The Queer Tango Book

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  • 8/19/2019 The Queer Tango Book


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    Colophon and Copyright Statement

    Selection and editorial matter © 2015 Birthe Havmoeller, Ray Batchelor and Olaya AramoWritten materials © 2015 the individual authors All images and artor!s © 2015 the individual artists and "hotogra"hers#

    $his "u%lication is "rotected %y co"yright# A"art &rom any &air dealing &or the "ur"ose o&"rivate research, criticism or revies, no "art o& this te't may %e re"roduced, decom"iled,stored in or introduced into any e%site, or online in&ormation storage, in any &orm or %yany means, hether electronic or mechanical, no !non or hereina&ter invented, ithoutritten "ermission %y the "u%lisher#

    $his "u%lication is (ree and )on *ommercial# When you donload this e+%oo!, you have %een granted the non+e'clusive right to access

    and read the %oo! using any !ind o& e+%oo! reader so&tare and hardare or via "ersonalte't+to+s"eech com"uter systems# ou may also share-distri%ute it &or &ree as long as yougive a""ro"riate credit to the editors and do not modi&y the %oo!# ou may not use thematerials o& this %oo! &or commercial "ur"oses# .& you remi', trans&orm, or %uild u"on thematerials you may )O$ distri%ute the modi&ied material ithout "ermission %y theindividual co"yright holders#

    .SB) /++//02+0+1 3H$46

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    7u%lished9 2015 %y Birthe Havmoeller - :ueertango%oo!#org

    ;+%oo! and cover design © Birthe Havmoeller $e't on the cover is designed ith

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    The Queer Tango BookIdeas, Images and Inspiration in the 21st Century

    ;dited %y Birthe Havmoeller, Ray Batchelor and Olaya Aramo

    In the memory of Ekaterina 'Kot' KhomenkoWe dedicate this work to the dancers who came before us and

    to those who will come after.


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    Foreword and ContributorsThe Queer Tango Book Proect is created by Birthe !a"moeller and this #ublication isedited by Birthe !a"moeller$ %ay Batchelor and &laya ramo.

    4usic and dancing are my &avourite shortcuts to ha""iness# $he :ueer $ango Boo! is ala%our o& love coming &rom my curiosity, love o& dancing tango and urge to e'"lore :ueer$ango as an alternative to the traditional Argentinian tango# The Queer Tango Book  iscreated as a non+"ro&it community "ro?ect# $he ritten and visual materials ere collectedvia an o"en call in 201# $he anthology "resents materials %y social dancers, artists,scholars, teachers and "er&ormers# .t is a cele%ration o& the dance and the groth o& the:ueer $ango communities# $he materials "resented in this "u%lication range &rom essaysto a mani&esto, a "oem, intervies and artists@ statements# $he %oo! also includes"ort&olios o& uniue artor!s "resenting contem"orary :ueer $ango imagery# $he artor!sare inters"ersed throughout the e+%oo!#

    . am tremendously grate&ul to all the %oo!

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    Contents*olo"hon and *o"yright Statement(oreord and *ontri%utors*ontents.ntroduction7rologue 

    $iming the tango JristKn B?arnadttir 

    uc and Bernd A 7hotogra"h4arc ManDoll

    1# What is :ueer $angoP

    $ango :ueer 

    4ariana 8ocam"o:ueer $ango 8ancers in Buenos Aires WatercoloursSusana Romero

    :ueer $ango and $he ;"hemeral A%raDoBirthe Havmoeller 

    :ueer $ango 8ancers 7ort&olioaura Malentino

    2# 8ancing 8i&&erently

    Ho :ueer $ango *hanged 4y i&e Ale' Eastel

    . &olloed &rom the &irst7aul (aireather 

    $or and Hartmut 8raingSusana Romero

    $he 4asochistas o& $ango*arolina 8e Beus

    Straight Women in :ueer $angoSasha *agen and Birthe Havmoeller 3ed#6

    $ango 7ortraits 7hotogra"hs*arlos Blanco

    4y $ale o& :ueer $ango9 )ear and (ar &rom Buenos Aires4iguel Janai


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    ># Rethin!ing the 8ance 

    Ho to :ueer a :ueer $ango9 ueer strategies &or dual role dancersBirthe Havmoeller 

    $rou%ling ;&&ects o& eader-(olloer $erminology

    uliet 4c4ains

    $ango 7ortrait 7hotogra"hSo&Ka Silva

    *oming Out to 8ance9 or getting it straight a re+e'amination o& the relationshi" o&:ueer $ango to the tango mainstreamRay Batchelor 

