Saturday, February 24, 2024

Expertise this uptempo relative of Tango

Milonga dance celebrates Argentine Tradition. A ballroom dance sharing many traits with the higher recognized Argentine tango and thought of to be the forerunner to Tango. A fluidity provides dancers the chance to precise the colourful power and flirtatious spirit usually related to the milonga music. This can be a recognized for its playfulness and pleasure – in addition to its difficult, intricate steps and actions.

Are you trying to discover out extra concerning the methods and music of Milonga, its similarities and variations with Argentine Tango? Nicely learn on!

couple dancing the milonga in an evening
Picture by Luis Fernando from Pixabay

Historical past and origins of Milonga dance

The origin of the milonga dance is carefully tied to the Afro-Argentine neighborhood. We’ll cowl extra about this within the ‘language’ part under – as it’s an African phrase.

This era appears to have been much less coated however we throughout this quote from Professor or Artwork Historical past at Yale, Robert Farris Thompson, who famous “Tango began black, and milonga, the dance previous it, much more so”.

By way of its extra broadly coated origins, we hint again to The Río de la Plata, separating the cities of Montevideo and Buenos Aires – port cities, resulting in ‘the pampas’ cattle ranches, in addition to mining areas of the Andes. Due to this geography, worldwide affect and nature of labor, in the1870’s to 1900’s, the realm had an inflow of gauchos (cowboys), sailors, troopers, stablemen – the decrease courses of society.

Milonga was primarily danced by who combined varied international folks dances and dance at brothels and parlours, starting as a strolling dance and incorporating extra sexualized actions, usually forward of the opposite actions happening at these places.

Therefore milonga was frowned upon by the higher courses of Argentine society, to the purpose that you simply truly wanted a allow to run dance across the metropolis!

Nevertheless, by the late 1870s, composers and singers started creating milonga songs, which contributed to its reputation and widespread adoption all through Argentina.

By the early 1900s, milonga and tango grew to become socially acceptable, even reaching craze standing in modern European circles by 1915. It’s believed that this began, partially, by way of rich households sending their sons on a coming of age, ‘grand tour’ to Europe.

There  had been occasions and gatherings, at which these travellers would share their dance the tango, vals (waltz), and milonga, started to draw a wider viewers. These occasions, initially spreading by way of then past Paris to achieve extra reputation throughout Europe and within the mainstream.

Throughout this era, there have been additionally a variety of European contributions to the Milonga. These embody:

  • The waltz, including to to Milonga’s rotating actions and stylish circulate.
  • The polka serving to form Milonga’s rhythm and excessive power.
  • The mazurka, including additional sentimentality and drama

As milonga gained reputation, it began to merge with different dance types just like the Cuban habanera and flamenco, in the end evolving to develop the Argentine tango that’s recognized as we speak.

Milonga continues to be celebrated, danced in courses, golf equipment and dancehalls world wide.

How one can dance milonga

Getting the rhythm

First we have to get a grasp for the fundamental Milonga rhythm. It makes use of an upbeat 2/4 rhythm, with fast, syncopated steps. Listening to Milonga music and tapping your foot or hand to the beat is one solution to get accustomed to the rhythm forward of taking any steps.

Subsequent, concentrate on mastering the fundamental Milonga step patterns.

These embody

  • the salida (the fundamental strolling step)

On this video, Ana Padron from says “consider a Salida because the interval (or ‘full-stop’) on the finish of a sentence. You too can see the steps described right here

  • the again ocho – steps that kind a determine eight on the ground



Milonga usually incorporates enjoyable, theatrical parts like small lifts, jumps and kicks. On mastering the fundamental steps, dancers can begin exploring these extra superior strikes. Keep in mind to maintain your actions cautious and managed to keep away from disrupting your associate or different dancers.


The lead and comply with dancers working in concord is what creates a easy, linked dance expertise to the rhythm. Good communication between companions, and signalling actions utilizing the chief’s chest, arms, weight shifts and physique actions to sign present clear intention to the follower. Followers must be attentive and responsive to those refined cues.


A Milonga posture is upright. You make sure that your chest is barely ahead, and weight over the balls of your toes, with knees are barely bent. The embrace in Milonga is usually very shut – much like Argentine Tango.

Dance types and methods

The 2 major dance types inside milonga are Milonga Lisa and Milonga con Traspie.

Milonga Lisa

Milonga Lisa, sees the dancer make steps on each beat, displaying easy and steady actions. It’s good for freshmen to familiarize themselves with milonga dance, utilizing easy strikes

Milonga con Traspie

A extra advance dance. Milonga con Traspie is extra syncopated and complicated. Rhythmic modifications, embody shifting weight from one foot to the opposite and again once more in double time, or three steps in two beats. This provides the dance power, as do the extra methods:

  • Quebradas are breaks within the dance sample the place the couple momentarily pause or makes use of a distinct rhythm earlier than resuming their dance.
  • Cortes, are temporary interruptions within the motion, right here dancers can showcase creativity and abilities in improvisation.
Milonga dancers in competition
Picture by PreIllunination Seth on Unsplash

Similarities and variations between Milonga and Tango

Similarities between milonga and tango

Milonga and tango are each Argentine dances. They share a deep cultural and historic bond as they each originated from the The Río de la Plata space

Variations between milonga and tango

Music & tempo: Milonga is danced at a a lot quicker tempo than tango, following a 2/4 rhythm. Tango is slower and extra deliberate permits dancers to interpret the music by way of pauses, sluggish and fast actions and consists of a wide range of melody.

