Thursday, 16 August 2007

Milongas in BsAs

Often I am asked what the milongas in Buenos Aires are really like. Apart from having lots of experienced dancers there, are the milongas so different to those here in Adelaide?
Well, where to start?

Undoubtedly the first thing that springs to mind is the harmony on la pista (the dance-floor), despite the crowds. At the good, traditional milongas you will usually sense a coherence between most of the dancers and music. You are not just dancing with your partner and the music, but also with all the other dancers on the floor. As long as dancers respect the conventions of the milonga, they are all able to dance, albeit within the confines of a square metre at times. At some milongas, popular with tourists who are unaware of these conventions, that harmony is often not so evident, so the much sought-after tango-trance is harder to achieve.

In Adelaide, perhaps we have not felt the need to develop some of these codigos (conventions), but they certainly serve a purpose, even if la pista is not crowded. For example:
  • Being able to dance in la ronda (line-of-dance) and not overtaking those in front or holding up those behind, ensures a smooth and predictable flow. So dancers know how much space they have to play with.
  • El cabeceo is an effective face-saving way to arrange your next dance in the next tanda. If the person doesn't maintain eye-contact or nod in return, then no harm done. Nobody is offended or put under any pressure to dance.
  • Boleos and other extravagant moves which intrude on others are avoided, to avert injuries and disruption of the mood.
Take a look at some well-known examples of Buenos Aires milongas - actually not all of them were so typically crowded when the recordings were made.

By the way, Tango Salón Adelaide's first milonga will be on Friday 5 October at an elegant new venue. More details to follow.
Pat.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

What is this thing called milonga?

It's a place or gathering where you dance tango; a style of music; a style of dance recognised as the precursor of tango. It also means words or a long story, the word milonga apparently originating from a Bantu language - evidence of the African influence in Uruguay and Argentina.
As a dance, it's typically more playful and relaxed than tango, with dancers using relatively simple figures, but exploiting the rhythm and seldom pausing. Milonga simple involves dancing to every beat, while Milonga con traspié also uses quick changes of weight, usually in double time.
I hope you enjoy these great and very different examples of Milonga con traspié with Geraldine and Javier dancing to Biagi's Flor de Montserrat, and Osvaldo and Coca's interpretation of Lomuto's No hay tierra como la mia.
Check out our recommended video links for some more examples of milonga.
Pat

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