<i>Manejame como un auto</i> (Drive Me Like a Car)

Carolyn Merritt

in Tango Nuevo

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042190
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043029 | DOI:
Manejame como un auto (Drive Me Like a Car)

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To what extent is the growth of tango nuevo facilitating a more autonomous position for women within the dance? In this chapter, I examine the performance of sex and gender in Argentine tango. From “active following” to same-sex partnering to female professionalization, I highlight practices that speak to greater gender equality, tracing the influence of foreign sensibilities upon these developments. In turn, portraits of machismo in modern-day Buenos Aires are juxtaposed with vignettes that illuminate lingering macho attitudes in the milongas and prácticas, at once a product of the larger culture and foreign romanticization of the “authentic.” In Buenos Aires' milongas, I find an alternate lifeworld, where elderly porteños rule the roost, women over 40 are scarce, and headstrong foreign tangueras trade youth and beauty for three minutes in the arms of septuagenarian milongueros. Drawing on promotional materials, personal exchanges with local and foreign dancers, and observations of rising tango stars, I argue that new narratives of sex and gender demand that dancers transcend the romance and exoticism of tango's often consuming macho imaginary.

Keywords: Argentine tango; tango nuevo; gender and sexuality; machismo; feminism; partner dance; aesthetic surgery; gay/ queer tango

Chapter.  12057 words. 

Subjects: Dance

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