Tango Argentino > Milonguero style

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jantango, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    I came across an old magazine with an interview of Susana Miller in 2003.

    What is the milonguero style?
    It's a style danced in Buenos Aires from many years ago that was very popular during the 1940s and 50s. It was developed when many cabarets and confiterias opened as dancing places in downtown, replacing bigger ones such as neighborhood clubs. That space reason generated a more closed embrace tango.

    Which are the main features of this style?
    It's a tango that starts from the hug, we call it "a hug that walks." Its choreography and rhythm have their own features. Circulation is also special, since couples move both on their axis and in concert with the other couples following a circular route.

    How much time is necessary to be ready to go dancing?
    That depends on the ability and dedication of each person. Some learn faster but all can end dancing well. On average, you can be an intermediate in three months, and an advanced for life. I mean, there's no ceiling.

    What is necessary to dance tango?
    Sensitivity. The human being is very sensitive. The person who is well connected to the world is also connected with music. Some people are afraid of that connection and even unconsciously are afraid of music. it's interesting and funny that idea of "fear of music."

    Aren't some people unqualified for dancing?
    Many people arrived saying, I can't dance, and today they are great dancers. Most of the people can because most of us have a body and we like music, which are enough conditions tolearn. Disqualification only exists in the head. And when the head rules, the body obeys. The teacher must show the pupil that he can.

    Who were your teachers?
    Many people, but mainly Pocho Pizarro, Gustavo Naveira and Pepito Avellaneda. But those who influenced me more were the milongueros. I learned a lot with them.

    What's your vision of tango teaching abroad?
    Some communities progressed, usually thanks to a milonguero teacher. People get interested in this style because of the feeling, the rhythm and the relationship between the couple and the floor. I think teachers and organizers should have a more cooperative effort for the benefit of their communties.

    And how are the milongas abroad?
    Some milongas understand that tango is a party, where one takes part and isn't just a spectator. Others replaced the party with an event because they couldn't organize a party.
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I've never seen that happen.
  3. jantango

    jantango Active Member


    That depends on what you consider an intermediate dancer to be.

    Personally, I don't like labeling with levels. Either a person knows how to dance or doesn't. Those who don't, can learn. I taught 8 weeks of classes and sent people on their way to enjoy it.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks !!!
    (your links, which may have been there all along, are great pathway into what I was looking for! All I can figure from a quick look is that I wasn't dancing small enough.)
  5. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I always thought you were pretty demanding with your definitions.
  6. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    "The person who is well connected to the world is also connected to the music." - A very bold statement.

    I like what she says about the body obeying when the head rules. I feel like the importance of the mind-body connection in learning is often neglected.

    Steve Pastor - Are you still not dancing much? Now that I am in your neck of the woods, I am curious!
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I saw that on that other site! Haven't heard from you here for some time. I was kinda disappointed that I didn't hear from you.

    They moved the Sunday practica on me! I'd been going there for years. Just harder to go somewhere new.
    I've been cutting up at the CW place in Tualatin - Bushwhachers - including working on my WCS ala Skippy Blair. Not much AT though because of travel overseas, etc.

    I have to say that it's difficult to match the feeling I got from dancing in Buenos Aires. I had noted a change in Portland dancing, and... It's just kind of hard to deal with woman who started only recently "correcting" me, seeing the lack of musicality, etc.
    Almost went to Alex' last Milonga series to get started again, but was still decompressing from last trip.
    So, after coming back from my last trip, and contemplating another one that would potentially take me back through Buenos Aires... And it's summer, you know, and summer attendance at AT was always super light experience...
    Things will pick up in September, so if you let me know where you are dancing...

    Oh, BodyVox has free lessons on August 25. Going to African dance!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2017
  8. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Steve Pastor - I'm going to send you a PM so we don't interfere with this thread :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2017
  9. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    another magazine interview 2007

    What is the origin of the milonguero style?

    SM: I did not live it, but protagonists of the tango of the 40s and 50s say that when they went from the neighborhood clubs to smaller dance floors, they developed a more compact dance, as a result by the anonymity of the places with no families. Beyond the name that I gave it, I did not invent anything. What I did was to try to understand what the milongueros and developed a system for that style.

    Graciela Gonzalez: Milonguero is one of the many tango salon styles that have to do with the differences between neighborhoods and spaces. I believe that the name arose like a marketing tool, something that was sold. Because all of us, who dance at milongas, are milongueros. As for the style of dance itself, in some moment it was promoted like the only one that was danced in Buenos Aires, which is not true either. Today it is already a label and, as such, one has to accept it.

    SM: But this is what people do to try to understand something complex. I don't believe either that it has been the only way in which tango was danced in Buenos Aires. I have never believed it. It is true that the denomination is inexact because it does not encompass the guy who goes to a milonga and does not dance the style that I teach. When I began to teach, I had to differentiate what I did in some way. I could have called it "Josesito" but who was going to understand that?