    :ueer $ango in ondon 7ort&olio8enise e

    :ueer $ango and 4ilonguero $ango9 a re&lective essayEigi Eam%le

    Hilda Hisas9 "astels and an artist statementHilda Hisas

    :ueer *anyengue 4ani&estoOlaya Aramo and BelFn *astellanos

    # 7er&ormance

    $ango *onG(usin turns 10*helsea ;ng

    *ristiano Bramani and Andrea *esarini 7hotogra"hsaura Malentino

    .ntervie ith *laudio EonDaleD9 the e'"eriences and insights o& a "ro&essional :ueer$ango dancer Olaya Aramo

    *on Artist9 "aintings*on Artist

     A Elim"se .nto $he i&e O& A :ueer $ango Addict*on Artist

    $ango (em *reating Eender $rou%le in Rome4ila 4orandi and Eiulia *erulli


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    5# *hanging the World

    :ueer $ango as a &orm o& struggling ith "atriarchal norms + notes on the :ueer $angoin Russia)atalia 4er!ulova

    :ueer $ango 8ancers in Russia 7ort&olio Alice Heigh

    :ueer $ango as a $ool &or *hange9 a case &or the sharing o& insights ith othersRay Batchelor 

     A Women@s $ango Retreat + Breiten%ush Hot S"rings, Oregon, ISAaurie Ann Ereen%erg

    aurie Ann Ereen%erg9 artor!s and artist statementaurie Ann Ereen%erg

    os aureles9 :ueer $ango &or ;veryone in the Barrio de BarracasRay Batchelor and Olaya Aramo

    *lasses %y $ango i%re at os aureles 7hotogra"h;dgardo (ernLndeD Sesma


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    The Queer Tango Book  is a la%our o& love# Our aim in creating it is to share ideas, insightsand stories &rom those dancing :ueer $ango around the orld# .t dras together ritingsand artor!s hich re&lect on, document, critiue and e'"lore this rich and diverse"henomenon# (olloing a call &or contri%utions %y Birthe Havmoeller in 8enmar!, materialas o&&ered# Olaya Aramo in S"ain and Ray Batchelor in ;ngland not only madesu%missions, %ut ?oined Birthe in the or! o& turning all the su%missions into the anthologyhich &ollos# A small, dedicated regiment o& co"y+editors generously su""orted them intheir or!#

    The Queer Tango Book  cannot do everythingC An historical overvie o& the history and "re+history o& :ueer $ango is %eyond the sco"e o& the "resent or! nor do e see! to de&ine:ueer $ango 3although some o& our contri%utors do6, nor is the %oo! %ased on &ormalacademic research# .nstead The Queer Tango Book  has %een conceived o& and created asa community "ro?ect, emerging &rom a glo%al community, ith materials collected via an

    o"en call# i!e the :ueer $ango community itsel&, our a""roach throughout has %eeninclusive# Readers ill notice that there are &ar more contri%utions &rom omen than &rommen# $his has not %een a matter o& editorial "olicy %ut sim"ly a &unction o& the "ro&ile o& thegrou" o& individuals ho o&&ered or! to %e included, hich in turn almost certainly re&lectsthe &act that more omen are active in :ueer $ango than men#

    We "resent a vivid sense o& the diversity o& the "henomenon that is :ueer $ango# .ncludedare "ersonal e'"eriences, o"inion "ieces, re&lective ritings, "olemics, mani&estos and a%ody o& original artor!s &rom dancers, scholars, academics, "er&ormers and artists# $hecontri%utions come &rom many di&&erent "ers"ectives and &rom "eo"le in many di&&erentcountries# $hey range &rom insights &rom those ho are ?ust getting started to the vies o&

    ell+!non &igures in the :ueer $ango community# $here is something &or everyone andmany things &or most#

    We ant to illuminate the richness, com"le'ity and sometimes the contradictions o& :ueer$ango, shoing hat has emerged since it came into %eing in 2000 and hat :ueer $angois li!e no and e ant to ma!e material &reely availa%le to stimulate de%ate, a de%atehich e ho"e ill in&orm ho :ueer $ango develo"s in the &uture and, a%ove all, ho it isdanced# $his is an o"en+ended anthology gathered in 201, edited and "u%lished in 2015#We are giving The Queer Tango Book  aay as an e+%oo! &or &ree# We ant the orld to!no more a%out it#

    $here have alays %een dancers ho have danced the other or %oth roles in tango, %utthe term

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    Second Wave o& Argentinian $ango came to ;uro"e and the IS, the revival o& the traditiono& social tango %eing danced %y male cou"les and &emale cou"les re+emerged# $eacherssym"athetic to &eminism or to the gay and les%ian movement or to the ueer movementsstarted teaching Argentinian tango classes &or les%ian, gay, %ise'ual, transgendered andueer 3EB$:6 "eo"le and their non+EB$: allies#

    The Queer Tango Book  aims to remedy the e&&ects o& an old %ut still active homo"ho%ic"ro?ect o& e'clusion and denial %y "resenting :ueer $ango in multi"le conte'ts# 8oing soyields ne insights into the nature o& the dance itsel $he %oo! also aims to increase"eo"le@s understanding o& the :ueer $ango communities and the Nueer sensi%ilities@ hichare no emerging as Nout and "roud@ social dancing in the 21st century#

