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"House That Milonga Built" in Nevada City:  March 2013

"The House That Milonga Built"

Foundations + Innovations for Tango's

Most Accessible Dance


— with —

Debbie Edwards & Stephen Bauer


Tango Workshops + Supervised Prácticas at:

The Haven

226 Broad Street, Nevada City

Saturday — March 9, 2013



Session 1 - Foundations:  Rhythm, Structure, Improvisation - 12:30 - 2:00 pm *

Session 2 - Innovations:  Syncopation, Rotation, Traspié - 2:00 - 3:30 pm *

Each Session:   60-Minute Workshop - followed by - 30-Minute Supervised Práctica

Single Session — $15 / dancer     ...    Both Sessions — $25 / dancer

— Click here for TangoMango  listing + link to Google Map

The topics + examples in both Foundations and Innovations will:

  • Be tuned to the needs + interests of the improvised, social dance floor.
  • Explore concepts + ideas that work well in both closer + more open embraces.
  • Readily adapt and apply to tango + vals situations ... just as easily as to milonga.
  • Tap into + reinforce familiar "Core Principles" of Tango by helping dancers recognize and apply these in fresh + novel ways.

More Background on "The House That Milonga Built"

Milonga in the Old Days — Known for its Fun & Accessibility

During the "Golden Age" of the 1930s and '40s, milonga, as both music and dance, played a distinctive role in tango culture and helped create the overall shape of an evening of dancing.

For example:  Despite its faster tempo, milonga typically offered dancers in this era a welcome chance to "relax" from the more challenging and intricate demands of tango:

Milonga provided a predictable, even beat that invited a simpler dance vocabulary, a straightforward connection between partners, and plenty of energy and motion — qualities which magnified its lighter, "happier" sensibility.

As tango began to re-emerge in Argentina in the mid-1980s, older tangueros brought their "Golden Age" experience back onto the dance floors of Buenos Aires, reviving milonga as a playful and easy-going interlude within the greater evening of dancing — something that even newer dancers and beginners could find enjoyable and readily accessible.

In Session 1 - Foundations:  Rhythm, Structure, Improvisation, we will take a closer look at this traditional single-time approach to milonga — reconnecting with wisdom and insights of our tango "grandparents," and tapping into how they used this distinctive music and the movements it inspires to introduce a generation of newcomers to the sensibility, techniques, skills and pleasures of dancing tango.

The topics in Session 1 - Foundations will also:

  • Be fully accessible to beginners and newer dancers ...
  • While laying essential groundwork + honing key skills for the more challenging options we will explore later in Session 2 - Innovations.


Milonga in our Own Time — a Reputation as Fast & Challenging

As the 1990s dawned, tango was once again on the move — with innovative and progressive dancers creating new shapes + relationships, and pushing the boundaries of the form.

Among these were milonga specialists like Pepito Avellaneda, Tomi O'Connell and Omar Vega who, along with other dancers, increasingly began to experiment with traspié — literally, "stumble foot" — injecting rapid double-time steps and syncopations into milonga's more traditional single-time interpretation, and exponentially increasing both the potential and complexity of the dance.

Inspired by this creativity, other open-minded dancers picked up on the new possibilities, and milonga traspié grew more widespread, gradually becoming a dominant form, and something we can see unfolding on dance floors all over the world.

As a result, while offering unique challenges, opportunities and rewards to more experienced dancers, today's milonga can often seem dizzingly fast and daunting to newer dancers.

In Session 2 - Innovations:  Syncopation, Rotation, Traspié, we will build up an array of these new possibilities from the single-time Foundations that we explore and develop in Session 1 — adding fresh layers of interest to this otherwise "simple" dance by playing with angle changes, spirals, torsion and timing to help us catch the surge and flow of milonga music, and to revel that much more in our own spontaneous creativity on the dance floor.

The topics in Session 2 - Innovations will:

  • Develop and extend the material + ideas presented earlier in Session 1- Foundations ...
  • Therefore, experienced dancers with an interest in exploring rotation, syncopation + traspié in milonga are encouraged to attend both Sessions if they can.


More on Milonga:  The Music + the Dance

The syncopated, up-tempo 2/4 beat of milonga is the rhythmic foundation of all tango music, and it dominated the sound during the 19th Century when the many overlapping threads of modern tango were first coming together.

Through the related forms of candombe and habernera, historians now trace the driving beat of milonga directly to West Africa — in the areas of present-day Congo and Angola — where this distinctive rhythm is said to be more than 1,000 years old. In these cultures, the syncopated pulse of milonga still means what it always has, quite literally: "Get up, and dance!"

In our own culture, the challenge for dancers is to match the vocabulary and movements of tango to the pace and energy of this music to create the style of dancing we call milonga:

Of course, in addition to a particular kind of music and the dancing that it inspires, the word "milonga" also refers to a gathering of dancers who come together to enjoy tango. So it's entirely possible to "Dance a milonga to a milonga at a milonga" — quite a wonderful thing.

  • A few examples of slower, medium, fast and very fast paced milongas from Francisco Canaro, Juan D'Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi.

For links to additional samples + background, please visit our page More on Tango Music ...


For Information about Learning + Dancing Tango in Nevada City:

Table Top Tango


More About ...

Argentine Tango

More on the sensibility and practice of Argentine Tango, insights into its improvisation and creativity, and links to online resources for additional background and perspective ...


Debbie Edwards + Stephen Bauer

More on Debbie + Stephen as dancers + teachers ...


Past Workshops + Events in Nevada City

Rundowns on some of Debbie + Stephen's previous Tango offerings in the area:


Bandoneon - graphic

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