Going back to basics, Milonguero Style!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Ampster, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    After all these years, I've done the showy AT thing, dabbled in the nuevo thing, did the Salon thing, etc. etc. etc.

    This time, I wanted to concentrate on and learn the essence of close embrace/milonguero. I figured that whatever I've learned, known, done, it would be a little different when I did dance close embrace.

    I got Muma as my teacher. She is a pure milonguera, majical on the social dance floor and just absolutely elegant. No frills, no flailing legs, no fancy stuff. Just pure unadulterated, connected, social dancing in the milonguero style in its pure essence.

    We basically went back to basics... MY HEAD BLEW UP FROM OVERLOAD :shock: I was SHOCKED at how much I thought I knew, but DID NOT!

    I had to relearn how to walk; How to embrace; How to stand; The right posture; How to create the connection correctly; How to do turns; How to lead...

    It was a very enlightening and eye openning experience. I'm glad I went down this course.

    I got it to work at the milonga, and WHAT A DIFFERENCE... Wooohoo!!! Magical! It was the embodiment of "In tango (AT), you dance for yourself, and for your partner... NOT for the audience."

    The moral of the story... In AT, the basics ALWAYS make a difference.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to the club!
  3. newbie

    newbie Active Member

    Milonguero style is not the basics.
  4. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    it's a lot of fun..no?
  5. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Bravo Ampster. I think Newbie is incorrect. Milonguero style is basic, but it is not easy. The refinement and generalisation of simple ideas. A bit like the difference between a stone sculpture and a matchstick house. The sculpture is "just" a single lump of rock with that has been shaped. The matchstick house is made of hundreds or thousands of pieces, but both it and the scupture exist to be looked at.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member



    As they do in ALL genres.. the foundation is what we build our " house " upon .
  7. newbie

    newbie Active Member

    I think I am correct. Estilo petito (was the original name when it appeared but milonguero was better for marketing purposes) was born in a certain period of tango evolution (mid 50s), there were different styles before (just look at El Cachafaz & C. Calderon and their wide offset), salon style is older, etc etc. From milonguero it would have kept evolving but A.T froze up to the 80s, that is, young people switched to other dances.
    More popular in BsAs yes (but the that's what it was designed for in the first place). More basic yes in the meaning "simpler" but not in the meaning "foundation".
  8. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I think we can agree to differ on our interpretation of the words we're using. :)
  9. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    In the same way the high percentage of longtime drivers failing their driving tests if they were ever to re-sit one, methinks.

    Aaah - my favourite passtime. People watching people walking. Learn to walk, walk, walk and everything else....:cool:

    BINGO!:rocker:

    :applause: :applause:
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    My impression of Amster's post is that relearning the basics was required in order to do M. properly. The style itself is not the basics, but the basics were applied finally and therefore made a huge difference.

    I agree that in flashier dancing, there is so much going on that masks the basics, that people can "cheat" them. It doesn't make them good dancers of course, but they can execute moves improperly and still make something happen. In simpler styles and close embrace, you find out fast that if not done correctly, it simply doesn't work. Period.

    It reminds me of learning skating jumps. I could do what I thought was a fairly respectable waltz jump and also a loop jump, but then my coach added the loop to the waltz in combination (or 2 loops in combination), and I learned that I had never landed EITHER of them correctly. But by having to do that loop jump after the first jump, I was FORCED to learn correct landing, or the 2nd jump simply didn't happen.
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    New Phenomenon

    Hi, ... would call it: Milonguero is a destination ...

    There are a lot of statements, if Milonguero style has evolved from Canyengue or from Orillero, which is also thought to be the source for Salón style .... and so on.

    Think Milonguero is a NEW phenomenon, as new as NeoTango. People who started TA about 10 years before me used to dance Nuevo ! No one knew Milonguero style, then.

    The difference between TA (f.i.) and standardized ballroom dances is the living substrate spread all over the world, but esp. to find in BAs and MV. One year Milonguero gets popular, then Salón, then ... The substrate breeds all the styles and fashions, but its a living mixture and all thoese styles and traditions exist simultaniously, cross, and evolve.

    Don´t agree: Nuevo is the great and unique concept of the 60-70s (t.m.m.)

    Greetings
  12. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member


    I agree with you, Opendoor :)
  13. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    just becasue people didn't "know" Milonguero style til a few years ago (because when tango was first reintroduced outside Argentina after the 80's, it was mainly stage dancers teaching, and they surely weren't teaching Milonguero style becasue that's not what people were watching them do on stage) doesn't mean it didn't exist. And the old Milonguero's, like Tete, surely didn't just pick it up 10 years ago.

    Really- it doesn't make sense that a less ornate version of a dance would originate after a more ornate version...in most things, like other art, the less ornate comes first and then develops from there.

    What is mainly referred to as "Milonguero" style is generally thought of "salon" by Argentines. Everything is referenced there as "salon" even thought the embrace and some technques differ slightly for Milonguero.Milonguero as a term, as other people have stated in various threads, and you can find verification in multiple places, came about because Susanna Miller coined the term in the 90's to dennote the specific style she liked and saw danced by the old milonguero's, and that looked different than Salon style, but didn't have a name to denote it as a style. (as a side note- Tete calls what he does "Salon" even though he tends to dance flat chest on chest style and taught with Susanna Miller, and this style is what has become known in North America as "Milonguero", I suppose through Susanna Miller.)


    I believe Daniel Trenner was one of the people responsible for bringing this "social" Tango style to North America back in the 90's (through watching the old milongueros in BsAs and Susanna Miller), at least, that was what I read in an interview with him.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Exactly what I was going to post, but you beat me to it.