    $he "recise meaning o& N$ango@ can %e argued over hoever, the meaning o& N:ueer@ isstill more "ro%lematic and causes con&usion# N:ueer@ means odd, di&&erent and unnatural# .thas "reviously %een used to insult EB$ "eo"le# $he academic term Nueer@ emerged inthe 1//0s out o& the &ields o& omen studies, gay and les%ian studies and gender studies#$he "hiloso"hy o& the Nueer theory@ is attri%uted to American gender theorist udith Butler#

    .t descri%es gender and se'ual identity as something hich is "er&ormed througho%sessively re"eated actions and thus "erceived as a constantT + he is a man, she is aoman + hen actually it is a "henomenon that is %eing "roduced all the time andre"roduced all the time# udith Butler@s claim is that no%ody is a Ngender@ &rom the%eginning# $his "hiloso"hy raised aareness in general and made "eo"le see Nueer@ in adi&&erent light# $he "reviously derogative term %ecame a "o"ular catch+all &or the Nother@,i#e# gays and les%ians, and s"ar!ed the creation o& a ne ueer su%culture# *on&usion"ersists %ecause, in di&&erent conte'ts, all these meanings o& the ord Nueer@ also "ersist#

    4any ueers see se'ual identity as varia%le and &luid# $o them identi&ying as

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    :ueer $ango may still %e ta%oo at some milongas, %ut at least today in many countries it isseen as a real cultural "ossi%ility#

    $he sense o& community and standing together are integral "arts o& hat attracts manydancers to the :ueer $ango communities and &estivals# When 200X dancers &rom all overthe orld meet at the Eala )ight o& the .nternational :ueer$ango+(estival in Berlin,

    JreuD%erg, the community s"irit is overhelming to most &irst+time visitors# Being ithothers ho identi&y as you do is im"ortant to most :ueer $ango enthusiasts# Strength andunity not only in a visual and visi%le sense, %ut also in an emotional one9 the !ic! o& ?oythat you get &rom %eing together ith li!e+minded "eo"le, ho ins"ire your curiosity andma!e you do cool things on the dance &loor# $his is a ay in hich you derive ne senseso& "oer and ?oy, as it allos you to counter the %eing di&&erentT e'"erience in a "ositiveay9 you are %lending in rather than standing out hen you "ractice dancing the Nother@role and dance at a milonga, here you are setting the agenda 3C6#

    :ueer tango dancers are no ta!ing our danceT into mainstream culture, as they resist%eing divorced &rom mainstream tango# We are ha""y to see the "o"ularity o& :ueer

    $ango rise, hen, &or e'am"le, "ro&essional tango teachers "er&orm :ueer $ango,e'changing roles and dancing intercambio ith their colleagues at mainstream tango&estivals# We ho"e this %oo! ill ins"ire "eo"le around the orld to dance :ueer $ango#$he o&&icial e%site o& The Queer Tango Book  + #ueertango%oo!#org  + o&&ersresources a%out :ueer $ango# .t &eatures a %log hich is a video archive ith sam"les o&:ueer $ango "er&ormances %y "ro&essional dancers and %y social dancers and "u%lishesa :ueer $ango nesletter#

    :ueer $ango o&&ers a elcoming environment o"en to all !inds o& dancers# Straight orueer + i& you dance the Nother@ role in tango or e'"eriment ith %oth roles, you ma!e ourhearts singC

    )otes1 htt"9--nuevasmilongueras#&iles#ord"ress#com-2012-01-greetings1#"d& 2 htt"s9--youtu#%e-Boo2A$8c 


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    Timing the tango© JristKn B?arnadttir 

    . ste" into land o& no tomorrosith s!ylineo& endless nohere yesterdays only e'istas an aching %odyor a stolen heart

    Ho yello is the colouro& tangoHo green ho light

    ho heavy %lue or red8oes it matterPHo much o& a rain%ogrey or gay straight or trans

    $rust is hat mattershile rounding movementsJindling em%races and ueering roles4inding consciousness

    %eing aare

    o& &ello cou"les travellinginto moments o& Samenessinto music ma!ing youone ste" closerto the land o& longingloneliness Still

    We are circling the roundsem%racing the sunhile caringistening Y

    4y s"ine mattersmy energy matters myinner "ictures

    our e'citement our calmness our dreamsHo much o& a choreogra"hyP$ango does not caretango is the invisi%le s"ace%eteen us ma!ing "hotoso& togetherness$he tango is ma!ing me u"

    right no


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    &u$ and Bernd ' ! %hotograph© 4arc ManDoll

