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Dimensions:
210 × 148 mm
216 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781780231075
Illustrations:
25 illustrations
Published:
20 May 2013
Series:
Reverb

Tango Sex and Rhythm of the City Mike Gonzalez, Marianella Yanes

Born on the unlit streets of Buenos Aires, tango was inspired by the music of European immigrants who crossed the ocean to Argentina, lured by the promise of a better life. In the capital’s marginal districts, it was embraced and shaped by young men who told tales of prostitutes, petty thieves and disappointed lovers through its music and movements. Chronicling the stories told through tango’s lyrics, this book shows how the dance went from slumming it in the brothels and cabarets of lower-class Buenos Aires to the ballrooms of Paris, London, Berlin and beyond.

Tracing the evolution of tango, Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes set its music, key figures and the dance itself in their place and time, and explore its subsequent global impact. It was not until Paris went crazy for tango just before World War I that it became acceptable for middle-class Argentineans to perform the seductive dance, and each new generation has embraced it with renewed enthusiasm, from Tokyo to Helsinki.

Telling the sexy, enthralling history of this stylish and dramatic dance, Tango is a book for music fans, ballroom aficionados and everyone fascinated by the cultural history of Latin America.

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2014

‘An essential read for tango lovers . . .  excellent at big themes and small details, the personal and the political.’ – Dance Today

‘Personal accounts, tango lyrics and delightful trivia engagingly support the more historical sections of the writing. At times the language used by the authors seems veiled in mystery and innuendo, comparing tango’s movements to a knife fight and metaphorizing it as a theatre of life without its colourful cast of characters: the pimp, the prostitute, the confidence trickster. But soon enough González and Yanes provide the historical markers and facts to back it all up. The book delivers a beautifully depicted and well-informed history, chronicling the diverse characters and ingredients that have formed tango then and now. Suitable for the uninitiated and the tango aficionado alike.’ – Dance International

‘This interesting, challenging, well-written, and well-documented study examines the origins and development of the tango from diverse approaches . . . The tango becomes a symbolic expression of the “new Argentina,” which became the melting pot of different peoples . . . Gonzalez and Yanes offer significant information about the seductive tango crossing social class line from dark, dockside streets to dance halls . . . an excellent resource for those interested in the historical, anthropological, sociological and psychological aspects of the tango. Highly recommended.’ – Choice

‘The authors follow the dance through its increased sophistication with the incorporation of the accordion, its subsequent fashionability in Paris, London and New York and its connection with the political turbulence of 20th-century Argentina. Highly informative, and peppered with lyrics to illustrate their points.’ – The Herald (Glasgow)

‘I first picked up my copy of Tango hoping that I would not find yet another dry, seemingly uninspired academic history of one of my favorite art forms. What I found was a book that inspired me to hit the dance floor as much as it did to hit the library in order to delve deeper into tango’s complex history. This is a book that will provide the budding fan of tango with all of the necessary background information and inspiration to embark on a love affair with the magnificent dance.’ – PopMatters.com

‘a book that re-establishes the root of tango in the lives of the oppressed fighting back and creating this fascinating dance.’ – Socialist Review

Tango: Sex and the Rhythm of the City combines general events in Argentina’s history with the origins of tango, illustrated by personal vignettes, lyrics and picturesque narratives by historical actors. It serves as a good introduction to the history of tango, not pretending to be overly academic and surely enjoyable to read . . . it offers a decent picture of the social environment of tango in its origins and development . . . an entertaining and informative book . . . The authors offer helpful views of the social aspects that surrounded tango and allow the reader to identify with the men and women who have played, sung and danced tango for more than a hundred years.’ – Bulletin of Latin American Research

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Mike Gonzalez is Emeritus Professor of Latin American Studies at Glasgow University and has written and lectured widely on Latin American culture and politics.

Marianella Yanes is a Venezuelan writer, journalist and playwright. She wrote soap operas for a number of Latin American television channels and worked in theatre for many years.