Actions: Milonga dance has quicker, sharper and extra flowing actions, with a extra relaxed posture.

Embrace: Milonga dancing maintains a tighter embrace than tango, to help the quicker, extra intricate footwork required.

Milonga Music

Milonga music sometimes consists of varied devices which are important to its distinctive sound:

  • Bandoneon: An usually used, sort of concertina. It’s much like an accordion.
  • Piano: offering concord and syncopation.Usually utilized in Milonga.
  • Violin: including and emotion to the music, taking part in each melodic and rhythmic elements
  • Double Bass: a basis for the music, including depth and anchoring the melodic instrument
  • Guitars showcase the dance’s connection to conventional Argentine and Uruguayan folks music

Musical Influences

The origins of milonga music could be traced again to a mixture of musical genres and influences. This consists of:

  • Habanera, a Cuban dance rhythm that discovered its solution to Buenos Aires within the late nineteenth century
  • The vals (waltz) contributed to the event of the milonga fashion with its flowing and sleek melodic parts.

Well-known Composers & Contributors to Milonga Music

Nice musicians and composers have been central to the event of Milonga music and the dance fashion extra broadly. A number of the most well-known contributors embody:

  • Ástor Piazzolla: A revolutionary Argentine composer.
  • Carlos Gardel: Often known as the “King of Tango,” but in addition very influential on the event of milonga music
  • Aníbal Troilo: A big composer, bandleader and bandoneon participant bandleader throughout mid-Twentieth century.
  • Villoldo: often known as the daddy of tango

Some others who made appreciable contributions to the music embody: Rodolfo Biagi, Edgardo Donato, Gabino Ezeiza, Juan D’Arienzo, Angel Vargas, and Roberto Firpo.

A number of the people notable within the transition from Milonga to Tango embody: Francisco Canaro, Lucio Demare, Pedro Laurenz, and Domingo Federico. Carlos Di Sarli is famed for mastering each types.


Milonga etiquette for the dance flooring

Off to your first Milonga, concern not, right here’s some tricks to get began.

  • Go together with or organize to satisfy a pal or associate. Will probably be far more enjoyable to have somebody to bounce with. When you turn out to be extra acquainted, you may be extra prone to have alternatives to satisfy with different dancers.
  • As an alternative of asking a stranger to bounce and the potential for embarrassment this creates, in Milonga, use eye contact (“mirada” as in ‘mirror’) is made with a possible associate. If that is held, a slight nod of the top “cabaco” is made and, if returned, the chief will stroll the follower to the dance flooring.
  • Gown to impress, suppose extra fancy restaurant than membership. Some occasions are extra informal however as a rule you’re dressing up.
  • Firstly, understanding the circulate of the dance flooring is important, so you may enter the dance flooring safely. Dancers comply with the “ Ronda”, an imaginary line of dance by transferring counter-clockwise across the room, permitting everybody to benefit from the house with out inflicting disruptions. Guarantee any approaching chief has seen you earlier than transferring into and sustaining house on the dance flooring.
  • Throughout a Milonga, the music is organized in tandas, which generally include three to 4 tangos from the identical style or orchestra. It’s thought of correct to bounce with the identical associate for the complete tanda.
  • On the finish of every tanda, a brief musical break known as a ‘cortina’ supplies a chance for dancers to alter companions, relaxation or socialize.
  • Leaders ought to concentrate on their associate’s consolation, avoiding extreme power or uncomfortable physique positions.
  • If its getting sizzling and sweaty, bringing a change of outfits, like shirts for males and further (however not overpowering) perfumes, mints and deodorants could be a good suggestion – in spite of everything, you’re up very shut in a Milonga embrace!
  • Thank your associate after every dance.

Well-known Milonga Dancers

Wish to see nice examples of Milonga in motion? Checkout these superb dancers:

  • Miguel Zotto and Daiana Guspero are outstanding figures on this planet of milonga dance.
  • Angel Coria and Claudia Sortino are one other instance of celebrated milonga dancers. They’re recognized for infusing their routines with humor and pleasure.
  • Dani Garcia and Luna Palacios have considerably contributed to the milonga dance scene.

Milonga That means

As a phrase itself, Milonga has African origins, that means ‘argument’ / ‘challenge’ in Kimbundu or ‘traces of dancers’ in Ki-Kongo. Milonga can be a time period with a number of meanings within the context of Argentine tradition and dance.

Musical style:

As a musical style: “Milonga is an excited habanera.” Usually the music accompanying the dance, with a associated historical past.

Milonga dance:

As we’ve spent the previous few minutes describing, dancers carry out the milonga with easy and gliding actions, intricate footwork and rhythm.

Milonga occasion:

Milonga can be a phrase describing a social occasion, the place folks dance. The types danced additionally embody the Argentine tango and vals. Attendees, often known as milongueros, take pleasure in an evening of dancing and socializing. Usually the occasions are a relaxed and social affair with a way of neighborhood.


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