Milonga traspie I   Leave a comment

Milonga traspie I
The way the man holds the woman to dance the milonga is different from tango since it is important that instant weight changes be transmitted directly to the woman’s feet. It is suggested that the man’s right hand is placed just above the woman’s waistline and on the right side of her hips. The dance demands more attention to the music, to the rhythm, and to the traffic on the dance floor. It also has a higher cardiovascular value than the tango, since none of the nuances encountered in tango dancing, like pauses, paradas, or OMG colgadas are part of the choreography of the milonga.There is no shortcut to dancing the milonga “hearing” the beat in your head as you dance. The only sure way is practice, practice, and practice. The easiest way to follow a beat is by tapping on the ground with the feet. We always begin a milonga workshop with an exercise that helps people recognize and reproduce the core sound of the beat of the milonga. We ask people to step by raising the knee to bring the foot off the ground, extending the leg and bringing the foot down hitting the ground firmly with the ball of the foot. Try this on your own,

  1. Rest your weight on your right leg, open your left leg short keeping your body from shifting sideways, and step on the floor with your left foot, then quickly raise and step in place with your right foot counting aloud ONE~AND. We’ll call this sequence QUICK~QUICK or if you prefer, STEP~AND. Repeat four times.
  2. Resting your weight on your right leg, open your left leg short keeping your body from shifting sideways, and step down with your left foot counting ONE. Step down in place with your right foot counting TWO. Let’s call this sequence SLOW~SLOW, or if you prefer ONE~TWO. Repeat four times.
  3. Now put the two sequences together stepping with your left foot, then your right foot (QUICK~QUICK ), followed by stepping with your left foot again, followed by stepping with your right foot (SLOW~SLOW). You should be hitting the ground four times but emphasizing three downbeats and one upbeat, ONE~AND~TWO~THREE.
  4. Repeat four times QUICK~QUICK~SLOW~SLOW counting aloud ONE~AND~TWO~THREE. Repeat again but this time say I~LOVE~CRAW~FISH. Do it as many times as you need until you are confident that you can transmit the words I WANT TO DANCE to the ground with the stomping of your feet.

Repeat the exercise changing axis to your left leg and stomping with the right foot first. It should be obvious that when the members of the couple get together and face each other, the man starts on his right axis, stomping to his left, while the woman stands on her left axis, stomping to her right. If you have the opportunity to practice with another person, work together to synchronize your movements while keeping time as explained above.

Half steps are one the signatures of the milonga dance. They add the staccatos, the double time stepping and the dynamic suspension of motion that matches the complexity of the music measure. They are also the main components of what is called milonga traspie, a style that uses quarter steps to emphasize the rhythm of slower milongas. In a quarter step the foot moves half the space of a half step.

The term “traspie” is a short form version of “pie detras” which literally means foot behind, and when applied to the dancing of tango and milonga it describes an action similar to skipping, or taking two steps with the same foot while the other foot is locked behind.
In tango dancing we use “traspie” to switch from parallel system to cross feet system or to syncopate stepping twice with the same foot.
In milonga traspie, we take the concept further by developing an entire different style of milonga dancing suitable to what it’s called “smooth” or “slow” milongas.

One of the main characteristics of milonga traspie is the use of a SLOW-QUICK-QUICK-SLOW or ONE-TWO and-THREE tempo to make four touches on the floor in the span of three pulses. Observe at 1:32 and count ONE when the man advances with his right foot and the woman steps back with her left foot, then count TWO-AND when they both rock to the side, and count THREE when they both close and change weight.

We hope you relived the experiences of the first milonga traspie workshop, or enjoyed it for the first time. Feel free to use the Comments section for questions and suggestions.

References, Gotta Milonga by Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart, available soon

Posted July 4, 2012 by Alberto & Valorie in Gotta Tango

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: