Now that we’ve cleared up any confusion about milonga in our previous post – you dance milonga to milonga at a milonga; let’s take a trip back to the 19th century to when milonga was born. That’s the dance milonga. Keep up. 😉
Milonga was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is to Argentina what the Queen is to England, what sushi is to Japan, what cheese is to France… hmm yeah you get the idea.
Milonga music actually came first, originating in Europe as a genre of musical improvisation in the 1870’s. When Europeans began migrating to Argentina, so did milonga music and gradually the dance steps developed, hence milonga (the dance, honestly, stay with me 😉 ).
Of course the steps didn’t come from anywhere, they were affected by a variety of influences, other styles of dance, Cuban habanera for instance, other types of music and of course by the people, particularly the African population in Buenos Aires.
The tango is said to have evolved from Milonga over time. Apparently, milonga started to be danced about 30 years before tango was.
Tango thrived amongst the working class in Buenos Aires; many would work to be able to afford to get into milongas – it was a lifestyle (one many of us wouldn’t mind, I’m sure!). With a much higher proportion of men in Argentina at the time, men would also dance together at “practicas”, perfecting their moves for when they could invite a lady at a milonga.