Chique Alternative (Eng)

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Milonga Chiqué is held every Saturday at Vinzavod territory (loft-space with halls for rent) in Moscow. It occupies two flors, On the first one there are bar and dancefloor with classic tango-music, the second floor has «alternative» milonga with neotango-music and / or electronic tango.

Place: Vinzavod, building 6 (DanceOptions studio)
Music: Tango of 40-50-s at the classical dancefloor nd alternative music on the second floor.
Amount of dancers: from 3 to 30 pairs.
Price: 350 RUR.
Dancefloor: laminate.
Additionally: bar of the club, refreshments from organizers.

This Saturday Milonga at Vinzavod (its «alternative part») is described here by one of its main organizers, DJ Yevgeniy Morozov (Евгений Морозов) (Moscow).

 

The first alternative dance floor.

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Yevgeniy Morozov

On February 20, 2017 there was the first anniversary of milonga Chique. This is the only milonga in Moscow, where the dancers may use two dance floors — the first for the «classic» milonga and the second for the milonga with «alternative» music. An alternative dance floor is located on the second floor. Tangeros, who are interested in music Nuevo &NeoTango, Alternative, Tango Rarities, Non-Argentinian tango, Orquestas modernas gather there. Milonga design also has its differences — for example, there is a light projectors and a smoke machine.

During night the second floor in Chique is visited by a lot of people. There is simultaneously up to 30 pairs on the dance floor in the most active time from 22:00 to 01:30. During the night you can freely change dance floors. People always have the opportunity to go down to the first floor and dance the traditional, famous and beloved by all of us tango from «Golden Age». This choice of music and atmosphere is very important! You can always «refresh your impressions.»

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It should be noted that  Moscow tango community has been and remains quite conservative in terms of music. Mostly on milongas there is a traditional Argentine tango of the «Golden Age», from time period between 1935 and 1955. Sometimes DJs insert in the program 1-2 unusual or modern tandas, often at the end of the milongas. And this is justified in most cases.

Audio recordings of classical tango are now widely available to Moscow DJs. Efforts of many Russian and foreign enthusiasts have created a catalog of classical tango music, in Moscow DJs exchange freely with the information about records, almost everyone has his own large collection of tangos. These are the reasons why there are many new faces, healthy competition among DJs and motivation to improve the quality of their work. And the dancers have a choice. Now on traditional Moscow milongas you can hear many good and different tandas.

As a musician and music lover I always wanted something more. When I came to tango, I deeply immersed myself in this music and collected a large collection of traditional tangos, as well as a lot of modern music of this genre. But I did not hear it on the milongas. Although I was convinced of its “dancability” and rich emotional content. Several times in social networks I raised the topic of the lack of such music on milongas and thanks to these publications I found many like-minded people who supported my idea.

In Europe, then, milongas of other formats already existed, giving more freedom to DJs. So, for example, on one of the milongas in Budapest, apart from Tango, Waltz and Milonga, every fourth tanda was with non-traditional music. Classics successfully went together with nuevo, electronics, ambience, latin, blues, French waltzes and completely different music from other directions. And all this was absolutely easy to dance with the use of biomechanics of tango. It was well and skillfully arranged. The milonga usually had about a hundred of visitors, which is quite a lot for such a format. It was obvious that such a format could work in Moscow also. Therefore, I began to try to promote this idea among the organizers.

htmlimage (5)It should be noted that in Moscow there was and continues to exist «Alternative Practice» on Sundays. People, who come there, bring their own music and dance it. But this is not a milonga format, but rather a club of interests. Although this is a very interesting place that helps to expand the musical, emotional and dance range. But I wanted, of course, to see another scale — a full-fledged milonga, with its unique atmosphere, quality sound and so on. Such a milonga appeared in Moscow on February 20, 2016, when the organizers of Chique invited me to implement such a format in action on one of the two dance floors. As it turned out, this format works fine.

