Polo, like football, tennis, basketball, hockey and rugby, is a sport which is practised in Argentina with great professionalism and at international level.
Argentina has a lot of fertile lands, excellent for raising thoroughbreds, pedigree mares and foals which perform extremely well in competitions.
The game arrived with the English immigrants who settled in Argentina. The great quality of the horses was very important for the expansion of polo in the pampas.
On 30th August 1875, the first official polo match was played in Argentina in the "Estancia Villanueva", in Ranchos, in the province of Buenos Aires. Most of the players were English, as was the owner of the "Estancia".
At the time, the sport was fashionable in England and it was quickly adopted by the Argentineans, who were great horsemen.
An article in a newspaper of the time made the following comment: "Polo is particularly adaptable to a country of centaurs like Argentina, where the land is flat like a chessboard and where the horses are trained for competition in suitable conditions".
In 1895, the first delegation of Argentinean polo players played in London and performed extremely well. Since then, Argentinean polo maintains top rank among international teams, with 9 out of the 10 best riders in the world.
Tango was born at the end of the 19th century in Argentina and Uruguay in the working-class areas of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Massive immigration from Europe, especially from Spain and Italy, brought music, melodies and rhythms which met with a recent Plata River phenomenon : the milonga.
The milonga began to become widespread in the middle of the 19th century in the suburbs of Buenos Aires; popular singing and dancing, at times melancholy but also stirring, deep and lively. It allowed the men who had come seeking fortune, and who greatly outnumbered the women, to compete with each other. So, it was mostly men who danced among themselves.
The many European influences and the development of the dance as a competition in seduction made it into a pastime with high stakes. The tango is constructed like a progressive codification of passes, rhythms, breaks, and the cultural unification of a population whose diversity was a source of tension.
Each step reveals and unravels at the same time the dramas of poverty, faraway home countries and unrequited desire. At the beginning of the 20th century, many young men, from good families who liked to go slumming and to find easy targets to seduce, discovered the tango. It was, however, impossible to perform this dance, considered immoral by their own social class, with young women from the same background. So, when they went to Paris on their young bourgeois "initiation" trips, they introduced this dance, born in sleazy bars and gambling dens, to Parisian society, which was cosmopolitan and always on the lookout for new distractions. The tango was very quickly adopted in the French capital. It became cherished and accepted by the bourgeoisie. In the end, it was through this European "filter" to Argentinean and Uruguayan high society that the tango finally became widespread in its native land.
Tango is a culture. Clearly, to sum it up as music and dance would be simplistic.
Faena (Puerto Madero), an amazing hotel decorated by Philippe Starck, an oasis of design near the old harbour of Buenos Aires, but which does not forget the culture of the country and puts on an outstounding Tango show.