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Tango Nuevo$
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Carolyn Merritt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813042190

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813042190.001.0001

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There Is No New Tango

There Is No New Tango

(p.15) 1 There Is No New Tango
Tango Nuevo

Carolyn Merritt

University Press of Florida

Why do dancers in Argentina insist that there is “no such thing as tango nuevo”? How is it that flying limbs, gender-bending, electronica, and bell-bottoms are all cited as evidence of something new outside of Argentina, yet defended as part and parcel of an evolving tradition known simply as tango by young porteños? What does it mean when these same Argentine dancers reluctantly employ the nuevo label to market themselves to foreigners? This chapter introduces the reader to contemporary tango near and far, and to the paradoxical act of labeling an art form whose essence is improvisational movement. Traveling from milongas in the United States to Argentina, this chapter culminates with the horrific nightclub fire that killed 200 residents of Buenos Aires in late 2004, the ensuing shutdown of dance clubs in the Argentine capital, and the period during which the city's prácticas (alternative tango venues hosted and populated by young local and foreign dancers) secured their move from underground to mainstream.

Keywords:   Argentine tango, tango nuevo, dance, anthropology, globalization

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