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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 12:25 GMT
Tango booms in times of crisis
Prince Charles tangos
Tango clubs are booming in Buenos Aires
Shops and businesses in Buenos Aires may be shutting down, but one industry is booming even in times of economic crisis.

Tango lessons and clubs are booming - so much so that a recently published report claimed tango is potentially a key export product for Argentina.

It could generate some $400m in annual revenues.

New tango venues are springing up all the time and some of them are busy every night of the week.

Dance boom

"Many places are opening in Buenos Aires... although industries in general are not prospering very much in Argentina, tango is really booming and attracting a lot of people," Paulina Casabé - organiser of festivals and concerts at the Culture Ministry of Buenos Aires City - told the BBC's World Business Report.

Demonstration against unemployment in Argentina
Argentines demonstrate on Monday - but some seek solace in tango
Juan Fabbri, owner of "La esquina de Carlos Gardel", is confident of making a go of his business.

"The investment in this place was $3m. We are on the breakeven already. Breakeven for us means close to $235,000 every month. We are doing that in the middle of a big crisis," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

The interest in tango isn't confined to Argentina.

Many entrepreneurs are trying to make money out of tango outside of Argentina.

Worldwide dance clubs

There are dance clubs all over the world and a small industry thrives on giving lessons, selling shoes and making tango music.

If you are someone like me who enjoys company of total strangers, you will appreciate tango

Federico Marzanaloni

"Many tourists are coming to Argentina to learn how to tango, giving an impulse to the tour industry in Argentina," Paulina Casabe said.

Federico Marzanaloni, who teaches tango in London, believes the dance has a truly international appeal.

"I think whether it is people here in London or whether it is anywhere else in the world, it is the single most open way to be intimate with a total stranger or as many total strangers as you wish," he said.

"If you are somebody like me who enjoys company of total strangers, you will appreciate tango, the tango where you legitimately wrap your leg around your partners'," he added.

The BBC' s Alejandra Martins
"New tango venues are springing up all the time"
See also:

16 Nov 00 | Americas
Argentina takes steps to save tango
16 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Tango history: From brothels to Broadway
16 Nov 00 | Education
Basic tango vocabulary
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