3 Meanings of the word Milonga = 1 fabulous dance
Milonga dance is dancing to milonga music.
Milonga dance incorporates the same basic elements as Tango but permits a greater relaxation of legs and body. Movement is normally faster, and pauses are not made. It is rather a kind of rhythmic walking without complicated figures, with a much more “rustic” style than Tango.
There are different styles of Milonga: “Milonga Lisa” (Simple Milonga), 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. Thus, dynamics may be danced without having to run fast or without the use of much space.
Distinctive elements added from candombe were “quebradas”, improvised, jerky, semi-athletic contortions, the more dramatic the better, and cortes, a suggestive pause, or sudden break in the figures of the dance. Unlike in the then “Tango” of that group, however, where these movements were danced apart, they were now danced together.
The Milonga originated in the Río de la Plata area of Argentina and Uruguay. It was very popular in the 1870s. The Milonga was derived from an earlier style of singing known as the payada de contrapunto. The song was set to a lively 2/4 tempo, as are most milongas.
“Milonga is an excited habanera.” The original habanera divided into four pulses, in a standard two-four where every note was stressed. In becoming milonga, though, all four notes turned strong, as tempo was doubled. The strength of the first beat weakened the fourth giving an almost waltz-like feel to milonga: one-two-three(four), one-two-three(four). Habanera is a slower, more explicit sounding one, two, three-four. At least one modern tango pianist believes the polka influenced the speeding up of the milonga.
Milonga has a syncopated beat, consisting of 8 beats with accents on the 1st, (sometimes also 2nd) 4th, 5th, and 7th beats.
Over time, dance steps and other musical influences were added, eventually giving rise to the tango.
By the 1890s musicians were writing in a structured form that was something more than thinly disguised milongas or tangos andaluces, and would later become the fully developed tango.
Uruguayan and Argentine artists known for their milonga compositions and interpretations include Roberto Firpo, Angel D’Agostino, Pedro Laurenz, Villoldo, Francisco Canaro, Rodolfo Biagi, Juan d’Arienzo, Edgardo Donato, Gabino Ezeiza, Aníbal Troilo, Lucio Demare, Domingo Federico, Angel Vargas, Mariano Mores, Alfredo Zitarrosa, Francisco Lomuto, Ástor Piazzolla and Carlos Di Sarli. These artists are from the early years and the Golden era of tango.
Kevin Johansen is a modern Argentine rock artist who has a number of songs that combine folkloric and pop music with a milonga rhythm.
The music played is mainly tango, vals and milonga (as the musical genre). Most milongas are held on a regular basis (usually weekly), and they often begin with dancing classes and sometimes demonstration dances. Usually, three to five songs of a kind are played in a row (this is called tanda) followed by a short musical break (called cortina) to clear the dancefloor and facilitate partner changes. There are a number of informal rules that dictate how dancers should choose their dancing partners.