Tango La Nacional, Thursdays at La Nacional in Chelsea, is the New York City Milonga that gets as close to Buenos Aires as you can get in New York.
Organizers Juan Pablo Vicente and Coco Arregui, and the house DJ Maria Jose are Argentine. They carefully manage the room to create a nice energy. 2018 is Tango La Nacional’s 20th anniversary so they must be doing something right.
Tango La Nacional is an Argentine Milonga
The energy of a milonga comes from its organizers. Juan Pablo Vicente and Coco Arregui are both Argentine, so the Argentines go there. Coco is serious and quiet, while Juan Pablo has a big generous Argentine sense of humor. They make a good team.
Tango La Nacional has long had the reputation of being the milonga where New York City’s best Tangueros go. That’s more or less true. Like in Argentina, the best dancers arrive after midnight when the floor starts to open up.
Unlike in Buenos Aires, the place closes early at 2am, but it’s enough time to get in a few good tandas. The cabaceo (invitation to dance) is more respected than in most New York City milongas.
Maria Jose generally DJs. A member of the La Nacional family with long practice teaching and DJing in New York, she is pretty good at playing music for dancers that keeps the room flowing.
Behind the bar, Omar will keep you well lubricated. Tango La Nacional is one of the few places where you can order Fernet and Coke like they drink in the legendary Villa Urquiza neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Don’t be cheap. Omar deserves a nice tip.
There’s an old Argentino who often brings Alfajores, Argentina’s version of homemade South American stuffed shortbread cookies. The moors originally brought this pastry to Spain. They are what an Oreo could be. If he offers you one, consider it an honor and try it. ¡Tan delicioso! Details like that remind you of home.
Dancers of a certain age will be reminded by the strings of colored lights overhead of La Calecita, Tete’s storied outdoor milonga in Nuñez, Buenos Aires. Juan Pablo once told me that was the inspiration, but with Juan Pablo you never know.
Tete and La Calecita are long dead and gone, but the Tango plays on at Tango La Nacional.
Guest Artists at Tango La Nacional
Analia Centurion from Argentina teaches at 8:15pm and will perform with Leonardo Sardella at 11:30pm on Thursday, September 7, 2017.
New York-based Argentine dancers Leonardo Sardella y Walter Perez teach workshops Thursday, August 24 & 31, 2017 from 8:15 – 9:30 pm.
New York-based Argentine dancer Leonardo Sardella teaches a master class Thursday, August 17, 2017 from 8:15 – 9:30 pm.
Carolina Jaurena & Andres Bravo, New Yorkers from Uruguay and Colombia, perform Thursday, August 1, 2017. Tomas Corbalan teaches. Maria Jose DJs. Carolina’s father is bandoneonista legend Raul Jaurena. Andres is one of the great Colombian dancers who is dominating New York City right now. www.andresycarolina.com
Julia Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez perform Thursday, July 27, 2017. Claudio is one of the artists you study with in Buenos Aires to learn dramatic technique in Tango.
Celebrate the birthday of Tango La Nacional organizer Coco Arregui on July 20, 2017.
Carla Marano and Octavio Fernandez perform July 13, 2017.
Alberto Ramos Cordero and Micaela Colleen Barrett perform July 6, 2017.
Maria Ines Bogado (2010 World Champion Tango Salon) & Orlando Reyes perform Thursday, June 22, 2017.
Mariana Parma and Mario de Camillis perform, Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Analía Centurión from Chacabuco, Buenos Aires and Sergio Martin Almiron of Garín will teach and perform Thursday, June 8, 2017. Lesson 8:15pm. Performance 11:30pm.
Tamara Bisceglia and Gaston Enrique Olguin from Buenos Aires perform Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:30pm.
Silvana Brizuela-Weigal and Jose Rojas give an Argentine folklore performance in honor of the May Revolution, Thursday, May 25, 2017.
Former New Yorkers Daniela Pucci and Luis Bianchi teach and perform Thursday, May 11, 2017.
Florencia Borgnia & Marcos Pereyra, runners-up in the 2015 Buenos Aires Metropolitan Tango championships, perform for Tango La Nacional’s 19th anniversary celebration on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Tango legend Mora Godoy showed up.
Lorena González Cattaneo and Gastón Camejo from Uruguay, the 2014 Tango Salon World Champions of Buenos Aires, perform Thursday, April 27, 2017.
Adriana Salgado Neira & Orlando Reyes celebrate 20 years of performing together and the launch of their Personal Tango Programs with a performance Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:30pm.
Soledad Buenosaires will teach and later perform with Ana Padron Thursday, April 6, 2017.
El Flaco Dany, one of the old guys from the Tango Renaissance, teaches Milonga Traspie and performs with Tango La Nacional’s own Maria Jose, Thursday, March 30, 2017.
Guest artists Yamila Ivonne y Tomás Corbalan from Buenos Aires teach and perform Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Argentines Sol Cerquides and Fernando Gracia perform Thursday, March 16, 2017.
José Garofalo, renowned dancer, actor, and organizer of the Buenos Aires milonga Porteño y Bailarin, teaches Thursday, March 2, 9, & 16, 2017.
Forever Tango captain Jorge Torres teaches February 9, 16, & 23, 2017.
Colombian champions Adriana Salgado Neira y Daniel Martinez Cadavid take over La Nacional with a lesson and performance Thursday, February 2, 2017.
Visiting Tango La Nacional
There is a class for total beginners from 7-8pm. You don’t need a partner. Just go and have fun. It helps to have dance shoes or leather-soled shoes that glide easily on the floor.
Try what you learned early, and then have a seat and watch the dancers who keep getting better as the night progresses.
The Intermediate class from 8-9:30pm is taught by guest artists, when there are guest artists.
Dancing is from 9:30pm until 2am.
Admission is $15 which includes lessons.
El Muro (seating for people who are ready to dance) is along the left when you walk in. The main action though is along the dance floor next to the bar and around the tables.
To reserve a table, reach out to Juan Pablo. Oh, and be sure to laugh at his jokes.
Tango La Nacional
239 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
For more information, visit www.TangoLaNacional.com