Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


Milonga & The Habanera Rhythm

When a Milonga tanda is played, more than half the dancers leave the floor for a smoke, the bathroom, the bar, to re-evaluate their lint collection or immediately start counting the ceiling tiles. The reasons why this phenomenon occurs are wide and varied but the subtext is clear: Milonga is clearly a challenge! It’s not that milonga isn’t fun. It is! It sure looks like it is. The music is very light and uplifting. Nor is it that Milonga is not entirely engaging. It clearly is that. It’s just that Milonga has become a complex dance by some estimates. There are a few primary reasons why the floor clears: a.) Some people feel a little foolish because they don’t understand the Music. b.) Milonga is so fast. c.) Don’t want to look foolish or screw up. d.) Some people would rather not dance with someone that doesn’t hear ‘the music’, and can’t build a dance from that. So they leave the floor.

Want to know a secret to Milonga ? Milonga is actually really easy. The dancing part is actually quite simple. For the most part, Milongas’ movements (its figures are a limited subset of tango, and really it’s done in on the linear, almost nothing curves in milonga). However, the thing you really want is 1.) To understand the Music. And 2.) Do something with that music. That’s where we talk about The Music and The Habanera Rhythm!


Usually, the idea of the Habanera Rhythm is taught in every Milonga class or workshop for one simple reason that you cannot dance Milonga without it! To be certain you can dance Milonga solely on its “1”, “2” beat, or you can dance to the melody of a Milonga tune, and a lot of people dance either of these ways. If, on the other hand, you want to enhance your Milonga skills, make your Milonga beautiful to look at, fun to do, inviting to others to so that they want to dance Milonga with you, then you really do want to learn how to incorporate the Habanera Rhythm and it’s Rhythmical Variations into your Milonga skills!

Enter Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó

If you’ve studied with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó, or spent any time with them, danced with them, then we don’t have to explain how important a workshop with them is, and just why you should register below.

If not, then understand these two key points: 1.) They Make Milonga Accessible in a way that you can actually use the material almost immediately using what you already know about Argentine Tango with a few modifications here and there. A few ‘gotchas’ you absolutely have to be aware of in order to dance Milonga successfully. And 2.) There are no videos online, anywhere, of them demonstrating their work, or demonstrating how they teach, and in English! Let alone a complete Milonga Seminar! Yes, there are plenty of performance videos of them dancing to Tangos, Valses, and Milonga which you might be able to infer how they translate Milonga into what is referred to as ‘Social Milonga’, but that’s, to put it mildly, a stretch! But those are performance videos, not them breaking down how the Habanera works, what to listen for in Milonga, and then how to apply it going forward as a Lead or as a Follower!

On the other hand, you could purchase their book, Caminar Abrazados, which contains their Tango concepts and practices, in a extremely well written, and exceptionally well thought out 175-page tango exploration (and the included 2hr – 12 section DVD), where you’re presented with their teaching methodology. Which, as a side note, in our estimation is a clear, concise, and inherently detailed tool that you should order ASAP (very similar to TangoTopics in many ways). But unless you’re able to travel to them (spending several hours on an airplane, and then train, plus food and lodging, and not to mention several hundred dollars/euros in the process just to get to them), the only way you’re able to see this fabulous teaching couple is in your dreams. 🙁 Sadly. That is until now. 🙂

The reality is that they’re exceptionally knowledgeable and detailed teaching couple that have been refining the craft of explaining the materials laid out in this video for the last 18 years (at the time of this writing). This isn’t learning a few steps, patterns, or figures and you’re done. No. This is getting refined, clarified, clear, distilled information put in a useable form in its absolute essence to give you all the tools that you need from a video seminar on Milonga and the Habanera Rhythm, and The Rhythmical Variations of The Habanera Rhythm, and then….what you can do with all of that!

A Few Good Reasons

Why do you need this video series ? Because Detlef & Melina give you all the tools that you’ll need in order to enhance your Milonga skills, to make your dancing comfortable, consistent, and very conscious fun on every level! Musical, Kinesthetic, and Socially. Look, Milonga does not have to be complicated or complex. It can be a very simple and pleasant dance, and that’s what this video series emphasizes on multiple levels. Simple. Clean. Clear. Easy Milonga so that you can generate a very pleasant, and fun dancing experience with your partners. That’s why you need this video series. 

What are you going to get out of this video series ? A whole bunch of stuff. First and foremost is the Milonga Beat, the clear “1”, “2” of Milonga, just where that is and what it sounds like in various Milongas. Secondly, you’ll start to hear a Milonga beat that can be danced as a choice in either Half-Time and how to do that, Single-Time, and even in Double-Time and where and why that wants to happen! Third, they introduce a very important concept of “Counter Body” movement or what Tango Topics refers to as ‘Opposition‘ which is incredibly important in Milonga for a variety of reasons. Fourth, you’ll get an introduction to the Milonga “and” note that occurs (or “+” as it’s sometimes represented), and just why it’s so important that we dance it in Milonga and not discard it. And Last, but not least, probably the single most important thing about Milonga is what defines it as a musical genre in the first place: The Habanera Rhythm and what that is and what makes it so distinctive

Next Detlef and Melina take things to a whole other level with not only hearing The Habanera Rhythm, and walking through it and around it, but then adding in the 2 more common Rhythmical Variations of the Habanera Rhythm that you want to dance to and why. And then they add the icing on the cake: Milonga con Traspie, and you learn the when, where and how those rhythmical variations are applied with Milonga con Traspie! This video series completely demystifies the Milonga Beat, The Habanera Rhythm and it’s variations, and Traspie, and gives you the tools you need to enhance your dancing. 

Will you get any new and useful information on the Embrace, on the Walk, and how to hear the Music ? Yes to that entire question. You will have a greater, mmmm…wait, a deeper understanding of how you want to walk, how to engage opposition in your walk, how to step, how to land your foot, and why you want to walk in the way that they demonstrate. They break down close embrace, and show you a few pitfalls that happen in Milonga, and then put you on the straightened arrow so that you’ll want to make your embrace like what you see them doing. You get this from a Leading perspective as well as from a Following perspective. And lastly, of course, you will hear the music as they hear the music, and what you specifically need to listen for and then how to apply it.

That’s what you’re going to get. 😉 That and you will no longer want to clear the floor, or sit and count the ceiling tiles!

Milonga Madness is no longer available due to our license agreement expiring.

Please contact me for more information.

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