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28 Feb 2009

tango & milonga

A bit of dance for the weekend....

Well, you know I missed the recent tango festival. Apparently it was a blast. Ah well, baby first and all that jazz, or tango. There's always next year.

I love dancing in general, and certainly love to watch tango. But I wanted to share with you a dance and a music that is really connected to me. It's the music I grew up with. The music I remember my father playing on warm summer weekends. The music I was dancing to long before Abba (oops, did I just admit that?) So it's the music that not only gets my body twitching, it also sets my soul alight.

It's called milonga and you might be surprised to learn that it precedes tango. Milonga, means the music, the dance, and even the places where the dances are held. Like most music we listen to, its roots are mixed. Originating very near where I was born, around the Rio de la Plata, it combined the cultural mix of the region; European influences with those of African rhythms.

It differs from tango in beat, but I'm not a musical person, so couldn't explain it. What I can tell you is that whilst tango is intense and passionate, milonga is more relaxed and flirty. It has less dramatic movements and is all about the subtle feet. Couples lean towards, but not on, each other.Of course, I didn't learn to dance like this, I just jiggled around the room.

This is a well known dancing duo, El Flaco y Luna. The musical interpretation is astute, their connection obvious, and their footwork is sublime. You probably have to dig this sort of music to really appeciate it, but hope you enjoy it. Expand it to see it best. And ignore the title, it's absolutely milonga.


Enjoy your weekend.

6 comments:

  1. This makes me delirious. Truly. There is something about this form of dance that makes me want to weep and whoop all at once. It is quite simply sublime. Earthy and elegant.

    And what an incredible place in the world to be born! Did you spend much time there? Do you have many memories of it? This is fascinating to me, and I'd love to know more, (yes, I am probably nosey, but I have an insatiable curiosity for far-flung places and other cultures).

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  2. Well, I can't tell you how many tmes I've watched that vid! Every time I notice a new step combination.

    Not enough space ehre for all that bio stuff, perhaps a post one day...

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  3. Wow. I was mesmirised by the footwork, and the connection between the dancers. Such a beautiful example of dance as woven energy, all those little unspoken nuances and signals...

    I'm fascinated by the differences between Tango and Milonga. The Tangos I saw in BA were spectacular and uber-dramatic, but I'm intrigued by the earthier energy and subtlety of Milonga.

    Thanks for giving me the nudge I needed to start my Latin dance classes (and Spanish lessons) very soon! I must, nay, will honour this longing. x

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  4. It was fun to come across a regular at the milongas El Flaco Dany on your blog. Oddly, lots of people are intimidated to learn the milonga, thinking that it is harder for some reason. But I think it is more forgiving as the steps are so fast, no one but your partner would really notice any mistakes.

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