This word evolved from the West African Bantu language, in which “malonga” means “word”, and “milonga” is the plural of “malonga”: “words”
It is hypothesized by historians that the African population of Rio de La Plata used this term in relation to the “payada”, a musical genre in which two individuals compete by playing guitar and improvising verses, asking each other questions. The rhythm of this genre evolved to the rhythm we now know as milonga.
When the dance of Tango appeared, it was a technique of partner’s dance used to dance any danceable rhythm. Waltz was the most popular at the time, but soon the milonga rhythm was identified as a better fit for that particular dance technique.
As this rhythm, and the way of dancing to it, grew in popularity, “milonga” also became the name of the gathering and the place where this dance was practiced. The word “Tango” was initially a synonym of the word “milonga”, and they later became the name of two differentiated rhythms. Tango dance parties and the location where it is danced kept the name of “milonga”, as well as its crowd of participants, “milongueros”.
Milongas, meaning “Tango dance parties”, have been happening for more than 130 years. During this time, milongas developed a set of codes that cultivate efficiency, maximizing the possibility of great dancers appearing, and allowing the continuity of its existence as a precious cultural gem.
My desire to get better was shaped through decades of patient learning, careful observation of dancers who inspired and guided me, and passionate dancing in milongas, to challenge others to dance better and to be challenged to better myself. Learn to dance!
2– Tango is embodied. You can see it. It is that person or that couple dancing, which lets you know -intuitively, but nevertheless as undoubtedly real to you as objective empirical knowledge- what Tango is.
You want to Tango because you want to be different from yourself. You know that you have not fully expressed all your capabilities. You have been exhausting yourself in many cul de sacs of life, never reaching a sense of self-approval with your achievements, never being satisfied with the recognition you receive from others: your boss, your colleagues, your friends or family.
When you see Tango, you can see it, you get a strong sensation of knowing what you could be.
You realize that it is not anything on the surface. It is in the deepest knots of your web of existence that Tango has to be rooted.
You must learn Tango from whom presented it to you. You must ask to that person or that couple who made you become electrified, amazed you and made you feel that you must dance Tango, to teach you, or to recommend to you someone from whom you need to learn it. Tango is not a commodity. You cannot get Tango like gas from a gas station. You do not look for an advertisement for tango lessons and go to the one that is closest to your home, the most convenient or the cheapest.
3– Tango defies you, challenges you, faces you, shouts at you, demands from you, puts you through pain. Take it all. Be ready to feel uncomfortable, to have pointed out to you what you do not like about yourself and maybe always tried to ignore and hide. It will all float to the surface of Tango and you will need to deal with it face to face. Continue reading.
I do not want to idealize the “natural man”, but our civilization took away the graceful walk of an elegant hunter-gatherer, leaving us instead the limping of a wounded beast.
Is it too late for this realization?
At the individual level, aging poses a burden on us, making it more difficult, as time passes, to reconnect to our body, and with it, to the sensible aspects of our reality: shapes, colors, textures, smells, sensations, emotions, our sweat and that of others.
Our civilization, our education, train us, preferably, to be able to infer and deduce rather than perceive. Still, perceiving is indispensable to our survival. But to the organization of our “modernized” societies it matters less that we develop good taste than that we are capable of accurate accounting.