Tango Argentino > To claim or not to claim...that is your milonga!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Heather2007, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Tanguera

    Tanguera New Member

    I agree to that: tango, milonga and vals are three dances with their own characteristics, but have enough in common to be not separated each other. Saying "I dance tango but not vals and milonga" is like saying "I dance Standard. But not Foxtrot".
  2. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    North/South differences: I kid you not. He said it without blushing so I took him seriously. And his name was Wayne. There, I named and shamed. ;-)

    Isn't Damian (Labato?) an Argentinian rather than a North Londoner?
  3. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Careful Heather, if nothing else you'll going to start another Argentinian / Argentine debate ;-)
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "so do the nuevo dancers tend to dance in open, or do they move between the two?
    and how long does it take them to get good at dancing nuevo? I've been staying away from a lot of nuevo stuff because it seems harder then dancing simpler stuff"

    To better understand what is meant by nuevo, I highly recommend that you (meaning anyone who isn't really familiar with the term) read the following interview with Fabian Salas. http://www.totango.net/salas2.html
    In general though, what I meant by using the term was the use of sacadas, ganchos, boleos, colgadas, volcadas, soltadas, etc in an open embrace.
    I don’t notice much changing to a close embrace.
    It is possible, however, to approach apilado / milonguero with a nuevo like approach.

    "Nuevo milonguero is a relatively new approach to Argentine tango that adds some nuevo movements such as change of direction in turns, cadenas, and volcadas to milonguero-style tango. It would probably be a stretch to regard nuevo milonguero a separate style of dancing because the approach is fully compatible with milonguero-style tango and doesn't have an identifiably separate group of adherents." http://www.tejastango.com/tango_styles.html#nuevo_milonguero
    The problem here is that many women find it difficult to move in directions that they haven’t done before, even if the leader (being me for instance) can feel that their center is telling them to go that way with the free foot..
    I don’t think, though, that anyone thinks, "Oh, look, Nuevo milonguero!", and some/many of the women just get frustrated. (Bad Steve, Bad!)
    Now, back to the people most of us would say are dancing nuevo.
    Frankly, I must report that most people never get good at nuevo. I write this because I cannot say that anyone is "good" at dancing anything if they can't figure how to do it in time to the music.
    People doing cool moves with no regard for the music describes probably > 95% of the people I see doing it.
    There is a very small number of people who actually can do that stuff in time to the music. And an even smaller number who can actually express the dynamics of the music with the movement.
    On the other hand, we know that apilado/milonguero has a reputation for being boring and sort of for older, less spry, less athletic types. (I disagree, of course. But there it is.)
    So, to be "good" at either style takes time. But "good" is so hard to define. Dancing simple stuff well requires quite a bit of technique and connection to the music, your partner, and other couples on the floor.
    Regarding milonga, specifically, I’m drawing a blank on people who use nuevo elements much at all when they dance it.
  5. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I would consider Jaimes Friedgens milonga to be pretty nuevo influenced - though it is really hard to say that none of the things that show up in his milonga would ever show up in the milonga of more traditional dancers - it seems to me that everybody does "weird" stuff in their milonga.
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I believe this statement to be ludicrous. Yes, milonga is one of the dances in the tango family, but it is not tango. Would the same be said for vals? If you want to see a disgruntled Argentine, just call this dance tango waltz or tango vals. They will quickly tell you that it is not tango vals; it is vals...a totally seperate dance.

    Peaches can say that she dances Standard but not Fox, if she dances QS or SW well enough. Does one say they can not speak any language because they can not speak them all? Or, can not drive a car because they can not drive a bus, truck, earth mover? Or, can not swing because they don't dance all 8 major styles, or variations?

    One can be an exceptional tango dancer, and not dance milonga.
  7. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Crikey, you're right. :raisebro:
  8. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    I guess said teacher only said it, half-believing it (if at all) in order to rally the masses in the direction of her class. A bit like saying, if you're don't bruth your teeth they will drop out. And so the long queue for toothbrushes.

    A line I read from a book as follows: Man will train men to think and perform as monkeys. It is thus why I trust my own counsel and suspect all those of others.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Very socratic;

    The issue of style is surely to be able to do smoething well enough and to be able to impart the qualities that one enjoys most ie to make tango one's own. To take the moves and music that inspire us most and to dance them well.

    I have learnt from Komala ( my nemesis) that the quality of a step in milonga can be light like a giraffe or heavy like an elephant and knowing this it is then a matter of choice.
    My own tendency is toward nuevo but this is as stated in Steve Pastor's post, part of a spectrum of tango.

    Most people assume they are taught tango; My view is that it is autodidactic. Most teachers rely on sight for what is taught but the best things in tango are taught by feeling,
    so often it needs to be one-to one.