    (uc and Bernd. ) *arc +an,woll$ -/0


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    1( )hat is Queer Tango*

    Tango Queer © 4ariana 8ocam"o, 2005

    Background1 the statement 2below3 was written in 4#anish in -5 with the #ur#ose ofestablishing the conce#tual basis for what *ariana 6ocam#o was creating1 Tango Queerde Buenos ires. The editors ha"e assisted in re"ising the English "ersion and *ariana6ocam#o has a##ro"ed this new English "ersion of the statement. 7# until -5$ the only"enues that e8isted in Buenos ires were the milonga (a *arsh9ll$ some isolated classesand #racticas for the (:BT #ublic 2#rimarily male3$ and tango classes for women taught by *ariana 6ocam#o in the ;asa del Encuentro 2the oritas$ held in the same #lace. These were theimmediate antecedents of the Tango Queer s#ace? and it was there that they began todiscuss the first ideas that then led to its creation. The term '@ueer' was rarely used in the

    (:BT community at the time$ and was com#letely unknown in the greater tangocommunity of Buenos ires.

    *ariana 6ocam#o is currently A-/5 running Tango Queer *ilonga de Buenos ires.

    1( C+CE%T

    1(1( )hat is Tango Queer*

    $ango :ueer is a tango environment o"en to everyone# .t is a meeting "oint to socialise,e'change, learn and "ractice, here the aim is to e'"lore di&&erent !inds o& communication%eteen dancers o& $ango as a di&&erent ay o& communication#

    .n $ango :ueer no%ody ta!es your se'ual orientation &or granted, nor your choice o& role#

    1(2( )hy was Tango Queer started and what does it propose*

    4any "eo"le &elt the need to create a li%eratedT tango environment, here the rules andcodes o& traditional tango are not ta!en into account and are not there to restraincommunication %eteen "eo"le#

    Our "ro"osal is that $ango should %e danced ithout "re+esta%lished roles attached to thegender o& the dancers# (rom that "oint onards there are ne "ossi%ilities &or dancing#

    2( Q-EE.2(1( /eaning

    $he term

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    :ueer characterises itsel& %y not as!ing or claiming something, %ut ?ust gra%%ing it# .t doesnot negotiate, %ut acts# :ueer is a con&rontational movement, diso%edient, su%versivetoards conservative institutions# .t see!s to create a li%erated environment heresensi%ility can %e develo"ed, a s"ace in hich "eo"le can e'"ress themselves the aythey truly &eel and thus overcome the shame "ro?ected onto them %y reversing the socialorder#

    2(2( Queer Studies

    :ueer is usually associated ith action and cultural and "olitical activism# Hoever, it asa%le to ma!e its ay into the academy through the develo"ment o& ueer theory hich"ro"osed a ne ay o& understanding gender, se'uality, se'ual orientation and genderidentity#

    :ueer theorists argue that identity is alays com"osed o& an in&inite num%er o& elements,such as9 se'ual orientation, class, gender, nationality, age, race, etc# All identities areunsta%le, ar%itrary and e'clusionary constructions# By means o& e'clusion, identities are&ormed as the result o& "oer relations, ith a centre and a "eri"hery#

    $he main aim o& ueer theory is to accom"lish a multidisci"linary a""roach to socialsu%mission and control devices#

    2(0( )hy Tango Queer*

    BecauseYi6 Ising the ord

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    0(2( Tango as a symbol

    0(2(1( 3eterose4ism

    Only i& something has sym%olic re"resentation can it e'istT# Only then can it %erecognised %y society#

    $ango is a "o"ular dance and, li!e any other, it or!s as a mirror &or the society &rom

    hich it emerges and in hich it is develo"ed, in this case the society o& Buenos Aires# But$ango is also a dance that has a strong sensual connotation# Hence this mirror re&lectsnothing %ut the ay our society sees eroticism %eteen its mem%ers# .n the &irst "lace9man+oman then, active+"assive to ell+de&ined, distinct sets o& roles# Such %inaryo""ositions sim"li&y the com"le' erotic %onds that e'ist %eteen individuals# Although it isa model hich re"resents a considera%le ma?ority in our society, it esta%lishes an alloedTay o& &eeling that conditions and censors many other di&&erent ays o& &eeling# $his is"rescri%ed as the model, and all those ho &eel di&&erently are le&t outside o& this model#

    Such social re"resentation e could sym%olically thin! o& as an ;rotic (eeling (ormulaT# According to this &ormula, les%ians, gays, %ise'uals and transgendered "eo"le are notre"resented, nor straight men and omen ho conceive o& eroticism in a di&&erent ay&rom the one this &ormula "rescri%es#

    Hoever, our society is changing, and $ango continues &aith&ully to mirror our society,changing along ith it# .ts scene, its dancing, its "eo"le# .t is this "ossi%ility o& change thato"ens the doors to :ueer $ango#

    0(2(2( )omen

    $hat tango is a macho dance is something that &e ould dis"ute# Without going any&urther, it is &irstly evidenced in ho the roles are designated9 man leads, oman &ollos#