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Nuevo or non-Nuevo

It is worth noting that the word “Nuevo”in Moscow tango circles acquired a negative, and even threatening shade. It is usually understood as either monotonous electronic tango music, or heavy, chaotic and dramatic compositions of late Pugliese, or Piazzolla, etc. That is, nuevo was understood as «very complex music that cannot be danced». There were different not very successful (but necessary!) experiments, when on milongas under the signature «nuevo» exceptionally rare, non-danceable, electronic, etc. music was played. It is clear that the desire of a DJ was to «enlighten» people, to open them new music, which he found. Another question is that all this was inappropriate for this particular audience, and was often given chaotically, unsystematically, unbalanced and, from the point of view of musical and emotional flow, illiterately. Of course it’s stress for people who came to dance. And people associated this stress with the concept of nuevo.

Here is a good example with classical music. No doubt, that Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky all represent classical music. But these composers are very different! If you ask a person if he likes classical music, his answer will depend on whether he knows something about composers, years of their activity, genres within classics, and so on. But many people do not know anything about this. Their knowledge is limited to the Moonlight Sonata, Fugue D minor and Waltz of Flowers, and knowing only these several works they form their opinion about all classical music. The situation is the same, as it is with the concept of nuevo — people think that it’s only Piazzolla, Gotan and Otros Aires.

The very word «nuevo» is translated as «new.» But our format includes a much larger range of music. I would prefer a different term. For example, NeoTango, as it is called by foreign colleagues.

As practice shows, a good tango-DJ, using only traditional tango, can create almost any mood on the dance floor. Without using the alternative, modern, nuevo, etc. It depends on the taste and ability to feel the dance floor, from empathy, emotionality, sound quality, and many other factors.

However, the important point is that the expansion of the musical range is very interesting itself. It can open up new opportunities, ideas, inspiration and emotions for both the DJ himself and the dancers. And this is a completely different field for activities, it brings other flows and energies!

By now there are not many people on milongas who can really dance music well in this format. People mostly use movements and combinations like on traditional milongas. But this music evokes inspiration, and this is very important! Competent balance of old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, acoustic and electro, tango and non-tango, classics and nuevo – this is how I would roughly describe the concept of NeoTango.

 

How to create an atmosphere.

 On the alternative dance floor another reality is created. Unusual lighting, mirrors, projector draws cosmic and fractal images on all surfaces of walls and floor. Invitations without cabezoos are practiced here, ladies can invite acquainted gentlemen, many people go downstairs and look for partners there, and then go up again but together to embody joint dance and music fantasies.

Here you can hear modern tango orchestras, magnificent examples of the “Guardia Vieja”, canuengue, foxtrot, French and classical waltzes, blues, jazz, guitar milongas, little-known diamonds of classical tango orchestras, rarities and non-Argentine tango of the 20th century. And of course the best nuevo and alternative tangos! There are a lot of musical experiments in the tango format that are created right here and now. I, as a DJ, try to experiment carefully, and always return to the basis, to the classics. Then it always sounds in a new way. Also there are very interesting «requests» and «orders» from people, and, by the way, thanks to them I discovered a lot of interesting music.

Gradually many people appeared who began to regularly attend the milonga and take interest in the music that sounds there. This is how NeoTango Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeoTangoInMoscow/appeared in Moscow, where information about events in the TangoNuevo / NeoTango / AlternativeTango format, various music for alternative tango-milongas is published.

Such an unusual format requires a particularly careful attitude to the dancers. On milongas, you should put only those songs that really have energy, a living emotion and that you really want to dance. Everything is put together and mixed in real time. As a rule, cortinas are not used, but dancers very quickly begin to navigate and understand when one part ends and another begins. These parts are similar to tandas, but they can be of different length. We can say that this is «music of the moment», and here the DJ and dancers make up something like a one whole emotional-physical organism, living its own magical life.

Currently, four Moscow DJs regularly play on the alternative dance floor. EvgenyMorozow, Anna Neum, Alexander Godyay and Valery Volkov. We all have different styles, different visions of music, which in general only adds interest to milongas. I hope that in the future our ranks will be refilled with new DJs, each of which will bring his or her new colors.