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What is a Milonga and what is a Practica?

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milonga   definition

mi·​lon·​ga / (mee-lohng-gah)

(noun)

by Treva Bedinghaus

  1. A milonga is a social event or location for tango dancing—More simply, milongas are tango dance parties. People who dance at milongas are known as milongueros. When a group of people goes tango dancing, they go to a milonga.

  2. Milonga refers to a distinct style of tango—Although milonga uses the same basic elements as tango, it tends to be faster-paced and less complex. Milonga tends to place greater emphasis on the rhythm of the music. Dancers must strive to keep their bodies relaxed, as syncopated pauses are not made. There are two distinct styles of Milonga, Milonga Lisa and Milonga Traspie. In Milonga Lisa (Simple Milonga), dancers step on each beat of the music. In Milonga Traspies, dancers must transfer their weight from one foot to another, in double time to the music.

  3. Milonga refers to a distinct music genre—Milonga tango music is distinguished by its faster-paced beat, requiring dancers to take quicker steps written in a 2/4 time.

There are different styles of Milonga: "Milonga Lisa" (Simple Milonga), in which the dancer steps on every beat of the music; and "Milonga con Traspié", in which the dancer uses Traspiés or contrapasos (changes of weight from one foot to the other and back again in double time or three steps in two beats) to interpret the music. 

tanda by www.tejastango.com

A set of dance music played at a Milonga (tango party), usually three to five songs, of the same dance in similar style, if not by the same orchestra. The tandas are separated by a brief interlude of non-tango music called a "cortina" (or curtain) during which couples select each other. It is customary to dance the entire tanda with the same partner unless the man is rude or very disappointing as a dance partner, in which case the lady may say gracias (thank you) and leave.

cortina by www.tejastango.com

Curtain: A brief musical interlude between tandas at a milonga.

practica

prac-ti-ca / prak-tee-ka

(noun)

A "Practica" is a Tango practice dance party where codes/protocols are generally much more flexible and relaxed. Some practicas may or may not include tandas or even cortinas. During "practicas", one can talk to their partner discussing a new step or perhaps work out some material learned in class. Practicas are a great practice for beginners before attending a Milonga or anybody who just wishes to improve their skill and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. 

Milonga Codes/Etiquette

Please read in detail

http://lifeisatango.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-guide-to-milonga-etiquette.html