     And although 3in the %est o& cases6 it is true that these roles are meant to %ecom"lementary, there is a nota%le ineuality in ho the roles are related to one another#$he "osition one "erson occu"ies over the other is asymmetric, chie&ly hen the role isnaturallyT ascri%ed according to gender, and does not allo the e'changing o& roles as ano"tion#

    Such ineuality is strictly related to the di&&erence o& !noledge# While the male leader isthe one ho carries most o& the in&ormation in relation to ste"s and movements, the&emale &olloer is taught &rom the %eginning to allo hersel& to %e led# $he "leasure o& thedance increases in direct "ro"ortion to the e'tent to hich the oman "resents less and

    less resistance and the man %ecomes more con&ident# 3.t is even interesting to note thatmost o& the Zli%ertiesZ that omen ta!e, hen dancing, are called ornamentsT#6

     As a result o& this dynamic, a oman ithout a leading man cannot ta!e a single ste"# She%ecomes de"endent on the man &or her movements#

    $his sort o& relationshi" is &ar more evident in the traditional styles such as the

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    What e uestion is not the e'istence o& roles, hich is the "rimary %asis o& the structureo& tango, %ut the ay they are set and identi&ied ith gender, as i& one thing as strictlyrelated to the other#

    Women are usually not illing to lead or suggest a di&&erent role &or themselves ithintango# $his might %e out o& contentment or "erha"s out o& &ear o& u"setting the man#

    )evertheless, ithin the last &e years many omen have a""eared dancing ith otheromen at milongas# $hey do this either %ecause they ant to, or as a &irst ste" tostrengthen their understanding o& the covert !noledge, !e"t a secret &or so long#

    0(2(0( &esbiansOne o& the %iggest struggles &or les%ians as and still is the struggle to %e visi%le that is tosay, &or les%ians to %e socially recognised#

    es%ians have %een erased &rom history and, accustomed to silence or to disguising theirlove and eroticism, "erha"s have made silence their ay o& li&e#

    We have already noted, &or e'am"le, ho roles in $ango are designated, to hich e havegiven the name ;rotic (eeling (ormulaT9 man+leader and oman+&olloer#

    We have already discussed sym%olism in the designation o& the roles and also thede"endence that the oman+&olloer has on the man+leader#

     As a result o& this &ormula, a oman ho chooses another oman as her dance "artnerill &ace a large o%stacle9 neither o& them can lead# $here&ore 3sym%olically s"ea!ing6 itould %e im"ossi%le &or them to dance tango ith one another# Hoever, this does notha""en hen a cou"le o& men try to dance tango together, &or they %oth "lay an activerole#

    $he a%sence o& sym%olic re"resentation in such an idiosyncratic dance li!e $angodemonstrates this social invisi%ility# As a result, &or an anthro"ocentric society li!e ours,les%ianism is something that cannot %e conceived o

    $hat is hy e see the oman+oman &ormula 3the im"ossi%le &ormula in tango6 as themost su%versive one#

    .n order to %ring a%out this im"ossi%le &ormula, it is necessary that at least one o& theomen can lead, so ta!ing u" a di&&erent role or that %oth o& them ta!e on %oth roles

    indistinctly, alloing the "ossi%ility o& e'changing roles#$his not only uestions the structural se'ism o& the dance, %ut also admits the e'"lorationo& $ango through an e'change in hich di&&erence does not im"ly "oer ineuality, %ut ane ay o& communication#

    0(0( Tango 3istory

    0(0(1( /arginality

     All o&&icial stories agree that hen $ango as %orn it as a marginal dance# .t ould %edanced in the su%ur%s here the loer classes 3thugs, com#adritos and "rostitutes6 mi'edith Zrich %oysZ, and together they %egan &orging the &irst moves and e'"loring the

    eroticism o& the dance#


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    $ango as &roned u"on and considered immoral and o%scene %ecause o& its high eroticcontent# And, at the time, it as "ersecuted ith censorshi" and "rohi%ition#So there are three elements that cannot %e le&t out hen tal!ing a%out $ango History9eroticism, marginality and censorshi"# .nvolved ith these elements there are "oerissues o& class, gender and nationality# 3et@s not &orget the dynamic o& dinCmica dedeslumbramiento[1\ still e'isting %eteen Argentinians and &oreigners in the Iniverse o&

    $ango, hich started a&ter the $rium"h in 7arisT#6

     All these elements are not only lin!ed ith the origins o& $ango as a cultural "henomenon,%ut also related to the dee" structure o& the dance# $he attem"t to %lend, aestheticise andnormaliseT the ays o& dancing and the environment here $ango dancing ta!es "lace isa &urther element in the dynamics o& $ango, yet, in s"ite o& all o& this, there is a &ight &orne a""roaches, a""roaches hich match the cultural and social changes o& the dancers#

