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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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Manejame como un auto (Drive Me Like a Car)

Manejame como un auto (Drive Me Like a Car)

(p.82) 4 Manejame como un auto (Drive Me Like a Car)
Tango Nuevo

Carolyn Merritt

University Press of Florida

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

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