Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, 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 people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.
October 24, 2018
September 8, 2018
Champaign Milongueros is a group of local tango dancers committed to the milonguero style of tango. Our mission is to gather like-minded local tango dancers to study and promote the milonguero style of tango, carry on its tradition, separate ourselves from the existing tango culture in this university town with our standardized dance style, exquisite dance skills and distinct milonga culture, and to lead the trend.
Champaign is one of the earliest tango communities in Illinois, yet for more than two decades Champaign tango remains weak because it has only focused on university students, the part of the population who would leave the town after graduation and are interested in things that are not appealing to older local dancers. We want to depart from that path and try a new approach.
1. This group is dedicated to the milonguero style of tango that features close embrace, feelings, gender roles and classic tango music, not the Nuevo style featuring open embrace, exhibition, gender-neutrality and alternative music. In contrast to the ideologies that unduly promote pluralism, diversity and difference, we emphasize authenticity, standardization and conformity to the milonguero tradition. (See Pluralism versus Monism.)
3. We emphasize team spirit, brotherhood and responsibility within the group against the individualistic tendency that focuses on the independence, rights, liberty and freedom of the individual. A milonguero is not an individualist but a team player. He/she belongs to a group of like-minded dancers who understand the interdependence of people and the importance of the community, who regularly dance together, conform to the group standard, observe its protocols, participate in its administration, and are role models for novices and newcomers. (See Tango and Individualism.)
4. By observing the tango protocols practiced in the milongas of Buenos Aires, including milonga etiquette, dress code, separate seating, cabeceo, and navigation rules, we strive to create a warm, respectful, friendly, pleasant, elegant and orderly environment in our milongas. (See Milonga Codes.)
To secure the quality of our milonga, this group opens only to selected dancers. Group members must have the following qualifications:
1. Dedicate to the milonguero style of tango.
2. Accept the Group Charter.
3. Commit to long-term participation.
4. Are fit for tango dancing and have the potential to grow.
5. Actively attend our classes.
6. Are responsible team players.
7. Newcomers must complete the training and meet our standards to become a member and attend our milongas.
April 20, 2018
January 3, 2018
Stepping on beats and dancing to music are not one and the same thing. The former is the basic of musicality, but it is not the most important and sophisticated. Beats are rhythmic stresses that regulate the speed of music. They are interrupted and unemotional. Stepping on the beats is like jumping, the focus is on the accent, and the movement is broken and dry.
The most important thing in dancing is to express the feelings of the music, which lie not in the beats but in the melody. Melody is the linear, sweet and emotional tone in music that adds sentiment, emotion, beauty and fluidity to music. Dancing to melody is like driving, the focus is on the linear tone, and the movement is continuous and smooth.
In dancing, we can focus on beats, or we can focus on melody, which leads to different dance styles. When we focus on beats, we wait for the beat to come and step on it with force, the movement is sudden, short and incoherent. Here is an example.
This song, Poema, like most tango songs, is nostalgic and melancholy. "Tango is a sad feeling that is danced." - said Enrique Santos Discepoloo. The lyrics of the song were written by Eduardo Bianco, who played the first violin in the orchestra of Teatro Apolo in 1927. Bianco learned that his wife cheated on him with the pianist of the orchestra and shot his rival to death in a fit of jealousy. The lyrics reflected his grief, pain and sorrow. Here is the English translation by Alberto Paz.
It was a dream of sweet love,
hours of happiness and loving,
it was the poem of yesterday,
that I dreamed,
of gilded color,
vain chimeras of the heart,
it will not manage to never decipher,
so fleeting nest,
it was a dream of love and adoration.
When the flowers of your rose garden,
bloom again ever so beautiful,
you'll remember my love,
and you will come to know,
all my intense misfortune.
Of that one intoxicating poem,
nothing is left between us,
I say my sad goodbye,
you'll feel the emotion,
of my pain…
The music was composed by Mario Melfi in 1932, which was arranged by Francisco Canaro in 1935. Only the last two stanzas were sung in the Canaro's version, by Roberto Maida.
Dancing Poema, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the poet - like you were biding sad farewell to your past love. You still need to step on the beat, but you don't do it in a sudden and broken way. Rather, you focus on the emotion of the melody and let your steps be even-paced, lingering and continuous. Here is an example.
Notice that the couple in this example did not chase the beats, but danced slowly, as were reluctant to let go each other. Their steps are much more supple, fluid and melodious, matching the melancholy mood of the song.
I often feel my partner still focuses on the beats when I try to lead her dance to the melody, which is not surprising given that most students are only taught to step on the beat. Next time you dance Poema, try to focus on the melody instead of the beats. The key is to control the speed of the steps to let it be even-paced rather than sudden and broken - especially if you are a woman, who represents the melodic or feminine mood of the music. (See The Characteristics of Classic Tango.)
Self-Centered Leading and Partner-Centered Leading
The Elegance of the Mionguero Style