Travel Blog

16 Jan

Feel the Heat: Tango and Salsa dancing in Montreal

tango dancing

Montreal may be many miles north of countries where tango and salsa regularly rule the dance floor, but even so, the city shares a great love for clave beats and milonga nights, with tango and salsa studios hopping even in the midst of winter…

Whether you’re moved by the bombastic Cuba-meets-New-York-City rhythms of salsa or the sultry ways of Argentine tango, and whether you’re in Montreal with a dance partner or not, choice abounds. The city’s tango enthusiasm is so great that last year’s Montréal en Lumière, an annual winter festival of food, arts and culture, shone a spotlight on Argentina, welcoming several artists, including musician Daniel Piazzolla and tango dance experts. And the popular Club Salsatheque in downtown Montreal recently made a name for itself in indie-rock circles after Arcade Fire played a few “secret shows” at the venue to launch their Reflektor album.

tangolibre class

Montreal’s many festivals (see our Festival Guide for a full list) reflect the diversity of the city’s cultural makeup and international scope, so it’s not surprising to see among them a Montreal International Tango Festival. The festival, held in mid-August, welcomes dancers and teachers from Montreal and around the world, featuring classes, live music and several milongas. Of course, tango isn’t reserved for the steamy summer months only – throughout year, the city’s many tango studios keep locals and visitors in top dancing shape. Brush up on fancy footwork with classes for all levels at Tango Libre and meet new dance partners at Tango Social Club.

Learn even more moves at Tangueria and Air de Tango (which also offers “Tango Queer” classes) in the Plateau neighbourhood, and seek out styles traditional and contemporary at Las Piernas Tango downtown and Studio Tango in Old Montreal. Along with events at studio spaces, even more milongas and dance performances, often running well into the night, pop up consistently all year – watch for them online and on studio bulletin boards.


Salsa clubs increase the city’s caliente factor all year too, from the aforementioned Club Salsatheque, well known in dance circles as Montreal’s longest-running salsa club, to Club 649, another classic club where dancing and brush-up lessons happen every night of the week. Take a class – free for beginners on Monday nights – and then hit the dancefloor downtown at Latin Groove, see how Salsa Folie keeps things hot every Thursday and Sunday, peruse the many dance classes lead by brilliant profession dancers and choreographers at Studio Bizz on Mont Royal Avenue, or visit Latin dance studio Caroline Paré uptown for classes and Friday soirées. Stay apprised of special salsa events via Salsa Montreal, including the January 17 Salsa Bachata en Blanc at the Rialto Theatre. And after spending winter on all that fancy footwork, show it off at the Montreal Salsa Convention in mid-May, where workshops, club nights, and live music and dance performances from local and international artists keep everyone on their toes.

Images, in order, courtesy of Tango Social Club and Noemie Letu, Tango Libre, and Salsatheque

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