August is Tango month in Buenos Aires because we have the annual Buenos Aires Tango Festival which takes up most of the month, and also the world recognized Tango dancing competition, Mundial de Baile 2011, which attracts hundreds of tango dancers from all around the world to come to Buenos Aires to compete for the title. Since the competition is free for all to enter, you can see a wide range of contestants from 5-year-old dancers to avid milongueros and from amateurs to professionals.
Not only the competition is free to enter, most of the festival activities are also free for general public participation. The festival has a jam packed schedule of free tango classes of all levels, free exhibitions, concerts and tango performances. It is really an amazing way to promote and celebrate this national dance as tango has been declared a world heritage by UNESCO since a few years ago. When one starts to learn more about tango, one will know it’s not only about dance steps, actually quite far from it. One will slowly discover the history of the dance, the sentiments behind the music, the lyrics, the stories behind famous tango composers, writers, singers… When one put the foot out and make the first step to the music, all these feelings and understanding will all come together and make sense, and make it much much deeper than dancing to a song. Calling it a lifestyle is an understatement, for many it’s life.
As we get into the last leg of the festival, definitely go over to the Main Hall of the festival and enjoy all the free activities and get to know about this rich history and culture of Argentina. The event will end with the finals of the competition Monday Aug. 29 and Tuesday Aug. 30. If you don’t get to get your hands on the free tickets to the finals, turn on the TV those nights and you’d probably get to watch some broadcast of it. Last year, one of the winners was a couple from Japan. We’ll anxiously await to see who will be champion this year!