L4 Nov - Dec 2020


The theme of this six week course is Milonga, Vals and musical phrasing within these genres. The course is structured as follows:
Weeks 1 - 3: Milonga Traspié
Weeks 4 - 6: Vals

Week 4: December 1
In Week 4 we started the first of 3 lessons of Vals and covered the following:
  • Different tiempo's - Single, Double and Half Time
  • Walking Back Ochos to Cross System Cross
  • Introduced new move of 'Soft Boleos’ from Walking Back Ochos
  • Added Giro from Back Ocho to both sides
Video of Soft Boleos will be on this site next week.

Music
We danced to the following songs (all D'Arienzo versions):
  • Mentias
  • Corazon de Artista
  • Pasion 
You will find these in the SoTango Spotify list: Vals (Trad)

Or here on Youtube:



Week 3: November 24

Here's what we covered in our last lesson of Milonga (next week it's Vals!):

1) Moves
Reviewed and linked all moves from past 2 weeks:
  • Box Step
  • Box Step Variation (moving forward)
  • Ocho Cortado from rebound
  • Cuna (Cradle)
  • Turning Step (single time)
2) Milonga's different tiempos
  • Double time - even pressure on each beat
  • Traspié - changes of weight from one foot to the other and back again in double time or three steps in two beats
  • Single time - baseline, default
  • Half time - least used but very effective as a contrast
3) Phrasing
Counted out 'Milonga Brava' by Francisco Canaro and noted how most phrases were 8 bars.
Identified which phrases in Milonga Brava (or parts of phrases) suited the different tiempos.

4) Accents
Noted the accents of high notes in strings, trills with different instruments, e.g.1:02, 1:14, 1:57 

Here's an improvised display of all moves covered in the last 2 weeks. Notice the phrasing:

The songs we focused on were Milonga Brava by Canaro (in display) and Silueta Porteña (Juan D'Arienzo)
These songs can be found in SoTango Spotify list: or here on Youtube: Silueta Porteña   Milonga Brava

The following is an excerpt from sflovestango.com which provides more information on the history and nature of Milonga:

"Milonga, a very fun rhythmic and passionate dance, uses the same basic elements as Tango, but requires a greater relaxation of legs and body. Movement is normally faster than Tango, with no pausing and it incorporates many of the normal tango steps. Milonga is played and danced in 2/4 beat rather than the standard 4/4 and generally every beat (or sub-beat) is stepped on.The Milonga rhythm allows you to play with the rhythms until you feel like you are a part of the song.

The Milonga originated in the Río de la Plata area of Argentina and Uruguay and was very popular in the 1870s. Milonga resulted from a fusion of many cultural dances, including the Cuban Habanera, the Mazurka, the Polka and the Brazilian Macumba. In addition to this, there were two very significant influences: the Candombé and the Payada.

Buenos Aires was itself a major hub for African slaves, who also brought along their Candombé to that area. Even after slavery was abolished, in 1853, the Candombé flourished. The local population who danced with the descendants of these slaves, added their own touches, in particular the embrace, and the Candombé evolved into the milonga.

Over time, dance steps and other musical influences were added, eventually giving rise to the tango.

There are two distinct styles of Milonga: Milonga Lisa in which the dancer steps on every beat of the music; and Milonga con Traspié, in which the dancer uses Traspiés or contrapasos (changes of weight from one foot to the other and back again in double time or three steps in two beats) to interpret the music. Actually the traspie step is a triple step where we use quicks instead of slow beats in milonga.

The Milonga Traspié style is relatively new and has its origins in the tango/milonga move called “traspié”, which in the Buenos Aires jargon stands for”wrong step”. Basically this a change of weight from one foot to the other in a syncopated manner. Originally the tango/milonga dancers used to include some “traspiés” in their dance, but just some."

Week 2: November 17
Here's what we covered:

1) Reviewed moves from Week 1:
  • Box Step
  • Box Step Variation (moving forward)
  • Ocho Cortado from rebound
2) Introduced Cuna (Cradle):

3) Linked Cuna to Box Step
4) Alternated Ocho Cortado and Cuna with Box Step
5) Introduced Rebound Turning Step to Right:

6) Improvised with all the above moves

Here's a demo with the above moves:

Musicality
The song we danced to in these videos is Silueta Porteña by D'Arienzo which you can find in this Spotify list (Milonga Trad) or here on Youtube.

Week 1: November 10
Here's the combinations we covered in Week 1:

Basic Box Step:

A variation on the Box Step that moves forward:

Turning Step (Single time):

Home Play
Practice the above moves to milonga music - see Spotify lists below.
If you don't have Spotify here's a Youtube video for the song used in these videos - 'Milonga del 900' by Francisco Canaro:


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Here's some notes and resources from previous terms that you may find useful as a refresher...

Tango Music - for practising 
Spotify 
Check out SoTango's Spotify lists:

Link to 250 songs
The following link will download a collection of 250 of the most popular songs (tango, vals and milonga) played in milongas around the world! Focus for now only on the tangos. Also focus on instrumental songs as opposed to vocals as these are easier to find the beat. Di Sarli is one of the better orchestras to start with: 250 songs download
This link goes to a zip file (little less than a 1 GB file). 

Here's a link to help you better understand tango music for dancing

Good habits for tango dancers
  • 'Steel vs spaghetti': Your standing leg is like steel - dynamic, strong and grounded, your free leg is like spaghetti: light and loose without tension.
  • Your free leg hip is stable yet loose and lower than your base leg hip (this removes tension from your free leg)
  • 'Collection' - Thigh or ankle (as you prefer) connection as you walk
  • Push off the floor as you walk - to make your walk more dynamic. 
  • Never lock your knees: You standing leg knee is softly flexed (not locked) - this gives you better contact with the floor.
  • Always find your axis - 'it's your beauty and your power'
  • Walk in the line of your hips - Imagine your hips are at the centre of 2 crossing lines: one going forward / back and the other - left /right. The first line is the guide for forward and back steps, the second line guides side steps.