All of us staff members here at Destinos Ahora have a fascination with Argentine tango. We enjoy at every opportunity we get, from the dancers of Caminito in Boca to the demonstrations at country estancias. However, none of these experiences surpasses those of the “tango house” dinner shows. We have covered several of these shows around Buenos Aires, Argentina, from the very first to the most dazzling. Recently we got to know one of the most intimate, Palacio Tango, hidden in the basement of a historic shopping center in the city.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Emilio San Miguel and David Ovejero imagined a European-style shopping arcade in the heart of the city of Buenos Aires. They hired Italian architect Francisco Terencio Gianotti to design an Art Nouveau space on Florida Street that would house both shops and meeting places.
The shopping center, named Galería Güemes, opened its doors in December 1915. Its height of 87 meters (14 levels) qualifies it as one of the first skyscrapers in the city and the world. Among its innovations for the time, the basements of Galería Güemes served as a multipurpose space for parties, plays and tea service. One of its rooms, the Salón Café Triunfal, soon became the Abdullah Club, a cabaret and dance hall where legendary tango crooner Carlos Gardel performed in 1917.
Palacio Tango, also known as Palacio Florida, comprises both the theater and the Salón Café Triunfal, which highlight the style and atmosphere of Parisian nightlife during the Belle Epoque. This hall was renamed Tango Carlos Gardel, while the theater was baptized in honor of Astor Piazzolla, a bandoneonist and composer who revolutionized the musical genre.
The shows at Palacio Tango
The Astor Piazzolla Theater has an optimal structure for live musical or dramatic presentations of any style. It can also be rented for all kinds of corporate and social events, with catering options available.
As for the tango shows, they take place both in the theater and in the Carlos Gardel Tango room. The main shows in these spaces present a mixture of masterful choreography, striking costumes and musical history. Gardel and Piazzolla are not an intrinsic part of these presentations, but their spiritual presence is undeniable.
The shows, their dances and costumes all stem from the mind of Dolores de Amo, a renowned dancer and choreographer both in Argentina and around the world. Her visual creativity is complemented by the impeccable musical accompaniment of the Virginia di Salvo sextet, as well as the voices of singers Ache Rey and Ximena Jiménez.
Many of the artists present at the Palacio Tango shows were part of Esquina Carlos Gardel, a revolutionary tango house based in the Abasto area of Buenos Aires near where Gardel himself lived. Dolores de Amo and Esquina Carlos Gardel have performed in more than 187 cities around the world.
An Intimate Dinner
Palacio Tango offers “show only” and dinner-included options for all its shows. The dinner menu lacks variety, but it does include succulent options for every taste such as rib eye steak, tagliatelle al pomodoro, prosciutto bruschettas, quinoa risotto, chicken ratatouille, and hamburgers. The VIP option adds options such as shrimp, salmon and tiramisu to the menu. Dinner includes water, soft drinks or wine. Dance classes from the Palacio Tango performers are also available.
Whether you choose the dinner option or not, every show at Palacio Tango is an intimate experience. This closeness is felt even more at the Carlos Gardel Theater, where the musical sextet floats above the dancers and singers on stage. Although the theater includes advanced lighting and LED projected backdrops, artificial details are kept to a minimum, further highlighting the passion of the performers on stage.
In summary, there are tango with more historic or stimulating to the senses. Yet those who seek to connect with the energy and sensuality of tango deserve to travel down to the underworld beneath Galería Güemes. There in the depths, night after night, the artists of Palacio Tango take the quintessential Argentine musical genre to new heights.
Where to Find It
Florida 165, Galería Güemes, San Nicolás, Buenos Aires, Argentina
+54 11 4344-8200 • +54 11 4094-4571