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Sultry Argentina: Inside A Buenos Aires Milonga


Buenos Aires Milonga

There is nothing more Argentine than a Buenos Aires milonga, or tango salon. The sexy moves, the seductive music, the dark shadows sliding across the dance floor... In fact, underground tango salons have become one of the most popular places for tourists to visit when exploring the nation's capital.

Milonga refers to a place where tango is danced or performed, but it can also refer to a specific genre of music. Most milongas offer weekly tango classes and demonstrations, and travelers will find themselves in the good company of other beginners, so there is no reason to be shy if your tango moves don’t immediately impress.

The tango, which has become synonymous with Argentina, originated in the working class neighborhood of La Boca, where it was danced amongst men while they waited their turn outside lounges and brothels. The milonga dance uses the same basic moves and technique as the tango, but requires more relaxation in the legs and body. Tango, which is known for its dramatic twists and kicks, is a bit more aggressive, less sweet, more pained. Tango music involves a piano and a bandoneón, an instrument that looks and sounds very similar to an accordion. The signature kicks are supposed to represent knife movements and the shuffling feet are meant to mimic the sneaky moves of a gangster ready to commit some dark crime. When a singer is involved, the lyrics are often from one of Argentina’s great poets: Horacio Ferrer, Luis Borges, and Homero Manzi. Sticking with the darkly themed dance, the songs usually tell a story of hard times for women living in the lower echelons of society. When a man and woman dance tango together, the intertwined movements create a dark, dramatic and captivating story.

Visiting a Buenos Aires milonga is a must for anyone passing through the Argentine capital, as is sampling the tango for yourself.

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06 Aug 2010

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