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home : readerswrite : bookshelf April 29, 2016

I love tango
Judith Overmier recommends these books by women authors to get in the dancing mood:

The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos by Anne Carson

Paper Tangos by Julie Taylor

Tango by Isabel Muñoz and Evelyne Pieiller, translated from French and Spanish by Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia

Tango Lover's Guide to Buenos Aires: Insights and Recommendations by Migdalia Romero

The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance by Christine Denniston

by Judith Overmier

To visit Buenos Aires is to be living big and immersed in tango. There's dancing in the streets there-always! Especially in San Telmo, a section of the city where there are musicians, singers, performers/dancers and throngs of people-not only tourists, but locals also. They are all dancing.

When I got tired of walking, watching and joining the dancers, I went into one of the community centers they have every couple of blocks to sit down and rest. I discovered that these are tango centers, too. Everybody (not on dates, but singly) drops in on their lunch hour, after work, on their day off, whenever, just to tango. They bring their own special shoes in a bag-like Americans bringing their own bowling shoes/balls to a bowling alley-and dance Tandas, sets of dances, with someone different each set. The women were very choosy about whom they would allow to partner them, deciding solely on the basis of dancing skill.

Although I danced in the street last time, my body can't tango any longer-even if I can get someone to hold my cane-but my mind has encoded the movements and my heart retains the passion. It was such fun to feel glamorous, even sensuous, for just a bit and amazing to be in control of my body like an elegant gymnast.

Recalling all that, I began reading about tango and its origin in Buenos Aires and its characteristics, including the music, instruments (that's not an accordion, it's a bandoneón), lyrics, clothing, writers and performers.

Tango has definitely entered our culture, not just in movies, but also as metaphor, such as in Anne Carson's poetry about a painful love one must "dance to the end." Also in contemporary ballet, such as the "Tango Morph" by Sabine Ibes and James Sewell in his Ballet Works Project.

You don't have to go to Argentina to tango; they're crazy for the dance in Finland and France. And there are opportunities in Minnesota. When I googled "tango Minnesota" I found Tango Sushi ... hmmmm, maybe not, probably no dancing there, but that's OK, I love sushi, too!

Judith Overmier is a Minneapolis author of poetry, short stories and articles who likes to write on airplanes and in coffee shops around the world.

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