What is milonga?

Well, what isn’t Milonga? It actually has several meanings, all fairly closely related. Milonga is a genre of music, as well as a type of dance and a type of dance event. Have we lost you yet? I don’t blame you; let’s break it down.


Milonga music

In a nutshell, when referring to music, milonga is a faster variation of tango music. Like tango, some songs have clearer beats than others. If you’re not a music enthusiast you may wish to zone out now and move on to the next section.

If you are a musician or you were brave enough to read on anyway, you may like to know that regular 2/4 tango songs have a [1] 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 rhythm, whereas milonga tunes have either a [1] 2 3 [4] [5] 6 [7] 8 rhythm, or [1] [2] 3 [4] [5] 6 [7] 8. Hopefully you should be able to recognise the difference in pace, if not just pretend 😉


Milonga event

A milonga event is a tango party influenced by Argentine tradition, where tango dancers meet up to dance.


Milonga dance

You may have guessed it: milonga is a faster variation of tango, it goes hand in hand with milonga music. Founded by Afro-Argentineans as a mockery of tango, it was frowned upon by society to begin with. In time, like tango, it caught on, reaching the upper classes and dispersing throughout the world’s biggest cities: London, Paris, Berlin, etc.

The dance style is much faster and doesn’t have the pauses seen in regular tango. It doesn’t pauses however, as the steps are less technical; milonga is more of a rhythmic walking with a far more relaxed posture, especially from the waist down.

Milonga has faster steps therefore making routines tighter, taking up less space and meaning that dances are far more static. It’s ironic really – the faster version of tango travels around the dance floor much slower than regular tango!

There are two main sub-genres of milonga dance. “Milonga Lisa”, which is a simple milonga – a step on every beat, and then “Milonga con Traspie”, with double time moves.