The Best Tango in Paris
American Way Magazine

Paris radiates at nightfrom the illuminated Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame to the café-cluttered Champs-Elysees. But amid all the French fanfare echoes the cry of the Spanish bandoneon (an accordion-looking instrument) and the frantic clicking of heels against the pavement. That's because Paris' latest dance craze is the Argentine tango.

Where to learn and practice the tango in Paris is almost as secretive and seductive as the dance itself. Most of the studios and clubs are hidden in the back corners of the city's cobblestone streets. Here's how to find a few:

Bistro Latin, Paris' most popular club for authentic Argentine tango, is located above a cinema near the Hotel de Ville, on a narrow side street at 20 rue du Temple. Musicians can be heard Thursday through Saturday evenings, when the practiques (dances) begin at 7 p.m. and build to a crescendo by 2 a.m. Owner Alfredo Palacios, an Argentine who arrived in Paris six years ago, teaches classes earlier in the evenings for a fee of eighty francs. The pratiques cost fifty francs.

Tucked in a residential area near netro stop Porte de St. Cloud, Maison des Jeunes et du la Culture holds Argentine tango classes every Tuesday night with a pratique to follow. One of the instructors Fabiana Basso, emphasizes the sentiment and soul of the dance through a breakdown of the rhythm and music: "The strong notes of the trombone represent man, while the soft, spirited flutes are the woman." According to Basso, "Parisians love the tango as an art form and for its technique. But it is important for them to better understand the essence of the dance and the concept of ensemble, dancing as one entity, in total sync."

Dare to step into this dance of intimacy and grace? Here's another hideaway to explore: the Academie of Danse, at 17 rue du Faubourg du Temple near metro stop Republique, holds practiques every Sunday and Wednesday evening. On balmy weekend evenings, take a stroll down the Quai Saint-Bernard (Musee du Plein Air) and see if they're holding one of the occasional outdoor pratiques, which are usually held from 7 p.m. to midnight. Just drop a few francs in the bucket and dance the night away under a starlit sky. And let this not be your last tango in Paris.

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