¿Droga o terapia?(Drug or Therapy?)

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:
¿Droga o terapia?(Drug or Therapy?)

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What does tango's global renaissance say about contemporary life? Are addiction and therapy flip sides of the same coin, and is there a threshold for suffering in tango? Are new tango venues and practices more relaxed than their traditional counterparts? Or should we rank experience (and cathartic potential) according to “authenticity?” What does the growing tango industry mean for dancers seeking an experience traditionally described as priceless? This chapter frames tango as a form of resistance to the disconnect of modern life through moving portraits of “tango therapy”; these are juxtaposed, in turn, with vignettes of hierarchy and violence in tango venues old and new. Tango commodification is explored through the dance's global renaissance, contemporary desires to consume authenticity, and shopping as therapy, while the traditionalist emphasis upon quality over quantity is contrasted with the novice desire/necessity to accumulate experience. Reflecting on my own ambivalence towards a dance whose rewards are ever changing and whose culture retains vestiges of sexual violence, I argue that tango seduces through its endless contradictions and challenges.

Keywords: Argentine tango; tango nuevo; dance therapy; addiction; labor (in social pursuits); community; cultural commodification; financial therapy

Chapter.  13221 words. 

Subjects: Dance

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