The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is the national centre of commerce, industry, politics, technology, and culture. State of the art buildings displaying colonial architecture, parks, museums, boulevards, cobbled alleys, cafés where the porteños (people living in Buenos Aires or “people of the port”) meet give the city the nickname “The Paris of South America.”
One of the things to do in Buenos Aires may be to visit its iconic attractions, such as the Microcentro, the commercial centre of the city, Buenos Aires Plaza de Mayo, Catedral Metropolitana, the iconic Casa Rosada, seat of the Argentinean president and the political heart of the city, Manzana de las Luces, an ancient colonial church, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes which displays art collections with pieces of Renoir, Monet, Picasso and Gauguin. Going to La Bombonera stadium for a fútbol match may be a memorable experience while visiting Buenos Aires. Argentina is the country where football legends like Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi were born. A defining element of Argentinean culture may be tango, a reflection of the country’s heritage and a symbol of the people’s creativity, with numerous teachers, guides, and festivals around the country. In 2009 UNESCO recognised tango as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In an effort to encourage tango tourism, the government of Argentina has been hosting regular competitions of Argentine tango dance in Buenos Aires, attracting competitors from around the world. The annual Tango Buenos Aires Festival aims to promote the historical heritage of the country, support its growth and project tango in all its ways of expression. Tango Buenos Aires Festival includes the Dance Festival and World Cup where dancers and audiences from all around the world come to the city to participate in various activities. It begins with La Festival, a 9-day celebration of tango shows, recitals, classes, milongas (dances) and film screenings at venues across the city. La Festival debuts with an open-air milonga, where tangueros dance along the streets. The opening ceremonies aim to generate excitement for the Mundial de Tango (Tango World Cup) which brings together some of the world’s top tango dancers. This year the Tango Buenos Aires Festival is scheduled to take place between the 18th and the 31st of August.
Argentine tango has been an evolving dance and musical form, with continual changes occurring on the social dance floor in Argentina and in tango centres around the world. The Tango Buenos Aires Festival’s artistic director Gustavo Mozzi commented: “Tango is at a time of growth, evolution, and expansion, and the more the festival is in tune with the booming, effervescent scene, the more it turns into a live, provocative space.”
Learning the tango may be a lifelong commitment; however it may come with advantages as research supports the idea tango dancing may have health benefits. Social integration, the purpose tango fulfilled in the 19th century, might be the reason behind its continuity around the world in modern days, as it aims to bring people together in an artistic encounter of self-expression. Tango may provide a way for people to express themselves, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whichever language they speak. As tango festivals seem to attract visitors and dancers from around the world every year, the continuance of tango culture may greatly depend on the government’s investments and support of tango at the community level, and on how the authorities and the people preserve the spirit of tango culture, from extensive commercialisation.
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