of the guy’s lead is how the couple manages to feel each other and know what’s coming without having to look at their feet or even at each other’s eyes and without their bodies even touching, I’m much more interested in trying to follow.

Here’s a short video of our first instructors, Pablo and Anita, at the end of the class showing us the steps we learned.

The classes cost 15 pesos per person. There’s a complete schedule on the beautiful Tango Brujo website.

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10 Comments

Filed under argentina, buenos aires, tango, tourism, travel

10 responses to “Tango Classes at Tango Brujo

  1. Gosh, that studio looks beautiful! 🙂 I’m glad you had a good time – sometime you’ll have to join me and our friend of Still Life In Buenos Aires at an afternoon milonga at Confiteria Ideal so you can see a beautiful ballroom.

  2. I know, their studio is gorgeous, isn’t it? The store is amazing, too. I almost wanted to become a tango goddess just to wear the clothes and shoes.

    I’d love to go with you guys to Ideal. That’s the place I usually take people because I love love love the live orchestra. I’ve even danced there a couple of times (before taking a class). Talk about patient men. Thanks for commenting. We’ll get Still Life to set a date! Cheers.

  3. This was a beginning class–with figures, high boleos and ganchos??

    If you’re just playing around with tango and checking it out, that’s one thing. But if you want to seriously study and learn something you will enjoy all your life, it ain’t agonna happen in classes like this where they are teaching advanced choreography.

    Where was the walk, the embrace, the connection, the improvisation, and the sensuality that is tango?

    And most importantly, where was the MUSIC?

    Sorry to yell, but I see so much tango sold to foreigners that is Trampa Para Turistas and I can’t help getting mad!

  4. Well as long as you are happy, and don’t want to go to dance at El Beso or Maipu where there is no room for choreography, I think it’s fine. Tango should be fun, after all.

    If you’re happy, I’m happy (now that you told me at least the figures were taught to music and not counts!)

  5. Hi Cherie, thanks for your concern. I understand your needing to yell. I hate tourist traps, too. In fact, I’d never recommend one.

    Maybe I should have given all the details of the class. This was an mixed class of intermediate and beginners. We (the beginners) learned to walk, embrace, etc. And yes, there was always music.

    The intermediate group worked on what you saw in the video. A student asked the instructors to do the step again at the end of the class as we were all about to leave and the next class was coming in (thus, there wasn’t any music). They called us all over and told us to record it if we wanted to so we could practice it at home. They just showed the step slowly so the students could video it to practice on their own. Pretty nice, if you ask me.

    Tango Brujo is not a Tourist Trap. The two classes I took were both very professionally done. And best of all, we all felt comfortable with the other students and with the instructors.

    As I said at the beginning of the post, deciding where to take lessons in BA is pretty overwhelming. If you’re going to be here for a couple of weeks only and want to learn in a non-threatening, beautiful environment, I liked Tango Brujo. Their website has other videos of other classes, too. The class after ours was very advanced. They were amazing!

  6. Thankfully there are tons of options here for learning and dancing… enough to please all types. I can’t imagine ever being good enough to dance at El Beso. I’d be terrified I’d bump into someone and end up on a blog as that girl that acted like a bumper car on the dance floor 🙂 If I were to go out hoping to dance, I’d want to find a place like the milonga del barrio in your last post. Fantastic!

  7. Oh yes, definitely true that it’s overwhelming to look for tango classes! There are a lot out there. I honestly don’t know Brujo so I personally probably wouldn’t recommend them until I had a chance to check them out myself, but I’d like to make a few suggestions myself, if I may. 🙂

    There are classes all the time in El Beso, Riobamba 416 4953 2794 or 154 195 5221
    E-mail elbesotango@yahoo.com.ar
    latest info I found was… Clases de tango: Martes, jueves y viernes 12:00hs; lunes, miércoles y viernes 20:30hs; Martes y sábados 19:00hs y domingos 20:00hs. But call or e-mail for updated information.
    There is also a practica there on Fridays evenings.

    There is the Carlos Copello school on Anchorena 575 … http://www.carloscopello.com/tango-escuela.htm only because I’ve danced with people who have taken classes there and they were very nice to dance with. That school also teaches folklore and rock & roll. 🙂

    There are also classes at Salon Canning all the time, there is one on Saturdays at 8pm, and I think there is a Tuesday class that a lot of people like…

    I understand Cherie’s surprise because advanced or not, ganchos and high boleos are not usually done in milongas – too crowded and people could get hurt. 🙂 But fun to do when there is a lot of space!

  8. What a great activity to do with your family! It sounds like you really had a nice visit with them (cooking classes, tango, trips here and there – what didn’t you guys do? :)).

    I for one find tango and tango culture to be fascinating. Since I’m not too gifted in the dance department though, I think I’ll be content to take in a tango show rather than be a part of the spectacle (and what a sight my dancing would be, I’m sure!).

  9. CJ

    I’ve heard good things about Tango Brujo although my own experiences there weren’t that great. The instructors I had had little interest in the students. In fact one guy spent more time working on his own technique in the mirror than helping students. I eventually got frustrated and went to DNI. Though I did buy shoes there!

  10. Thanks for commenting CJ. I have heard people say they didn’t like Tango Brujo. My mother, niece and I really enjoyed our classes there because they were small but not miniscule and the other dancers were at our level. We just really wanted a “tourist” experience seeing as they were only in town for 2 weeks and might never dance tango again. Our instructors paid a lot of attention to us. They danced with us and were generally very helpful. I think serious tango dancers have more criticism of the place. Oh, another thing we loved was the building itself…. truly gorgeous!

    Now that I’m not working as much as I was, I should really check out some other places (such as DNI) to see if I can learn better. That would give me a better perspective I’m sure. Thanks for mentioning it.

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