    Yes, I would think the old milongueros who are in their 60's, 70's and 80's would quibble with the idea that "milonguero" is the NEW style. What's new is calling it that. For them, as you said, its just what they dance and have always danced. They call it Salon.

    Which is why I find it confusing that people refer to the terms as though Salon and Milonguero are 2 different things. I guess I don't know exactly what Europeans and people in other parts of N. America are calling each thing. I assume that "Salon" (as used by those OTHER than the old milongueros) refers to a style with a more variable embrace and Milonguero refers to an unchanging flat on embrace.

    Daniel Trenner was instrumental in bringing the dance of the old milongueros out of BA and to the US, although I know one BA "milonguro" whose opinion of Daniel is: "Trenner doesn't know anything about Tango". (which I find pretty funny given how much DT was influenced by Tete')
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    A proffesor I had once talked about the 3 stages of art and civilization. Both particular art movements and whole civilizations/ cultures run through a cycle of Primitive, Classic, and Baroque periods. One is experimental, the next is the pure refined style that needs nothing added or taken away, and the last is an exageration/ bastardization of the style, which eventually leads to an exploration of something new, and so begins another period of experimentation or Primitive period.

    He felt that the world as a whole had seen 2 great classic periods, the dominance of the Ancient Greeks and the Renaisance. The Renassance occured at slightly different times in various countries (with the most known being the Italian, however, even China experienced a classic period during the Ming Dynasty which was, relatively speaking, about the same era) His theory unfortunately didn't take into account the really long documented history of Asia and the possible classic periods that occured in China many thousands of years ago.

    His opinion was that te world was now in the transition of Baroque to Primitive and that if we were lucky, we might live to see another great classic period. (i'm not so sure... it seems to me we are still very much in a baroque period of exageration, although if you consider technology, we are definitely in an explorative stage)

    He didn't live to see the coming classic period, but its an intersting theory, and a thought provoking way to view both history and the future.
  16. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Ah well- to each his own. There's somewhere I read that someone said Tete isn't a real milonguero so there you have it...

    I guess from the way I have had it categorized and ataught to me, is that Salon tends to use a "v" and also open, and milonguero uses the flat on style (which also restricts the types of movements to some degree).

    Personally, I can see it as a subset of what we call "Salon" and so can understand why it would all get called "Salon" (because it is) but at the same time, it's has it's own way of doing things (different embrace and connection points and a typical subset of movements that "go" really well with it) so I can also understand people wanting to clarify it and give it its own style name for ease of personal understanding or teaching...just like no one argues about Nuevo having it's own style name, and for very much the same reasons, but so many people get up in arms about Milonguero having it's own name...I just don't get it...if the name helps clarify- okey dokey, if not well, that's ok too.
  17. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Daniel is a very interesting person. I sometimes get the feeling that he enjoys following more than he likes leading (although he's certainly good at both). My wife and I have taken some privates with him this summer (and schedule permitting, I'd like to take a few more).
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I suppose that if you really want to use broad catoagories, there are really only 2 styles... Salon social dancing and stage dancing (which might even be choreographed.)

    At the NYC tango festival, they have very specific guidelines about what is allowed in the "salon" competition, vs the stage competition. One could draw the distinctions from their competition rulebook I suppose.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I took a long intensive weekend workshop with Daniel and his former partner Rebecca Shulman a few years back. The topic for the weekend was exchange of lead and follow, which comprised a significant aspect of their partnership. It was about 6 hours per day, and I wasn't advanced enough to do everything, much less retain it all. I'd like to take it again now.
  20. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    entirely true- but on a more practical level, most people seem to get along better when things that are different have a different "category" to think of them by instead of when things that work slightly differently get lumped in to the same mix as the rest. That just leads to the type of conversation we are having again in this thread, though it's been had multiple times already this summer.

    I'll make a really nerdy comparison, for the scientists among us...In science (math in particular) we have a set of numbers...all numbers no matter how strange...the real numbers. Then there are subsets of these numbers (lots of them) that, while stil being numbers, have certain properties that get grouped together, like irrationals or integers, prime numbers...etc...

    I think it is a basic function of the human brain to want to categorize things for ease of understanding, and so I tend to think of Milonguero as a certain subset of Salon, with a particular type of embrace and some particular movements that are common to it and by deleting out the things that don't fit in with dancing this way, I have come to a much better overall understanding in general.

    Even the masters I have asked about this have their own interpretation, some who just come out and say it and others who don't. On one occasion last year, I had a class in milonga where the teachers (both from BsAs) were teaching something that requred dissociation. I asked them what do you do about this particular movement if you are dancing flat chest on chest style...their reply was that it was not in that vocabulary and they wouldn't explain it (though in my opinion they needed to) because it would take a long time and a totally different set of classes.

    So- how much of what we learn is because we assume that because the teaher is teaching it the way they are, that that is all there is, and nothing more, even though we have not availed ourselves by asking questions about it and what else may be lurking behind the scenes?

    So Ampster, having danced several styles of tango in the past, has now expereiced something that goes on in the background of tango, but isn't often (IMO) discussed by the teachers who mainly teach Salon style, though are entirely aware of the existance of a flat on style, they just aren't teaching it (and they should, IMO). And so now he's had someone teach it to him and found it different in feeling, and it is. Like certain subsets of numbers, it has it's own qualities (a strong connection) that you want to enhance and I think that is plenty of reason for me to think of it in a different subset of a larger genre.

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