    0(0(2( .oles

    $here are many studies hich sho that $ango as originally danced among men#Regardless o& the e'"lanation &or this, it shos an interesting element9 the &act that in the

    %eginning $ango as "er&ormed as a "ractice hich is a%stract &rom the gender roleshich are assigned socially# 7ossi%ilities could then %e varied#

    5( 6!CE TEC3IQ-E

    5(1( .ole e4$hange

    :ueer $ango o"ens u" the "ossi%ility &or the "eo"le ho dance tango &reely to choose therole they ant to ta!e u" and hat gender they "re&er to dance ith# $o ena%le "eo"le todance in this ay, dancers are taught to e'change roles# $his means everyone learns tolead and to &ollo# 8ancers can choose either role hen dancing or to e'change roles,de"ending on the "erson they are dancing ith and the moment they decide to do so#

    $his techniue allos the dynamics to %e e'"lored in a more eual relationshi"# Here, thesym%olic "oer, &ormerly ascri%ed to the leading role, vanishes hen %oth "eo"le can ta!eu" either role#

    7( ITE.!TI+!& ET)+.87(1( Feedba$kWe !no that, &or an idea to &lourish, %oth a &lo o& "eo"le and an e'change o& ideas arenecessary# $he idea is to create a communication netor! %eteen "eo"le in di&&erentcountries ho are or!ing ith the same outloo!#

    7(2( Ba$kground

    (eminism and ueer studies have %egun their theoretical and "olitical activism in othercountries# $his is ins"iring and motivating our actions in Argentina#

    With regards to :ueer $ango e can mention to historical &acts hich serve as the&oundations &or our actions9

    i6 $he .nternational :ueer $ango (estival in Ham%urg hich has %een organised everyyear since 2000 in Eermany# .ts &ounders ere the &irst to use the term

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    conclusions ever made a%out the gender tensions that e'ist in tango, understanding tangoas a cultural "henomenon#

    9( !CTI:ITIES

    9(1( Tango $lasses

    :ueer $ango classes are o"en to anyone, regardless o& se'ual orientation, race, social

    class or nationality# $he idea is &reely to &ind a dance "artner and choose the role you antto learn# Both roles leading and &olloing are taught in our classes &rom the &irst ste"s#$his methodology allos ne ays o& e'"loring the "ossi%ilities ithin the dance#

    9(2( /ilonga

    4ilonga $ango :ueer is o"en to anyone regardless o& se'ual identity, race, social class ornationality# .t is a meeting "oint, a s"ace in hich to socialise and e'change ideas, hereeveryone can &reely choose their dance "artners and the role they ant to dance#

    9(0( %romoting artisti$ e4pressions related to Queer Tango photography, paintings,

    drawings, s$ulptures, $omi$s, $ari$atures, mo#ies, theatre and fileteado graphi$ art

    $he &act that e do not have many artistic e'"ressions shoing $ango %eteen omenand %eteen men or the a""earance o& transvestites in $ango "roves the historicalsu""ression o& such "ractices or the silenced circumstances in hich they might haveoccurred#

    Jnoing the im"ortance o& art9 /+>/0>>54ilonga $ango :ueer + htt"9--#tangoueer#com


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    Queer Tango 6an$ers in Buenos !ires ' )ater$olours© Susana Romero

    4oledad y FuyG. ) 4usana %omero


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    Elos$ los #rimeros. ) 4usana %omero


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    ;oncurso. ) 4usana %omero


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    Queer Tango and The Ephemeral !bra

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    almost meditative tango co+im"rovisations# And the more it changes our lives, the more ?oy&ul the e'"erienceC $his dance is all+consuming#

    $ime and again e recreate the sensuality o& the Argentinian tango traditions, hen

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    the %oundaries %eteen the se'ual categories %y asserting that gender identity, gendere'"ression and se'ual orientation are &luid "ractices#

    Tango Is So 3ot !nd Se4y>

    $here are no

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    other role ill ma!e you a %etter dancer, even i& you decide only to s"ecialise in one o& theroles# $a!ing u" dancing :ueer $ango on a regular %asis ill o"en your eyes and heart toonder&ully creative "eo"le# Brave dancers, ho are illing to share their musicality andcreativity ith you, hen you let go, share the leader+ or &olloershi" o& the dance andstart co+creating ith them# $his is the amaDing gi&t hich the creators o& the conce"t o&:ueer $ango are trying to ma!e all o& us see, cherish and love#


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    Queer Tango 6an$ers ' %ort"olio© aura Malentino

    Photogra#her (aura +alentino has #hotogra#hed Queer Tango dancers$ documenting thedancers and the milongas of different Queer Tango festi"als in orthern Euro#e amongothers The International Queer Tango Hesti"al in 4tockholm organi,ed by ;harlotte

    %i"ero$ Tango"erkstan %oles in *otion and the International QueerTangoJHesti"al inBerlin organised by strid Weiske.

