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Julie Taylor's book at Amazon Dot Com Paper Tango's

Paper Tangos (Public Planet Books)
by Julie M. Taylor
List: $13.95
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Paperback, 136 pages
Published by Duke Univ Pr (Trd)
Publication date: June 1998
ISBN:   0822321912

From Kirkus Reviews  05/11/98

paper 0-8223-2191-2
This very personal, idiosyncratic volume
is not a celebration of the tango - so common these days -
but a meditation on it as an expression of Argentine identity
and history. Taylor is a ballet-dancer-turned-anthropologist
whose initial encounter with Argentina was a cultural study of
ritual dance; she ended up in Buenos Aires learning to dance the
tango. Here she broaches several themes of Argentine identity that
she finds encapsulated in the tango but that have resonance beyond
the countryþs boundaries. The tango as Taylor presents it is the
embodiment of contradiction: the blank face and still upper body
opposing the rapid movement of legs; the macho pose of the male
versus his inner feeling of sadness and loss (a paradox of male
identity that Taylor situates in the barrios of Buenos Aires where
the tango was born); the apparent romance between the couple and
their actual solitude within the dance. On a more personal level,
the author conveys the passion with which devotees approach
the tango, attending daily late-night dance sessions where they
argue over style with as much ardor as they dance. But tango,
according to Taylor, is also an expression of violence, defined
in a range of ways: as dominance (of male over female), as terror
(of the military junta over the Argentine people), as sexual abuse
(of the author herself when she was a girl). Similarly, ambiguities
in Taylor's own sense of identity are mirrored in a corresponding
ambiguity that she finds in Argentina: "the particular forms
of disorientation, loss, and uncertainty of the nation's fate
inculcated by years of terror."  An original and profound study
of the power of a dance to express the heart of a culture.  --
Copyright (c) 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Here is a late draft of the book jacket text:
Tango.  A multi-dimensional expression of Argentine identity.
Beautiful and inviting, yet sometimes laden with power relations,
the tango has a mesmerizing attraction for dancers and audiences
alike throughout the world. It also speaks to a nation's sense of
disorientation, loss and terror.  In Paper Tangos, Julie Taylor --
a classically trained dancer and anthropologist -- examines the
poetics of the tango while describing her own quest to dance this
most dramatic of paired dances.
Californian by birth, Taylor has lived much of her adult life
in Latin America and has spent years studying the tango in
Buenos Aires, dancing during and after the terror of military
dictatorships.  This book is at once an account of a life
lived crossing the borders of these two complex cultures and an
exploration of the conflicting meanings of tango for women who love
the poetry of its movement yet can feel uneasy with the roles it
bestows on the male and female dancers.  Drawing parallels between
the violences of the Argentine Junta, the play with power inherent
in tango dancing, and her own experiences with violence inside
and outside the intriguing tango culture, Taylor weaves the line
between engaging memoir and insightful cultural critique of both
her home and host cultures.  While situating the tango within the
contexts of its creative birth and contemporary presentations,
this book welcomes us directly into tango subculture and reveals
the ways that personal, political, and historical violences
operate in our lives.

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