    I was watching a woman do some excellent leading at a milonga and I thought that's how I want to dance; everything she did was coming up through the floor and her focus was entirley on the follower's energy and it is how I dance and how I have always danced, but to arrive at this place in tango has taken a while and been an unconscious process.
  10. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    milonga is a different dance, it has different music. the timing, rhythm and phrasing are different. saying tango and milonga are the same dance is like saying that jive and "rock and roll" (flick flick back step no idea what it is really called) are the same because the music sounds similar. you can do tango to milonga but it feels wrong and weird. like doing foxtrot to a waltz. am i a total freak for imagining that music is actually the most important thing in dancing? even if one of you can't hear it, the other person can make you feel the music through them. that is if they are listening to it.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Actually, jive and rock n roll were derived from the Jitterbug that GIs brought to Europe during WW II. (In 50s and early 60s "swing" or "Jittebug" was danced to the rock music of the day.) And Jitterbug and Swing are terms that were applied to what came from Lindy Hop.
    So, in one sense they are the same dance, although they have emphasized different things, left other things out entirely, etc.

    Just as you can dance West Coast Swing to either a slow blues song, or a blazing fast rockabilly tune, and have it still be West Coast Swing, you can dance Argentine Tango to tango, vals, or milonga. The lead / follow is the same. And the steps are pretty much the same. But they come out differently when you do them to different kinds of songs.
    And, the predominant time signature is different in each of those songs 4/4, 3/4, 2/4.

    Music is one of the most important things in dance, but the fact is that there is much more to it than the time signature. In the 8 count basic thread, Peaches just mentioned some of those things. Music is way more complicated than the number of bars, and the number of beats per bar.

    You can be a lumper or a splitter. You can think of milonga as an indispensible part of tango or not.
    How cool is a dance that is adaptable enough to be done to 3 different time signatures?
    Pretty cool, I'd say.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Exactly. Nicely said.

    Again, well put. I guess I'm a "lumper," in that I feel milonga is indispensable to the body of dances known as Argentine tango.

    'Tis very cool, indeed. And, not only adaptable enough to be done to (at least) three different time signatures...but if you swing this way, adaptable enough to be done to all different kinds of music, and end up with an almost infinite variety of feels. Traditional, Neo-, electronic, alternative... Amazing, innit?
  13. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I am not sure about that - let me give an example of a piece of vocabulary:

    walking a bit, a few ochos, and then transitioning into a moulinette

    Would dancing this be "tango" or "milonga"?

    And i think the differences in music between the the most syrupy and lush tangos to the most rhythmic tangos is way bigger than the differences between the most rhythmic tangos and the slowest milongas.
  14. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    There are a few milongas in regular playlists round these parts that really blur the line for me between the two styles. Sadly I cannot name them for you, but they are quite modern. They have trademark driving rhythm that conjures up the milonga character, but there are many glorious features of the melody and other ornamentations that simply cannot be accommodated without "going tango".

    For the record, I would say that if one can dance tango well, then there is no reason why one cannot dance milonga well, it just takes a different mental approach. I am less good at milonga than I am tango, and that is a result of the music calling for things that I cannot execute well, and the much more critical connection needed for really characterful milonga being a rare and happy accident (whereas I can find it more easily in tango).
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Well I disagree here are some reasons
    1. Speed milonga is much faster
    2. Groundedness; this is far more a requisite in milonga than tango though useful to both
    3. Posture; for a good connection in miloga you have to stiffen occasionally for really snappy steps
    4. The musical feel is different and doesn't suit everyone's temperament.I have had to have quite serious brain surgery in order to creat the correct jolly bouncy mood for milonga; which don't come naturall at all ( being a miserable git)
  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I, too, disagree because even within 'cake's post there is the contradiction of being less good and the reasons why that nullify the "for the record" statement.
  17. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I'm not contradicting myself by saying I cannot dance milonga as well as I do tango. My point is that if you can dance tango, then the same principles (groundedness, embrace, basic repetoire) can be adjusted to allow you to dance milonga with wholly different character. I guess what you guys class as "dancing well" is far more lofty than my view. The only reason I can think of milonga not being possible for a tango dancer, is if there is imminent risk of a heart attack.

    At no stage do I suggest that milonga and tango are either the same, or as different as salsa and morris dancing. I also think that milonga plays an indispensible part of any tango event, as it totally changes the atmosphere, therefore it should be part of one's tango education.

    As for being a miserable git? I guess that means you don't want to dance milonga, not that you cannot do it. As for the original question, I think it would be downright silly and needlessly contrarian to declare that you are not allowed to say you dance tango because you don't get up for the milonga tracks.
  18. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    I pretty much agree with you. I also think that if you have learnt the principles and technique of tango well, you should be able to do a pretty good milonga too. Of course there are differences, but there are many more similarities.

    I should think that it is impossible to answer the original question unless you first answer some other questions, i.e. What is tango? What is milonga? What is a "good" tango dancer? What is a "good" milonga dancer?

    So, in my opinion the debate is interesting, but (or maybe because) there is no right answer.
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Re cake's post. I stand clarified. However, I do not believe that one can dance a good milonga simply because one dances a good tango. The dances share steps and basic elements, yet require a completely different energy, execution, lead/follow. and interpretation.

    After all, for the same reasons, many ECS dancers can not WCS; and swing dancers can not do a good cha even though both share the basic elements of rock and triplet; nor can good Fox dancers do tango, though both share the elements of walks and chasses.
  20. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    D'accord! As you imply, it doesn't always follow. One who has difficulty stepping in time to the beat it is far easier for them to not to in, say, a tango salon, but dancing good milonga one needs to be able to dance in time to the fast rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat rhythm - even when standing in one spot. Of course, there is no stone-written rule but it does make for a better milonga if it can be done so.

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