Tango (The Herald)

Tango: Book Review
The Herald (Glasgow), 20 July 2013

People of a certain age will remember the tango as comic shorthand for the fiery passion the British were never much good at. But the dance, far from being a bit of saucy fun, is inextricable from the socio-economic conditions from which it evolved during its birth in 1860s’ Argentina, when people from the interior moved en masse to Buenos Aires, joining thousands of European immigrants in the city’s slums and red light districts. Its birth marked the passing of the gaucho into history and his rebirth as a pimp and dancer whose moves were echoes of the complex dynamic between the sexes.

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.

More on Tango:
Tango: Sex and the Rhythm of the City by Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes (May 2013)
Tango Comes Out of the Shadows’ (book extract, Reverb blog)
‘Tango: Dangerous and Exciting’ (Reaktion Books blog)


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.