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Milonga-In-Single-Time

Milonga-In-Single-Time

Milonga-In-Single-Time. Milonga for a lot of people is a very challenging musical genre, and a challenging dance. Which is putting it mildly. Don’t believe that statement is true ? Just watch a Milonga tanda at your next Milonga. Watch how 80% of the floor clears. Mostly people fall into two categories: 1.) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Milonga. or 2.) RUN, RUN, RUN from Milonga. And there is no middle ground. Those people that fall into the 1st category are usually Followers first who’ve danced more than a Milonga or two with a good Lead that understands HOW to fuse the music with linear compilations of the dance of Milonga. 😉 Those people that fall into the 2nd category are usually split into two subcategories. a.) Leads that have a distinct fear of Milonga because they’ve realized that the music is faster than they think they can dance, and/or they don’t know what to do to it or with it, and then leading that stuff at that ‘speed’. They just freak right the frak out! b.) The Follower who has learned the hard way that they’d rather sit than dance a Milonga with someone who races them around the floor jerking them this way and that. Today’s Tango Topic deals with the second category of dancer and applies to the first category of Follower only in the minimal. That said, let’s dive right into Milonga-In-Single-Time.

Let’s get something out of the way, Milonga-In-Single-Time is not a step or a pattern, this is not going to change what you do to Milonga, well not immediately but it can and will change how you can access Milonga on multiple of multiple of levels.

Linking Notation: All the links on this site are internal definition links, nothing is external (excluding tangotopics youtube channel, and facebook like & share links), meaning the links are there to create a deeper and richer clarity.

Purchase! The video above is small snippet of a full HD video (total runtime: 18m:49s). You can purchase Milonga-In-Single-Time for just 12.99 not including your level discount.

What is Milonga-In-Single-Time ? This is a construct to help you access Milonga which is more for the Lead and less for the Follower. It’s a tool that can change how the 2nd category of dancer hears Milonga so that they can actually dance it and not freak out to it. In short, it’s a way to slow down Milonga in real time without actually doing anything crazy really. In it’s simplest form it is dropping a beat really.

A little clarity: Milonga from a timing perspective is 2/4 time. Meaning that there are 2 beats per measure. By contrast Tango music is typically 4/4 time, meaning that there are 4 beats per measure.


We typically step on the 1st and 3rd beat of a Tango, and the 1st beat of Milonga. The first note in both cases is the strong beat of the music. The 3rd note is a weaker ‘strong’ beat. While the contrasting 2 and 4 are softer weaker notes. There’s a reason why we’re talking about this stuff of notation and timing and beats and which note we typically step on, and that’s because it’s important that you understand what normally happens. 

Try tapping/clapping out the beat here, just a hint, you’re going to want to tap/clap on the 1 and the 3, that’s what your normal walking beat would be. Now here comes the fun part, believe it or not, this is actually Milonga-In-Single-Time even though it’s a Tango. 😉 And that’s the key to this tool right there.

Milonga-In-Single-Time would take a normal Milonga which is 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, and instead turn it into 1-2-3-4, where the 3,4 is the next 1,2 in the sequence! Now we add one more thing, remember we’re only stepping on the 1, not the 3 in this case. So a Milonga like the one used in the video is Francisco Canaro’s ‘Milonga Sentimental’ (see below) would go from 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, to 1-2-3-4 where the 1 is what we walk on, thereby effectively ‘slowing down’ the Milonga! As a result the typical ‘rush’ or freak out that happens for that second class of dancer above never happens because there’s ‘time’, lots and lots and lots of time. 🙂

Difficulty Rating: (3 / 5)

From a Following Perspective there are two ways you’re going to hear this construct when you’re being led to it, and it all depends on what you’re used to. a.) You’re the Follower who LOVES Milonga and wants to be danced to it at the proper ‘speed’. So having this done to your idea of Milonga will make you go absolutely crazy, and not in a good way. You’re going to think that your lead doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re doing. And nothing could be further from the truth. One of two things has occurred. 1.) This Lead is really trying to hear Milonga. or 2.) This Lead already knows Milonga and they also realize that every Lead before them that has danced Milonga with you has probably jerked you around with their embrace and raced you around the room as if they’re sprinting for the finish line. Instead this Lead is taking the slow, careful, well thought out approach of building a Milonga tanda carefully. Constructing it patiently. Note the word there, TANDA, not song. They’re building their idea of this particular tanda and interpreting it slowly, carefully, meticulously. Truthfully this second version of a Lead doesn’t happen all that often, but they are enough of these kinds of dancers out there that when we get one as Followers we’re exceptionally happy. There’s usually a line to dance with these kinds of leads, and this is reason number 3 on the long list of reasons why they’re desirable to dance with. Reasons #3 ? Yeah, it’s not the top reason because that’s reserved for (in order) 1.) their embrace. and 2.) their musical interpretation skills.

