Tango Lessons

Movement, Sound, Image, and Text in Contemporary Practice

Tango Lessons

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 24 illustrations (incl. 18 in color) Published: February 2014

Cultural Studies, Latin American Studies, Theater and Performance > Dance

From its earliest manifestations on the street corners of nineteenth-century Buenos Aires to its ascendancy as a global cultural form, tango has continually exceeded the confines of the dance floor or the music hall. In Tango Lessons, scholars from Latin America and the United States explore tango's enduring vitality. The interdisciplinary group of contributors—including specialists in dance, music, anthropology, linguistics, literature, film, and fine art—take up a broad range of topics. Among these are the productive tensions between tradition and experimentation in tango nuevo, representations of tango in film and contemporary art, and the role of tango in the imagination of Jorge Luis Borges. Taken together, the essays show that tango provides a kaleidoscopic perspective on Argentina's social, cultural, and intellectual history from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.

Contributors. Esteban Buch, Oscar Conde, Antonio Gómez, Morgan James Luker, Carolyn Merritt, Marilyn G. Miller, Fernando Rosenberg, Alejandro Susti


“This is a book to read carefully and to savor for each essay's distinctive take on the contemporary tango…. It is impossible in a brief review to do justice to such a varied collection of essays… [T]his is a solid and diverse collection, and the detailed and highly informative footnotes further embellish the essays. Even those readers who are well versed in tango history will learn a great deal from Tango Lessons.” — Deborah Jakubs, Hispanic American Historical Review

"[T]he volume is to be commended for its consistent quality of prose and strength of analysis across contributions, especially given the international makeup and disciplinary diversity of the authors. The range of topics, methods, disciplinary perspectives, and regional voices provides a rich tapestry of content that in the hands of a lesser editor might suffer from a lack of coherence or conformity." — Joanna Bosse, Ethnomusicology

"Tango is unique in Argentine history. More than a national music and dance, it has been considered the defining icon of Buenos Aires and of Argentina's vibrant cultural history. Yet, despite its notoriety, scholarship on tango, especially in English, is surprisingly scant. Tango Lessons makes an important contribution by bringing together in one volume profoundly original essays investigating tango as a multifaceted cultural form." — Florencia Garramuño, author of Primitive Modernities: Tango, Samba, and Nation

"Until now, scholars have known little about the social, cultural, and economic aspects of contemporary tango. This collection brings tango scholarship up to date. Deeply involved in the contemporary tango scene, contributors convey a broad and timely appreciation of tango as a dance, a musical genre, a type of lyrical song, a historical archive, and a cultural form that is alive and evolving." — Arlene Dávila, author of Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility across the Neoliberal Americas


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Marilyn G. Miller is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University. She is the author of Rise and Fall of the Cosmic Race: The Cult of Mestizaje in Latin America.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction / Marilyn G. Miller 1

1. Lunfardo in Tango: A Way of Speaking that Defines a Way of Being / Oscar Conde 33

2. Borges, Tango, and Milonga / Alejandro Susti 60

3. Picturing Tango / Marilyn G. Miller 82

4. Tango, Politics, and the Musical of Exile / Antonio Gómez 118

5. The Return of the Tango in Documentary Film / Fernando Rosenberg 140

6. "Manejame como un auto": Drive Me Like a Car, or What's So New about Tango Nuevo? / Carolyn Merritt 164

7. Contemporary Tango and the Cultural Politics of Música Popula / Morgan James Luker 198

8. Gotan Project's Tango Project / Esteban Buch 220

Glossary 243

Works Cited 247

Contributors and Translators 267

Index 269
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5566-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5549-6
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