It takes a community - or at least two for Tango

Until this past Saturday, I still hadn’t seen tango dancers in Hanoi and for sure didn’t know anything about Milonga.

The Milonga originated in the Río de la Plata area of Argentina and Uruguay. It was very popular in the 1870s. The Milonga derived from an earlier style of singing known as the payada de contrapunto. A Milonga, according to a friend, is just plain put an event where people come together to dance tango.

(more at Wikipedia

I did have some expectations about dresses and atmosphere and was astonished that hardly any fancy or shiny sequined dresses were to be seen. I knew tango from other events and especially from France. I expected wide and swirling dancers like the tango dancers in bars from the 80’s in Paris.

Instead the people at a Milonga dance with sweeping, close steps, each couple traveling in a circle around the floor. Milonga dance incorporates the same basic elements as Tango but permits a greater relaxation of legs and body. Movement can be from fast to slow. It is quite a kind of rhythmic walking without complicated figures, with a much more "rustic" style than Tango.

Because all participants were eager dancers, the skill level and ages of the dancers were fantastically diverse. All this different age groups whirled their way across the dance floor. The atmosphere and dress code can be described as lax and casual. Men wore jeans or slacks; many women wore nice, but not really formal dresses. The only concession to fashion was high heels.

Each step in the Milonga were placed in such close proximity to their partner’s feet, that you get amazed, that they aren’t tripping and falling all over each other.

The dance is incredibly intimate. To watch the faces of these people as they dance is intriguing. The couples’ heads are pressed together. Many dance with their eyes closed. You can see intense, solemn expressions. This tango is like a relationship on display. 

A very rich and visual experience but due to the dimmed light quite a challenge to photograph. This special Milonga was enhanced by the presence of the dance instructor an Argentine Tango Maestro Mauro Caiazza. More information at:


Light trails - Long exposure

Retro, vintage and Bar Betta