All said and done, when you get a Lead that does this to the FIRST song of the Tanda, here’s some good advice for you: CHILLAX! Seriously, this is a gift. You know you hear 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, and they’re in build mode of 1-2-3-4. Relax, you’ll get there. Eventually. Or maybe never. And there are several reasons why they may never get there. And one of those reasons has everything to do with you, and not necessarily them. It’s that your skills (read that as ‘thud’, ‘pressure’, ‘compression’, and ‘hanging’ all of which are not desirable in Milonga in any way, shape, or form) aren’t what you think they are (see ‘follower bashing’). The other reasons have everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you. In short, breathe, smile, nod, and chillax. 

From a Leading Perspective this stuff is all about you. Let’s cut through it, shall we ? If you’ve been dancing for a while and Milonga scares the shit out of you, then this item is for you. If you’ve been dancing for a while and Milonga turns you on, then this toy is for you. See ? This is applicable to everyone!

The Happy Lead: Let’s deal with the happy Lead that gets Milonga first. You love, love, love Milonga. However more than likely you fall into one of two categories of Leads that are ‘Happy’ about Milonga. 1.) You race Milonga. Which means you hear and and race on every musical note (pay attention to the phrase ‘musical note’) and not necessarily the beat of the music. You hear one thing and in reality Milonga is much slower than you think and no one has thought to correct you. And quite rightfully it’s not their place to correct you unless you specifically ask for it, and quite honestly you’re not going to ask for it because you believe or think that your Milonga is spot on. When in fact you’re the guy who’s racing around the floor, causing floorcraft havoc when a Milonga Tanda happens. 🙁 or 2.) You get Milonga. Period. You hear it at the speed it’s played at and dance it accordingly, but you also realize that there is no need to squeeze, pull, push, hang, or worse – compress when dancing Milonga. You understand the fusion of Milonga movement to Milonga Music, while at the same time you dance it with each and fluidity. So if you’re either one of those types of Leads, then the tool of Milonga-In-Single-Time can be of use to you on multiple levels. For the first type of Lead, it will allow you to actually hear Milonga, probably for the first time. For the second type of Lead it will be more of a cool toy that you can use to augment your Milonga dancing experience!

The Fearful Lead: You are rightfully afraid of screwing up Milonga. You run from the floor whenever a Milonga tanda comes on, or suddenly have an interest in sorting your lint collection, or need to get some fresh air, a smoke, a glass of wine, whatever…just as long as you do not have to dance Milonga with anyone for fear that you will look like an idiot or appear that you don’t know what you’re doing. While this tool will not correct that problem, it will give you the skills to actually hear Milonga and thereby give you the confidence that you lack in this one simple realization: You can do whatever you want in Milonga. Understand this one single idea if you take nothing else away from this Tango Topic: Milonga is a simple, linear dance. It doesn’t necessarily turn, nor was it designed to either. Designed is the wrong word there, more like ‘grown’. Milonga is a subset of Tango. Or more appropriately Tango grew out of Milonga. Not the Milonga Porteña that we know today but an earlier form of Milonga, called ‘Milonga Criolla’. None of that stuff matters to you right now. This is all about calming your fears about screwing up, and this is one way to do that. Slowing the speed of Milonga to the point where you can manage it. And once you do that, then you realize that you can do anything within that time because you have oooooodles of time. A turn, a cross, or just walking. Anything at all. Milonga is possible!

dancing in a small space ? watch these videos!

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From a Dancing Perspective the real key to dancing Milonga is in two places, one that almost no one tells you: 1.) The Musical Pauses! and 2.) The Weight Change. It’s true. Stop and think about this last one for a moment. If you’ve danced a successful Milonga recently, think about how the weight transfers ‘just happened’. There’s a reason for that, it’s because the partner you were dancing with understands that in order to dance Milonga the weight transfers (and really collections) have to be spot on. Once you realize this and able to do it, Milonga becomes…easier, physiologically accessible. How does this relate to Milonga-In-Single-Time ? It relates because hearing the music is only one of two components of the equation, then there’s what you can do with it, and that starts with understanding and executing weight changes in their proper place and time. The other is hearing the music. 🙂

Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you pay for this video, or subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you’ll find on Youtube doesn’t explain and walk you through the how Milonga-In-Single-Time works! That’s why! 