    GG: Before it was called Tango de confiteria. More than a name, it turned into a fashion and a monster. Some fashionable postures limit the mobility of the couple. Many times the man has to bear an enormous weight because the woman crosses her left arm diagonally on his back.

    SM: I believe that the form of embrace does not influence the difficulty of moving someone. It is true that in tango many things are done because of fads but I opt for not resisting too much because these are phenomena that affect you anyway. Obviously, you don't have to accept every new thing but inevitably you will imitate, because in order to preserve a principle you have to keep updating it. When I began, the embrace was not so closed. I closed it more and later people were also creating on their own.

    GG: I do not agree at all with that kind of embrace. It bothers me a lot and I suffer each time that I travel, because I imagine how the men that are embraced like this must suffer. In the last world championship, I could not see the number of the competitor on his back because of the embrace of the woman. Besides the elegance in the alignment of the shoulders is lost.

    SM: It seems to me that we speak of different styles. I do tango milonguero, and she is more electic. Sher is right in her context, but to understand my perspective, one must leave the context.
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi jantango!

    Can you tell us how common the relevant terms and words (as milonguero, confiteria, apilado, centro, almagro..) actually are in BsAs? And of course which group frequently takes use of which term (tourists, locals, professionals, under 30, over 30..)?

    Thanks in advance
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    It´s not a question of what you consider intermediate, it´s the question what one considers milonguero style actually is. I find that in the end it´s legitimate to claim it that way because Miller plays with the ambiguous term milonguero.

    We all (teachers as aficionados) know that it takes at least 2 years to dance with a shared axis more or less fairly.

    On the other hand, to learn "milonguero style" in the sense of social tango dancing, it only needs the length of a first tanda!
  12. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Worth noting.
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Thinking about it, rather than anyone hi-jacking the term AT for this particular style of dancing, wouldn't it be fairer to accept that it is a narrow style choice, practised by a minority, in a particular place - and name it accordingly. If it is the dance of the central milongas of BsAs, to be sharply distinguished from the prevailing style a couple of miles away, it can't also be the National Dance of a large country, or be normative for the International dance community.
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Jantango, have you seen Graciela at a milonga?
  15. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Yes, once in 13 years. She was in El Arranque many years ago. I was surprised. She may go to Salon Canning or Sunderland Club, I don't know. But if she showed up in Lo de Celia, she would have to be patient for invitations like any other newcomer. Susana Miller went to Lo de Celia on one occasion, and that was years ago. I remember seeing her dancing in flat shoes, not heels.

    Graciela and other big name teachers don't know how to use the cabeceo on the rare occasions they go to a milonga. I read an article by Milena Plebs on this subject. Even she didn't know. That's understandable since she was Miguel Angel Zotto's partner and didn't dance with other men. She asked a milonguero why no one was inviting her. He responded, you're too busy talking with the woman next to you. You have to look around and let men know you want to dance.

    Is it any wonder why dancers aren't learning the codes and customs of the milongas? Those who teach don't dance socially.
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Are there any notable teachers who dance socially?
  17. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I know of one Argentine teacher, from personal experience, who came from the social milieu and knows well the codes of tango. She teaches them in her classes. What students learn is always not the same as what teachers teach.

    Even around here, there are students who ignore the codes, even though I'm sure they have been explained.
  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Alicia Pons dances socially, so does Enriqueta Kleinmann. Monica Paz, Muma Valino, Myriam Pincen, Romina Hahn. Among men, Blas Catrenau, Alberto Dasseu, Nestor La Vitola, Cacho Dante, Jorge Kero, Marcelo Solis ... Osvaldo and Coca Cartery. I am naming names that are probably considered notable by people from abroad, there are other milongueros and milongueras who give lessons and who still go to milongas to "milonguear", not to work or look for business.
  19. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    There are plenty of teachers who dance socially. By definition, when more than one couple dances to music in a setting where it is for their enjoyment, it is social dancing.

  20. This is from an interview at Tango Pulse:

    "Graciela: Margarita [a now 70 year old Milonguera who was an old partner of Pupi Castello and now currently dances at Sutherland Club] said that when she doesn’t dance she feels bad. For these people, they say they want to be dancing when they die.
    Q:…do you?
    Graciela: No.
    Q: Why?
    Graciela: I believe that for the new generation, Tango is an element chosen but it’s not the only thing.
    Q: Are you part of the new generation?
    Graciela: I’m part of the generation of the 80′s. For example, last year when the fire happened there were no milongas for more than a month, the man El Tano Guillermo didn’t know what to do with his life. He was totally depressed. The place where he belonged was closed. So for many people of that generation, the milonga is their life. His past? He lived for a long time in Canada. He danced milonga traspie but with troubles with his life, he changed."

    This quote above makes me think that Tango is not the center of Graciela's life and even though she calls herself a Milonguera, she isn't a Milonguera in the old sense. In fact, I myself start to feel lost after only a week without tango, which only happens if I go out of town.

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