Dancing Milonga - easier for MJers?
It occurred to me, over the past few weeks, that the Milonga form of dancing is relatively easy to dance to, for a Modern Jiver - at least, at the entry level.
Milonga has a simple, easily-kept beat, with a tempo quite similar to Modern Jive music. And all you need to do is to simply transfer weight or step on each beat, and lead your partner, and that's it. Milonga has (at least at the entry level) no fancy legwork, it has no difficult moves, there's no strict technique - it's just a bit of fun. So, as long as you don't think of it as Tango, and as long as you keep your steps nice and short, it's fairly easy to get along with, in a fairly short period of time. And, as it is a "fun" dance, there's less pressure if you mess it up - it's not supposed to be taken too seriously.
I think the thing that puts us off Milonga - OK, the thing that put me off it - is the sheer speed of it. If you think of it as very very fast Tango, requiring all the discipline of Tango but at twice the speed, then it's only natural to be intimidated by this dance. But it's not Tango. If anything, it reminds me of the relationship Merengue and Bachata have to salsa - they're both easier dances than salsa, although they share some similarities.
Milonga dancing, in some ways, also reminds me of Jango - I've danced sort-of Jango to a Milonga track, several times. It seems to work OK. A progressive Jango, in close hold, moving along the floor, and with small steps / weight changes, would be very difficult to distinguish from Milonga dancing, I think. It'd be an interesting experiment, to see Jango and Milonga danced to the same track - I think they'd look pretty similar.All this leads me to wonder, it may be easier for Modern Jivers to come to Tango via Milonga, as a sort of half-way house. Although, possibly, it's better to learn Tango first, and get the discipline and hard work done initially.
- David Bailey