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Workshop in Ojai:  November 2013


"Leonel" Chen


"Florencia" Han

of Seoul, South Korea —


Fast + Small

A 90-Minute Workshop + Supervised Práctica


Monday - November 18, 2013 in the Gallery at the Ojai Art Center

Leonel + Florencia are based in Seoul, South Korea, where they have created an influential tango school, El Bulin, and host two important festivals each year. In November, they are heading back to Buenos Aires — with stops along the way in Japan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York ... and Ojai.

Leo + Flor offer a rare blend: Not only are they elegant stage performers and frequent guest artists who teach at festivals + events throughout Asia, they are also consummate social dancers with a deep understanding of the ongoing needs, challenges and rewards of developing our Tango over time, supported and inspired by our fellow dancers in a vibrant local community.

In Ojai, we will tap into this rich vein by inviting Leo + Flor to present their perspective on the music + dance of the lively, accessible and upbeat milonga.

For more on Leo+ Flor's visit to Los Angeles on November 12-17, see Oxygen Tango ... and for more background milonga and their Ojai workshop, please scroll down or use the links below ...

And plan on joining us on Monday, November 18th in Ojai for Milonga:  Fast + Small with guest artists Leonel Chen + Florencia Han ...



Workshop on "Milonga: Fast + Small" with Leonel Chen & Florencia Han, November 2013


Overview:  "Milonga" with Leonel + Florencia



Monday — November 18th, 2013



Ojai Art Center - in the Gallery - 113 S. Montgomery, Ojai

"Milonga" Workshop:


6:00 - 7:30 p.m. - an Extended 90-minute Session



$20 / Dancer for this Special Workshop


        2-for-1 / Students with I.D.

Supervised Práctica: 


7:30 - 8:00 p.m. — after the workshop    ... FREE ...

All Levels Class

— Newer + More Experienced Dancers Both Welcome —

Click here for Driving Directions - and - more about Monday Night Tango in Ojai ...

Coming to Ojai for an overnight ...?  Click here for info on local accommodations.


After the Workshop + Práctica, please join us for Social Dancing at ...

The Monday Night "Tango Incident" in Ojai


8:00 - 10:00 p.m.         Free — No Cover

       — at  LOS CAPORALES - 307 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai  - next to Libbey Park

More about the the Monday Night "Tango Incident" in Ojai ...

More About Leonel + Florencia

Originally from Hong Kong, Hung-Yut "Leonel" started tango in the United States. He met Hwayi "Florencia" in a milonga in Seoul in 2005. They started to build a partnership to dance and teach tango together. They were married in 2008. In 2009 they founded their tango studio El Bulín, and started the annual Seoul Tango Festival, which has become the largest event of its kind in Korea.

They have been invited to teach and perform in half a dozen cities in Korea, as well as for festivals and workshops in Beijing, Hong Kong, Hiroshima, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Taipei.

Hwayi studied ballet in high school and college. She worked as a professional musical actress for 8 years. In 2004, she joined the World Tango Championship in Buenos Aires and won second prize in the stage section. She was a judge at the Asian Tango Championship in Japan in 2009 and 2010.

Hung-Yut grew up in Hong Kong. He won first prize at the 2002 USA Tango Contest in Los Angeles. He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Spanish, and more and more Korean. He is also one of the most experienced DJs in Asia, and has played music at many international events, including Taipei Tango Festival, Hong Kong Tango Festival, Shanghai Tango Festival, Sydney Salon Tango Festival, Beijing Dream of Illusion Tango Weekend, and Portland Tango Festival (USA).

Leonel + Florencia — teaching at Vida Mia in Beijing
Florencia + Leonel — performing
at the Fringe Festival in Seoul

Links to:

El Bulin — Florencia + Leonel's tango studio in Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul Tango Festival — presented by Leo + Flor every May since 2009.

"Going Deeper to Find Presence" — Leonel + Florencia's series of weekend workshops down at Oxygen Tango School in Los Angeles on November 14, 16 & 17 ... where they will also be performing on Saturday, 11/16 at the Oxygen Milonga.

Mistakes, the Mind & the Milonga — interview with Leonel + Mitra Martin (of Oxygen)

Selected Video with Leonel + Florencia:

  • Dancing tango at the Suncheon Big Milonga (Korea) in 2013 ...
  • Dancing tango at the Hong Kong Tango Festival in 2012 ...
  • Dancing milonga in Singapore in 2011 ...

More Background on "Milonga: Fast + Small"

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.

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.

Milonga can even be frustrating to those dancers able to keep pace with the tempo, but who find themselves somehow "stuck in a groove" — returning to familiar shapes and ideas much more often than they would like — perhaps without ever really discovering their own best way(s) to bust out, to explore and revel in the vitality, energy and sheer joy of the music ...

Ironically, difficulties and frustrations like these — "too hard, too fast, too boring" — are the very opposite of what our tango grandparents experienced with their own milonga on the social dance floors of the 1930s and '40s.

Milonga:  Fast + Small — On the Path toward Reconciling Opposites

A vexing puzzle for modern Tango dancers is:

How do we link the dynamism and creativity of today's milonga with the effortless pleasures that so many have enjoyed in the past ...?

In Milonga:  Fast + Small, Leo and Flor will share their insights and perspectives on how we can reconcile these divergent aspects of milonga and bring its two opposing poles together into a single fluid dance.

One secret to making it all work:  Learning how to "go quickly, but without hurry."

After connecting us to the distinctive rhythm, pace and energy of milonga through a series of focused exercises, Leo + Flor will guide us into a deeper investigation of the form by applying these and other principles to a number of ideas, shapes and situations that are both useful and challenging.

Of course, Tango is full of enticing opposites that meet and blend with each other on the dance floor — the mind + the body, sending + receiving, stillness + motion, ourselves + our partner. All of these relationships (and more) develop and unfold through Time, the one core dimension that is shared by both music and dance — and which creates and informs the primary ground of their richest and most enduring interaction.

In this way, the various strategies and skills we explore together in Milonga:  Fast + Small will be universal, applying just as readily to our tango and vals — thereby enhancing the range, subtlety, grace and power of all our dancing.

Please plan on joining us in Ojai on November 18th for an inspiring evening with Leonel + Florencia, and Milonga:  Fast + Small ...

Milonga:  Links to Music + Video

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 ...

Past Quantum Tango Workshops & Events with Visiting Dancers

•    Daniel Trenner — Tango Lab: "Iconic Roles - Tango's Lead & Follow Dynamic" — March 2013

•    Felipe Martinez — "Cross-System Gems" — September 2012

•    Sharna Fabiano — "Close Embrace of the Third Kind" — September 2011

•    Folias Tango Quartet & Avik Basu — "Tango Music:  Its Secrets Revealed" — August 2010

•    Daniel Trenner — "Milonga:  Traditional Perspectives & Traspie" — May 2009

•    Sabine Zubarik — "Milonga for Beginners" — April 2009

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Mulitple Workshops — October 2007   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla : Extended Residency — January / February / March 2007   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Tango Lab: "Alternative Embrace" — May 2006

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Multiple Workshops — May / June 2006   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Tango Lab Intensive: "Nuevo" — February 2006


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