Tango: Creation of a Cultural Icon

Tango: Creation of a Cultural Icon

Tango: Creation of a Cultural Icon

Tango: Creation of a Cultural Icon

Synopsis

In Tango: Creation of a Cultural Icon Jo Baim dispels common stereotypes of the tango and tells the real story behind this rich and complex dance. Despite its exoticism, the tango of this time period is a very accessible dance, especially as European and North American dancers adapted it. Modern ballroom dancers can enjoy a "step" back in time with the descriptions included in this book. Almost as interesting as the history of the tango is the cultural response to it: cities banned it, army officers were threatened with demotion if caught dancing it, clergy and politicians wrote diatribes against it. Newspaper headlines warned that people died from dancing the tango and that it would be the downfall of civilization. The vehemence of these anti-tango outbursts confirms one thing: the tango was a cultural force to be reckoned with!

Excerpt

The history of the tango is a story of encounters
between those who should never have met.

—Marta E. Savigliano, Tango and the Political Economy of Passion

If one asks very many people about the tango, certain common threads still appear quite often: the tango is a dance from Argentina; the music always has a habanera rhythm; all tangos are sad or dramatic or tragic in some way; and it originated among the criminal classes in Buenos Aires around the end of the nineteenth century. As is the case with most beloved cultural icons, the common image is based in truth, but, as is just as often the case, error creeps in when devotees know or remember only parts of the history. a number of limitations plague the preceding description. First, the texts of tango songs in Argentina had a cultural importance equal to that of the dance music. Second, not all tango texts are sad; many of the earliest ones are based on comic or satiric themes of urban life. Third, starting with the first young Argentine aristocrats to discover the tango, many have assumed that lower class means criminal class. This affixed an undeserved label to many of the originators of the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.