Tango and Toddler in Buenos Aires

2009 September 14
La mar en coche by salvoguille, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  salvoguille

Dear readers: I need your advice: We consider ourselves to find our way around in Buenos Aires fairly well after several previous stays there. This time, however, there is something different. We are no longer a couple going to the milongas  every night. We are a small family.

Strolling with or without purpose in the streets of our beloved city we can still do, enjoying café con leche while watching people walk past, too. Tango is harder. Tango is a nighttime activity, and not so family friendly. So in preparation of our next travel to Buenos Aires, we have started to try and figure out what we can do tango wise. Obviously, it will be different, and certainly less than before. That’s fine. What we’re after is quality, so a little quality goes a long way.

One major concern is the safety of our child in traffic. The standards in Argentina are different to say the least in terms of traffic safety. Taxis with no seat belts are very common, and we are used to having him in a child safety seat, which we intend to continue doing. Public transportation (colectivo and subte) is a partial solution to this, but won’t take us everywhere. We have also thought about using remises more, if we find someone we know have good cars, it will be worth the extra wait/planning.

For tango, there seem to be three possibilities: Bringing the baby, one going out while the other is babysitting, having a babysitter for a night. Listed in the order of the expected frequency we plan on trying each to get some dancing.

We are staying in the neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, which is close to the green line (Línea D) and lots of buses. Salón Canning, La Viruta, Villa Malcom and others are within walking distance (but of those, Canning is the only we’d consider).  So Canning will work well for option two.

When it comes to bringing the baby, we have thought of bringing him to some practicas, where we can go by bus. It’s not too late in the evening, so it might work out. We’ll see. Also the open air milonga La Glorieta is quite nice, and one can easily watch the  stroller and chat with friends while the other is dancing, easily accessible by subway. We haven’t used the afternoon milongas in the centre so much, as our experience with them from earlier wasn’t too good, but we are very open for recommendations there.

Of course, an occasional babysitter allows us to go wherever, and would be nice for going out at night, maybe to milongas in the barrios or in the centre.

We don’t plan on taking much lessons, but we’ll take some privates with out favorite teachers, and probably a few group lessons as well. Even if some of them are quite late, we hope we can bring him for some.

Anyone knows of families that brought small children to Buenos Aires and still managed to get out to dance a little? We would be very happy for other suggestions and recommendations.

Of course, I’ll you updated on how it goes. No matter how carefully we plan, there will be surprises.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 September 14
    Frances R permalink

    Have you considered the afternoon milongas in Centro Region Leonesa? You can take the subte to the ones that start at 6 pm. The dancing is nice, the place is huge, so the baby will be in the way of nobody. And you can even catch the subte back home around 10.30 pm.

  2. 2009 September 15

    Los Consagrados on Saturday afternoons in Centro Region Leonesa is perfect – the milongueros will coo over your little one. The nice thing about Buenos Aires is that everybody loves babies 🙂

  3. 2009 September 15

    Can you hire a nanny while there? Maybe some one can refer a reliable one… but then again I know you probably would let the baby out of your sight for a minute. 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful time anyway. If you take a lesson with our favorite teachers, send them a regard. 🙂

  4. 2009 September 15

    wouldn’t let the baby…

  5. 2009 September 15

    Thank you guys!

    @Frances/Tina: I will definitely check out Los Consagradas and possibly other afternoon milongas at Centro Leonesa, one of my favorite venues.

    @Tina: Question is if he will be still for more than two seconds…

    @TP: We will talk to some friends about a nanny, so we’ll see. And I will send your regards, of course 🙂

  6. 2009 September 16

    It is easier to bring the baby to milongas when they are still small enough to be held. But toddlers tend to get bored, and fidgety and may start crying, which is disruptive to everyone.

    Your wife will probably not get asked to dance either, if you bring the baby to the milonga.

    To be honest, I did not find it very fun, bringing the baby to the milongas, on the dancing side of things. But I only attended, as the gatherings were for friends, so I had a good time socially, but did not expect to dance, nor was asked to dance.
    (except with friends)
    So somehow, you should probably find a nanny. Check out the BA craigslist. You may find something there.

    Otherwise, this city is very kid friendly. People adore children here. If your little one is large enough for an umbrella stroller that is light and folds easily, bring it or buy one, it will make your life so much easier.

  7. 2009 September 16

    @Joli: Thanks, I was hoping for advice from someone who actually tried. We have a nice stroller (but we are a little worried that it might be a little large for public transportation) where he can actually sleep, so that is our main hope, I think. It is amazing what they can sleep through, even the very noisy subway in NYC usually worked fine when we went there.

    Maybe a milonga/practica is too noisy, we’ll see. We are thinking about getting some noise protection, if he’s willing to wear it.

    Dancing with friends isn’t so bad, we’ll give it a try and see how things work out.

  8. 2009 September 23

    Every now and then someone will bring little ones to a milonga here, and everyone is very nice about it, but really milongas are for grownups. Some of us especially, who have raised several of the short persons, are giddy to be in a room with grown-ups….
    But, that said, nothing like a nice baby to entertain us old ladies.

  9. 2009 September 30

    You got a point, of course, but staying at home, we already know how to do. 🙂 Still hope to get some suggestions on how to combine being a parent with a little tango… (other than the things already mentioned)

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