    © (aura +alentino


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    © (aura +alentino


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    © (aura +alentino


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    © (aura +alentino


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    2( 6an$ing 6i""erently

    3ow Queer Tango Changed /y &i"e© Ale' Eastel

    $ango is more than a dance# .t@s a li&estyle, a "hiloso"hy and a state o& mind# $angoliterally changed my hole li&e + or, to %e "recise, one &orm o& the dance did so# .t allstarted hen . visited a :ueer $ango or!sho"###

    I am a Tra#eler 

    .n 2012, at their milonga venue, $ango Ocho organiDed the &irst :ueer $ango (estival inStuttgart# .t as my &irst ueer milonga ever, and the &irst ueer or!sho"s .@d attended#$he hole &estival ?ust %le my mind9 euality as suddenly a "ossi%ility in this dance#

     At the milonga . &elt li!e . had %een tra""ed &or a long time, and as no &reed &or one

    evening# As you might !no, Nueer@ means something outside o& the norm, somethingrare, %ut this &elt li!e the o""osite# .t &elt normal and sane# Here "eo"le o& all genders eredancing ith each other, ?ust one human %eing ith another human %eing#

     At all the other "laces there as this eird thing going on + every dancer %elonged in oneo& to grou"s and the grou"s %ehaved com"letely di&&erent &rom each otherC $hey dresseddistinctly, so one could easily recogniDe to hich grou" a "erson %elonged, and almost all"eo"le o& the one grou" e'clusively &olloed, and almost all o& the other grou" e'clusivelyled# $he really craDy thingP $hey couldn@t choose hich grou" they ant to %elong to#.nstead, it as determined %y gender, hether they had a "enis or a vagina# $his didn@tsound normal to meY

    4y &eelings o& ae ere rein&orced at the or!sho" the ne't day# $he teachers ere*ristian 4i]o and (ernando Eracia# $hey "ro"osed to a%andon roles com"letely andinstead to have %oth "artners give im"ulses and to create a &lo o& energy out o& theseim"ulses# (or me, this or!sho" as one very long o+moment# A&terards, my "artnerand . ere driving home through heavy rain# . %ro!e our stunned silence and said9 Z. antto chuc! everything and go to Buenos Aires to dance $angoCZ

     Although e ere ise enough to ait a year, and &inish our university studies, e did &lyto Buenos Aires# Here in BA e started &reelancing, discovered a di&&erent li&estyle andchanged all our "lans &or the &uture# )o 7h8s, no careers in science# .nstead9 living a &reeli&e, traveling and dancing through the orld#

    ou might onder hy $ango alone as not enough to %ring me to this decisionP Here

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    terms &or tango# .t as alays Zmen have to do this and omen have to do that#T .& youdidn# 4y

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    . am "anse'ual, hich means that . am attracted to "ersons regardless o& their se' orgender 3. "re&er this term to %ise'ual as it doesn

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    &ully disintegrate the to roles, i& you ant to, and since then, my anser to the uestion

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    I "ollowed "rom the "irst© 7aul (aireather 

    .t started hen a Eerman les%ian &riend o& mine living in 4anchester too! me to a milongaand said have a go# She had %een dancing a long time and led as ell as &olloed# oucan@t really have a go as a leader, %ut as a &olloer ith an e'"erienced leader you can

    have a reasona%le dance &rom the start#

    . as immediately hoo!ed# . thin! it as the &act that it as a com"letely im"rovised danceand that . loved the music and the sense o& connection that you can get#

    What ha""ened ne't as that . realised that Ray Batchelor, the gay "artner o& a &riend o&mine &rom college, as a tango dancer and over the ne't year, henever . as in ondon,e danced# With some im"rom"tu lessons on the dining room &loor and much "atience onhis "art, e ent to a num%er o& milongas in ondon# He led and . &olloed# $hen ina%out 200 . sensed it as very unusual &or to men to dance together and es"ecially&or a man only to %e a%le to &ollo# $here as much loo!ing at Q

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    anyhere and dance ith homever . choose rather than only %eing a%le to dance incertain "laces#

    . li!e %eing more inventive no and more a%le to inter"ret the music# . li!e %eing an active&olloer and decorating in %oth roles# $he moments o& an e'cellent, magical connectionli&ts you to a di&&erent "lace#


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    The /aso$histas o" Tango© *arolina 8e Beus# $ranslated &rom 8utch %y ;ls?e *laessens#

    $o me, tango seemed li!e an enormous amusement "ar! &or leaders# All they have to do isthe ca%eceo and the ladies go yes, . doCT# 7&&tC

     As . rite this, . realise ho am%iguous things have %ecome &or me since . started leading#

    ;ight years ago in 200Q . started to dance tango, thin!ing it really ouldn@t %e my !ind o&thing#But hen . did it anyay, . as hoo!ed#

