Dancing Tango

Dancing Tango

Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World

by Kathy Davis

Published by: NYU Press

232 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9780814760710
  • Published: January 2015



is a global phenomenon. Since its origin among immigrants from the slums of
Buenos Aires and Montevideo, it has crossed and re-crossed many borders.Yet, never before has tango been danced by so
many people and in so many different places as today. Argentinean tango is more
than a specific music and style of dancing. It is also a cultural imaginary
which embodies intense passion, hyper-heterosexuality, and dangerous exoticism.
In the wake of its latest revival, tango has become both a cultural symbol of
Argentinean national identity and a transnational cultural space in which a modest, yet growing number of dancers from different
parts of the globe meet on the dance floor.

Through interviews and ethnographical research in
Amsterdam and Buenos Aires, Kathy Davis shows why a dance from another era and
another place appeals to men and women from different parts of the world and
what happens to them as they become caught up in the tango salon culture. She
shows how they negotiate the ambivalences, contradictions, and hierarchies of
gender, sexuality, and global relations of power between North and South in
which Argentinean tango is—and has always been—embroiled.

also explores her uneasiness about her own passion for a dance which—when seen through the lens of contemporary critical
feminist and postcolonial theories—seems, at best, odd, and, at worst,
disreputable and even a bit shameful. She uses the disjuncture between the
incorrect pleasures and complicated politics of dancing tango as a resource for
exploring the workings of passion as experience, as performance, and as
cultural discourse. She concludes that
dancing tango should be viewed less as a love/hate embrace with colonial
overtones than a passionate encounter across many different borders between
dancers who share a desire for difference and a taste of the ‘elsewhere.’ Dancing
Tango is a vivid, intriguing account of an important global cultural