So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos on youtube all you want. Because that’s what they are ‘Presentation’ videos. The couple’s that you’re used to seeing are performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’. So please, go spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher! (ahem) ME!  The goal of youtube videos is to entice you to go study with those teachers in person. The goal of these videos is allow you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and be done with it. 😉

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique.

In an hour long class, with the blind leading the blind through rotation of partners (uuuggggh!), you may glean a piece of the information you need and not get the whole thing, and you’ll miss important pieces that you’ll end up having to take a private lesson for to get the finer points. This way, you can watch over and over again, and get all the supplementary materials, and if you want you can still go take the class, only you’ll be better prepared to do so!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

The Four Parts of Social Milonga

Social Milonga

Milonga, and really ‘Social’ Milonga, is a difficult dance to Lead, but an easy one to Follow. Easy, if and only if, the Lead (person, not the action – ‘lead’) has a frakkin’ clue about what they’re doing. If they don’t, you, as the Follower are screwed and not in a good way either! Good Milonga is a step above modern Tango in that it requires both parties to be at their best technique wise. It requires both parties to understand an embrace that is non-compressive, non-restrictive, and have mastered a stable, clean, clear walking platform that does not ‘thud‘. There is no need to ‘hang‘, ‘pull‘, or ‘push‘ in any way, shape, or form. 

Let’s get a few terms and definitions out of the way before we go any further for the initiated and the uninitiated. The word ‘Milonga‘ has 3 definitions. 1.) It refers to the ‘dance’ party, and social experience that we aspire towards dancing at via classes and workshops and learning the codigos of the dance itself. The whole point of tango is to emulate the Milonga experience as a whole that we would find in Buenos Aires. 2.) It refers to a musical style of music that is typically written as 2/4 time, or at about 80 – 100 beats per minute. There are several versions of Milonga music, not the least of which is Tango-Milonga, Milonga Porteña, Milonga Criolla, and a few others. Candombe is not Milonga, but is frequently confused with Milonga. A poorly trained DJ will add one into a milonga tanda thinking that it’s Milonga music when in fact it’s not. Further still, a common error is to add a Foxtrot or a Tango Foxtrot, thinking that it’s milonga when it’s not. 3.) Refers to the dance itself, which is a frequently, and mistakenly thought of as a subset of Tango movement, and this is an error. Milonga (not Milonga Porteña or Modern Milonga) begat Tango, and from that Tango as we think of it today grew.

 

Let’s get a few terms and definitions out of the way before we go any further for the initiated and the uninitiated. The word ‘Milonga‘ has 3 definitions. 1.) It refers to the ‘dance’ party, and social experience that we aspire towards dancing at via classes and workshops and learning the codigos of the dance itself. The whole point of tango is to emulate the Milonga experience as a whole that we would find in Buenos Aires. 2.) It refers to a musical style of music that is typically written as 2/4 time, or at about 80 – 100 beats per minute. There are several versions of Milonga music, not the least of which is Tango-Milonga, Milonga Porteña, Milonga Criolla, and a few others. Candombe is not Milonga, but is frequently confused with Milonga. A poorly trained DJ will add one into a milonga tanda thinking that it’s Milonga music when in fact it’s not. Further still, a common error is to add a Foxtrot or a Tango Foxtrot, thinking that it’s milonga when it’s not. 3.) Refers to the dance itself, which is a frequently, and mistakenly thought of as a subset of Tango movement, and this is an error. Milonga (not Milonga Porteña or Modern Milonga) begat Tango, and from that Tango as we think of it today grew.

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So what is ‘Social’ Milonga ? Social Milonga is a Milonga of ease, of least resistance, of effortlessness. It’s what we would dance at the Milonga when Milonga music is played but for a social environment not a performance! Which translates to smaller (very small) movements, and steps. This isn’t about turns, ganchos, volcadas, sacadas, colgadas, death drops, …. no, none of that. Simple, clean, small movement. Rather it’s about linear movements with one’s partner in either close or open embrace (yes Milonga can be done in open embrace), small linear movements that move down the line of dance. Social Milonga should not back up against the line of dance, but rather angle against the line of dance, think of 45º angles so that no one backs up directly into another couple. Social Milonga is small, compact, and doesn’t need to take up a whole lot of space…ever.  Horacio Godoy, who is a god of Milonga, is a good example of performance milonga, but it’s still a performance! What he’s doing is nothing short of magical, however…it should be noted that again, it’s a performance and not social dancing. He’s taking up oodles of space, and in the line of dance, you don’t have oodles of space! This is Social Milonga.  

Just as a side note: Social Milonga rightfully should never be attempted with a new partner that you’ve never danced with before.

