Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating culture, idea, lifestyle, and philosophy. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. We are humanists. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation and compromise. If you believe in this cause, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.

Together we can awaken the world.




March 11, 2017

For Milongueras


Being a milonguera is a high call - only the best tangueras deserve that title. A milonguera is not an exhibitionist but a social dancer. She dances not to impress others, but for her partner's enjoyment and her own pleasure. Her skill is so superb that she can focus her entire attention on him instead of on the steps. Her body is so well-trained that she is able to make him feel totally comfortable even in the most challenging maneuvers. Her musicality is so excellent that dancing with her is a pure enjoyment of the music, without slightest disharmony.

A milonguera has transcended the narrowness of egocentric popular ideas like individualism and feminism. She understands that tango is a relationship and teamwork, that the satisfaction of tango comes from surrender, cooperation and sharing, that her own enjoyment of the dance depends on her partner, and that unless he is contented she cannot be so. Therefore, she gives her undivided attention to him, just like he does to her. Tango is an altruist dance, and a milonguera is an altruist.

A milonguera connects to her partner by leaning her body slightly forward against his body with a firm yet gentle pressure of her breasts on his torso, tuning constantly to the messages emitted from his chest. She stretches her torso upwards, as if it were the string of a violin that vibrates at his slightest touch. Her head rests tenderly on his cheek, void of pressure. Her body is completely relaxed, thus it is comfortable to be held in the arms and is easy to lead. Her weight is on the ball of her standing foot, but her whole foot, including the heel, is in contact with the floor, thus she is stable. Her right hand rests in his left hand without weight, and her left arm lands on his right shoulder to allow her to enjoy his embrace. But she keeps her own balance and doesn't hang on him for stability, thus she is light. (See Raul Cabral, Driving and Synchronization.)

A milonguera dances beautifully, but the point of the steps to her is not so much the aesthetics as it is the communication. Just like the embrace, the steps are the tool a milonguera uses to connect to her partner, communicate her feelings to him, seduce him, and pamper him. They are a part of what makes tango an intimate, loving, playful and comforting dance.

Her body is so supple and flexible that she can dance on either side of him without upsetting the embrace or causing discomfort to him. She can twist her body in his arms in such tender and seductive way that it pleases to the sense of his body. She can dissociate her upper body and lower body to such a degree that the two partners always remain perfectly connected even in the most difficult movements. For her, to tango is to pamper the man in her arms, and she is equipped with a perfect and educated feminine body to do that.

She has danced the milonguero style of tango for at least ten years and has accumulated tremendous experiences. Her skill is so proficient that she can dance by intuition without having to think about the techniques or steps. Thus she is able to concentrate on making him feel good. She knows all the tricks to please him with her body: caressing his torso when twists her body in his arms, letting her chest trundle on his torso when swivels her hips, massaging his chest with her breasts in ocho cortado, wrapping his body with her body in molinete, and entangles his leg with her leg in sacadas, etc. She is a maestra of the art of seduction.

A milonguera knows the music inside out. She knows the stories of each and every tango songs, and she knows how to express the feelings of the music with her body. She is moody when the music is moody, passionate when the music is passionate, sentimental when the music turns sour, and tender when the music becomes affectionate. She accelerates, slows down, softens, stresses, syncopates, pauses, and suspends as the music tells her to do so. She can express the feelings of the music so well that you feel like you are dancing with the music itself. Dancing with a milonguera is a pure enjoyment of the music without slightest disharmony.

A milonguera is versed in the milonga world. She follows the rules about dressing, seating, invitation, navigation, mirada, cabeceo, and all the dos and don'ts of the milonga. She is warm, polite, charming, and easygoing. She greets everyone, respects everyone, is friendly to everyone, and does not have an attitude that scares men away. She always let men know her love and appreciation for them. Milonga codes have been a part of her life for so long that they become her life principles. She might have been an arrogant, egocentric, individualistic, independent, competitive, and feminist ultraist. She might have possessed all the attitudes, habits and imperfections many did when they started tango. But tango changed her and turned her into a marvel - a milonguera treasured by all milongueros.


P.S.

I've just returned from Newport News Encuentro, one of the best milonguero gatherings I have attended. It is the women that I have danced with in that event inspired me to write something about them. My special thanks to Liga Losseva, Sherry Chou, Olimpia Stein, Eva VonEsse, Flo Woodreuff, Yemiko Yagui, Lan Tran-Phu, Marina Aleshker, Sandra Angel, Emily Mooney, Shirley Putnam, Gloria Swindoll, Pamela Ruth, and many others whose names I don't know or remember. Special thanks also to Andy Stein, the organizer of the event, and to Raul Cabral, whose writings are always an inspiration and whose appreciation for milonguera women I deeply share.

4 comments:

  1. I think you'd be better of sticking with the meanings of these words as used by just about everyone else.

    A milonguera is a woman who spends a lot of time in the milongas.

    A tanguera is a woman who loves tango, whether dancer or not.

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    1. Excellence is the consequence of spending a lot of time in the milongas.

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  2. "She is a maestra of the art of seduction"

    There's another word you should possibly avoid.

    A maestra is a woman who teaches primary school children.

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    1. Thank you for emphasizing that sentence. I always appreciate your sharpness, Chris.

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