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Distributed for Reaktion Books


Sex and Rhythm of the City

Distributed for Reaktion Books


Sex and Rhythm of the City

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. It found its home in the city’s marginal districts, where it was embraced and shaped by young men who told stories of prostitutes, petty thieves, and disappointed lovers through its music and movements. Chronicling the stories told through tango’s lyrics, Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes reveal in Tango 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, Gonzalez and Yanes set its music, key figures, and the dance itself in their place and time. They describe how 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 they explore the renewed enthusiasm with which each new generation has come to it. Telling the sexy, enthralling story of this stylish and dramatic dance, Tango is a book for casual fans and ballroom aficionados alike.

216 pages | 30 halftones | 5 4/5 x 8 1/4 | © 2013


Music: Ethnomusicology

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“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.”

Glasgow Herald

Authors Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yates do a masterful job of painting a literary portrait of tango that is both interesting and affecting; appealing equally to the devoted historian of Peronism as it will to the casual fan of the dance. . . . 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.”


“Captivating and insightful. . . . 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 tango aficionado alike, Tango: Sex and Rhythm of the City is time deliciously spent.”

Dance International

Table of Contents


1. Strangers in the City

2. A City Divided

3. Tango Goes to Paris

4. Tango Finds Its Voice

5. Gardel and the Golden Age

6. The Dying of the Light

7. Astor Piazzola and Tango Nuevo

8. The Long Road Home



Select Bibliography

Discography and Filmography


Copyright AcknowledgementsIndex

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