Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Very Milonguera

"You're very milonguera, aren't you?"

I was fairly sure that this was intended as a compliment, or at any rate not a complaint, though I also got the impression he might have preferred something else - not in a critical way, but as though he felt he might not be able to give me the kind of dance I'd most appreciate.

On the way home, however, I noticed I had no idea what it actually means.

Even after reading this again I still have no idea what it means. At least, not in terms of how I dance, as opposed to how most of my favourite leaders dance, not that I think it applies to that either.

I just have no idea.


Game Cat said...

Ms H,

Hope you had a good Christmas.

Perhaps your commenter was contrasting how you dance to "tango nuevo", which tends to be a very distinct style...and quite un-hedgehog-like imho ;). I'm basing this purely on similar commentary I've heard at milongas (regarding styles of dancers, not hedgehogs).

Btw thanks for the interesting link you posted. Particularly there being a distinction between "milonguero" and "salon" styles. A quick scan of the web suggests that there is no agreement on that yet. See this link for example. Personally, I think I'm doing something in between the two.

I would guess that you're going to ask the person who asked what he had meant when you get the chance....curious to know his answer, if you could?

msHedgehog said...

I kind of understand it in that sense but what puzzled me was, how did he know? I mean how does that express itself in a follower you've only danced with for 5 minutes? We'd never met before. It worried me a bit, I wondered if I was doing something that restricted him somehow. I can follow the nuevo stuff, and it can be loads of fun with the right leader, but it's true it's not what I'd prefer to spend the majority of my dancing time on and I don't feel I can contribute as much. But how did he know?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like "Dancer's Eye" to me.

The ability to recognise preferences in dancing, styles that have been learned and in some cases being able to identify specfic teachers the person has had as well as the specific strengths and weaknesses of the follower.

For example I know someone else who was surprised that a Leader immediately picked up that she'd had ballet training.

Definitely a worthwhile skill for a leader to have

Game Cat said...

Ms H,

I think 5 minutes dancing with (or watching a lady being led) is enough time to figure out whether she is more milonguero/salon or nuevo.

What suggests to me that a lady is more of the former are:

1) Close embrace with primary connection via torso, and therefore leaning forward slightly (rather than connecting mainly through arms and staying very upright on own axis)

2) Square front-facing position (rather than say semi-open V)

3) When doing giros, minimal centrugal force requiring leader to use plenty of arms to guide the turn (I notice nuevos like to use this to propel them around leaders occasionally, especially when double-time)

4) Typically likes to walk and can articulate changes in melody/ rhythm.

Of course, this is all my subjective view, and I'm happy to hear what others say. In my view, Ms H, don't get worried...in fact, it's good that you can signal your preferred style so quickly in person and by being observed. It would help the leaders self-select when deciding to ask you for a dance.

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Problem is most people don't know what they are talking about. A milonguero/milonguera is someone who lives for the Tango. A Tanguero/tanguera is someone who loves tango and dances a lot. Milonguero style is a close embrace style, as is salon and is the opposite of Tango Nuevo. The fact that people would argue the differences on this is not surprising. And anyone commenting on your style or technique is an idiot. Why can't people just keep their traps shut and just get on with the dancing?!

Tangocommuter said...

Feliz Año, Sra. Eriza!

Don't worry about it! Maybe he'd seen you dancing earlier and thought his comment would impress you. Who knows? I'm sure you'll find out, if it interests you...

Tango nearly disappeared. The rock n'roll years led into years of military rule. When the junta was overthrown in 1983 very few people, maybe no more than 30 couples, were still dancing regularly. In the revival, different kinds of tango were taught, such as 'Salon' and 'Villa Urquiza', which were partly open-hold. Teachers love to give names to distinguish what they teach, and 'Milonguero' started to be used in the early 1990s by teachers like Susana Miller and Ana Maria Schapira to mean the typical style of the downtown night clubs of the 1940s, a dance that could be led and followed in close hold, a personal dance not intended for display. They learned it from people who'd never stopped dancing, milongueros like Cacho Dante, 'Tete' Rusconi, Miguel Balbi, whose dancing went back more than 50 years. Or so I heard.

msHedgehog said...

My partner certainly meant it in Tangocommuter's sense, as the description of a style I seemed to know or prefer. Not a milonguera - that would obviously have been ridiculous. And although he was not a native speaker of English, he certainly understood that distinction.

He danced perfectly nicely and I hope he asks me again, although I don't think he goes to the same places.

I think Gamecat has answered my question, thanks!

Anonymous said...

muy tanguera == very diva

Anonymous said...

For dance styles in which I have achieved some competence (not Tango!), I can usually gauge a follower's experience level in a few seconds (<10). Similarly, I can usually evaluate her style within another few seconds (<30).

Now, fair enough, my partner may well have several styles, but in my experience most people don't - they develop their own style and stick to that.

So it's reasonable that an experienced Tango dancer could do the same sort of thing - in fact, I'm starting to be able to do this myself although it may take a few more years to develop competence in it.

msHedgehog said...

@David - that's interesting too. Of course I have default settings that I use unless I feel a lead to do something else, so that would make sense. (And I have danced with you, and you are a competent tango dancer.) :p

msHedgehog said...

@Gamecat, and I had a lovely Christmas, thank you, hope you did.

I was also interested in the 'salon' distinction. It was something Christine Denniston mentioned in the talk I posted about. She said if she asked people what style someone else was dancing she got a variety of answers, but if she asked anyone what style they personally danced, they would always without exception say 'salon', no matter what anyone else had said about them. So there could be a bit more to how these words are used. It's probably not safe to treat them as just names for more-or-less-vaguely-distinguishable things in the world.

Game Cat said...

Ms H,

Re "salon" and "milongeuro" - "It's probably not safe to treat them as just names for more-or-less-vaguely-distinguishable things in the world." - I agree.

I heard very similar things to what Tango Commuter described of how "salon" as a "style" emerged, originating from how the true milongueros danced. I especially like that it is a dance to be shared, not displayed, and that to me at least is what I'd like to hold myself true to (and of course share with like-minded followers). The rest is just mechanics.

Here are 2 links I found quite interesting. They feature Javier R and Andrea M at the same venue with 2 contrasting performances. One is very much for "display", the other I suspect is almost something one could dance in a milonga (ignore the fact that they are not strictly in line of dance as it's a performance). Could they be recognised as "milonguero" versus "salon"? Or is it the same style but just adapted for display versus milonga??? Comments welcome!

If you don't believe Javier would dance as he did in the second clip in a proper milonga, you can see this when he was with Geraldine.

Btw TC - I enjoyed your blog on your time in BsA. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks :) - but no, I'm not yet what I'd call "competent"; which I'd define as "comparable to my level in salsa / modern jive".

When I get to that level of competence, I'm sure I'll be able to "name that style in 3"...