Dramatic, challenging and sensual: Argentine tango is a strangely addictive dance.
And while you can find tango communities dotted all over the world, the Argentine capital – Buenos Aires – is considered the mother ship of them all. This is the city where tango developed and where the community is strongest. Unsurprisingly, tango culture is popular with many locals and visitors alike.
For local tango aficionados (tangueros), Villa Malcolm is an obligatory stop on the Argentine tango dance club (milonga) circuit.
Dancing at Villa Malcolm — Photo courtesy of Darinka Maja
The level of tango dancing you see at Villa Malcolm is generally higher than in other places in the area. Watching the expert couples do their thing is fascinating and instructive.
If you decide to hit the dance floor, it can be good fun on one hand, or a bit intimidating on the other hand – depending on your level and experience.
Villa Malcolm offers nightly group tango classes in Spanish before the milonga sessions, but please note that the beginner classes are not for true beginners; to get the most out of the class, you should already have a solid foundation in tango dance.
If you join a beginner/intermediate or an intermediate/advanced class, it will be helpful to tell the teacher which level you are at the start of class so that you are grouped with others of a similar level and can receive individual instruction that is useful to you.
When you pay for a class, admission to the milonga afterwards is included.
The place itself isn't much to look at. It's a neighborhood social and sports club that was founded in 1928. However, people don't come for the aesthetics; the space brings together many in the tango community. During the day, it offers soccer, gymnastics, taekwondo and other activities, but at night the main hall turns into the milonga.
Here, you'll often find a mix of the old and the new codes. Men are as likely to simply ask the women if they would like to dance as give an old-fashioned nod from across the room.
The club has a restaurant in front, which also serves the milonga. Get the waitresses' attention, and they can bring you drinks and food. If you're not sure what you want, then ask for the carta.
For those who love to dance Argentine tango, Villa Malcolm in Buenos Aires will get you embracing and moving any night of the week.