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Thursday October 02, 2014
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Milonga Picante

 

continued

But then, he says, he discovered Argentine tango and found that the mix of movement and music clicked with him perfectly. "It's the interpretation of music, but with someone else," he says. "Everything is improvised, not at all like ballroom dance."

Argentine tango is, quite clearly, more popular than ever. There are clubs all over the world, conferences, and master teachers who travel from city to city offering workshops, coaching, and inspiration. In fact, the night I visit, the U-M club is in the midst of a weekend-long tango intensive with Robin Thomas and Jennifer Bratt — a New York-

based couple who teach classes like "Flying Feet," "Changes of Direction in Close Embrace," and "Embellishment Boot Camp."

So what's a "milonga"? Avik explains, "Milonga has several meanings. It's a kind of tango, but it's also a tango party, and it's also a place where people go to tango. So you could play a milonga at a milonga, at a milonga." Avik also explains that tangos are broken down into tandas — groups of three pieces of music by the same orchestra. In between tandas, a cortina is played — maybe thirty seconds of a different kind of music, to signal the end of one tanda and the beginning of the next. You're supposed to find a different partner for each tanda.

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