 

From a Leading Perspective, it means that you must have mastered all of the things listed above in addition to understanding and employing ‘intention‘ because Milonga is all about the small, the tiny movements. It’s not about big, galloping steps…it can be, but isn’t. It’s about the tiny movements between the partners to the accents in the music. However the real key to milonga is the weight change. Being able to generate it in it’s myriad of forms without pushing, pulling, or using force or compression. If you can lead a weight change through opposition or a with-weight change instead of pushing or pulling, you’re onto a better class of leading as a whole.

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From a Following Perspective, you’re in for a rough ride, because a good portion of your leads don’t have a frakkin’ clue as to what they’re doing when it comes to Milonga. They will either race you around the floor and take a breather in odd places that have no relationship to anything that’s happening in the music, all the while squeezing the living daylights out of you, hoping you won’t notice that they’re not anywhere close to a beat that has any relation to anything that’s happening in the music. Or they’re so timid as to not wanting to step on your toes because they’ve recognized that this is insanely difficult that they back off completely. That’s the bulk of your experience. It’s rare, ever so rare that you have a lead that dances Milonga Lisa with you, and then expands that to Milonga con Traspie, and actually builds a milonga experience on the whole. These leads are rare, but oh such a wonder when you find one. It’s like christmas morning, easter day, and a box of chocolates all rolled into one! Fab! At the same time, let’s not kid ourselves…you as the Follower, have to be up for the challenge. Which is to say that your skills in Forward steps, Side Steps, and Back Steps must be absolutely spot on! Repeat after me: “I MOVE ME“. You must be responsible for your own movement. You must listen to what is being led (not waiting but listening) and then engage that movement immediately without fail. If you feel it, you go there, if you don’t feel it, you don’t go there. A good portion of the time, most followers fail these most basic things. And we end up with a less than desirable experience. 

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From a Dancing Perspective, ‘Social‘ Milonga is insanely difficult to master. It requires all of the above to ‘work’, to ‘function’ with ease. Not an easy task at all. When done properly it’s simply divine. When done poorly…well we’ve all had that happen, and it’s just an absolute disaster. There’s no nice way to put that. More often than not we have all had far too many Milonga tandas that is nothing short of “GAWD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!”. And a good portion of the time it’s because the embrace needs to be reset and is too restrictive, and/or the Lead (person), needs to actually listen to the beat and then walk (see ? walking, not running) the Follower on that beat…but doesn’t.

The Musical Prerequisite

There is an absolute prerequisite to this milonga business – two things about Tango Music as whole that you, as a Lead, or a Follower must know: 

a.) The Musical Pause in Tango Music as a whole! Without understanding this, you’re kinda screwed when it comes to dancing and really milonga as a whole. Oh and if you’re thinking that you can just ‘count’ beats and that will get you to your pauses…no. Fully 40% of Tango music does not contain an 8 count beat. Sometimes its a derivative of 4 yes…but sometimes it’s 4,8,12,16, or 24 beats before you hit an actual rest. So counting is about as useful as a small kitchen appliance unplugged. Why ? Because a good portion of the time, your count will be off for a variety of reasons. 1.) The transfer from shellac to digital (assuming it’s that direct and it almost never is) is probably flawed, scratchy, crackly, and slows down and speeds up. and 2.) Two words for you — TANGO MILONGA, which is to say that that the 2/4 time signature that you’re used to hearing in Milonga Porteña (or Modern Milonga), not so much with that! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Long story short, you want to actually learn to hear the 5 Major Types of Pauses in Tango Music.

b.) The Rhythm of Milonga which should not be confused with beat, melody, nor tempo, which is what a lot of you do.

To understand the Rhythm of Milonga, rather than show you charts and images which are about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine…let’s skip to a class summary by Oliver Koklier and Silvina Valz shot at the 2009 Portland Tango Festival. This is probably one of the best didactic Milonga videos you will need to see…ever. What Oliver & Silvina talk about in under 9 minutes will blow your mind. It’s a simple, clean, and clear didactic explanation of what Milonga Rhythm is and is not. Quite honestly contained within this video is the basis of almost everything you need to know about a Milonga Rhythm. Once you understand the Rhythm of Milonga (and it is a rhythm, not a beat!) it is only then that we start to talk about what you actually do with it. 

4 Parts of Social Milonga

Part 1.) The Baldosa Box & It’s Multiple variations.
Part 2.) Milonga Traspie and the many many variations
Part 3.) Scissor & Pendulum steps and variations.
Part 4.) Milonga Patter (Circular & Linear)!

While this is not the whole of Milonga vocabulary, it is the bulk of what you will spend your time doing from a movement perspective. The trick is to put it to a Milonga Rhythm and a good way to do this is to employ Milonga Lisa as a starting point!

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