     Almost all my &emale &riends did it#But . stuc! to my guns %ecause . !ne . couldn@t let mysel& %e led# .t@s contrary to mynature#4oreover, every 4onday night, a&ter yoga, . had to listen to all my &riends@ stories a%outtheir dread&ul ee!end at the tango salons they called Nmilongas@#

    Ho they des"erately ondered hy they had not %een as!ed %y this or that man eventhough last time they had danced together so onder&ully#

    . as &ed u" ith the tragic, almost "athetic all&loer stories o& these &riends ho allconsidered themselves a&ully good tangueras#So . came nohere near tango#

    Intil one sensual summer night a man in the street convinced me#He sa me and as!ed i& . as a tanguera#)oT, . &irmly ansered# A%solutely notCTHe literally dragged me along to an o"en air salon on the %an!s o& the Schelde#$he most %eauti&ul location imagina%le# And the music that . had loved &or so many yearsC All these "eo"le ho danced togetherso serenelyC And so many o& themC . didn@t !no this e'isted# A ne orld o"ened u" &or me#. anted to sit on the &ence &or a hile, %ut my com"anion ouldn@t allo it#He immediately too! my hand and "ulled me to the dance &loor# And a good thing it as# Otherise . never ould have ta!en the chance#

    . %elieve he taught me the %asic ste"s hile dancing# $o %e honest, . don@t remem%eranything, e'ce"t that it as sim"ly grandC

    . came home a&ter midnight &eeling one hundred "ercent li!e a oman#. had %een the centre o& attention o& a man all night long# He had held me in his arms andcherished me# Eiven me trust and trusted me# And all this, ithout ords# . a%solutelyanted to learn ho to dance tango# Sure enough, %ecause this as the missing "art o&me#

    But that@s here the trou%le starts#ou have to &ind a "artner &or classes# And then you lose him# And then you &ind another one and so on and so onY $he hole ca%oodle#. don@t li!e this ca%oodle#

    So hen, a&ter a year, . had to &ind a ne leader and had three &riends ho anted to start


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    o&& in tango and ere also loo!ing &or a leader, . set mysel& u" as a leader and as!ed thenicest and seetest one o& them#But let me tell you, omen are no ?o!eC $hey come late &or classes and hile you arestam"ing ith im"atience to get started, they still have to "ut on their shoes and tell you alla%out their trou%led love li&e#Only toards the end e got %ac! to the connection e had at the end o& the "revious

    lesson# .t didn@t get us anyhere#

     Also, this one dance "artner rarely ever ent to a milonga# And hen . did, . as so&ocused on hoo!ing a nice leader &or a tanda that . seemed to &orget that . as learning to%e a leader mysel

    4ost o& all, . didn@t ant to miss out on a single milonga dance#$he lady ne't to me as in the same situation# She said9 .& . as a%le to lead, .@d as! youright aayCT$hat as my a!e+u" call# . ?um"ed to my &eet cheering9 Oh, %ut . can lead youCT

    .n my o"inion milongas are easy# .t@s nice and &ast so you don@t have a "ro%lem staying inyour a'is and you don@t have time to thin!# $he thin!ing %loc!s my creativity#

    .t as so much &un that since then, henever . hear a milonga . immediately ?um" &rom myseat and as! some nice lady to dance#

    . derived advantage &rom the &act that . had already made &riends ith a lot o& omen inthe tango orld hom . could easily as!#But it as milonga and nothing %ut milonga#

    Intil they "layed a altD and a lady as!ed me#

    . have to say . don@t li!e %eing as!ed as a leader, %ut this lady as an e'ce"tionally gooddancer# )oT, . !indly told her# . don@t !no ho to altD#TBut i& you can dance a milonga, surely you can altD tooCT she ansered# ou ?ust haveto ma!e a &e more turns, that@s all#TWe did it and loo!, my cold &eet &or altDes turned armC

     A&ter &our years o& tango dancing . met a man ith hom . hit it o&& in almost every as"ecto& our lives#His leading as heaven on earth &or me, so . uic!ly &orgot that . anted to lead too#

     But hen he told me he had registered &or a series o& men@s techniue classes, . &elte'tremely ?ealous#;nvy is alays a good signal to me# .t ma!es me aare o& my on unconscious desires#So . uic!ly registered &or the men@s techniue classes too# And it as a revelation#4y "artner and . then started to alternately lead and &ollo and that@s hat . a%solutely li!e%est#

    But, li!e everything %eauti&ul, this "artner too didn@t last#He did grant me something though#Erie&, o& course, %ut also the urge to start ta!ing my leadershi" seriously#


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    $o %e com"letely honest, . didn@t &eel li!e dancing ith another man-leader# (rom no on, .anted to %e in command#

    . then hesitatingly too! the ste" toards dancing tango, de"ending on the orchestra#

    . &elt most at ease ith Biagi# Mivacious, ith a solid and e'"licit rhythm#Soon . started to li!e 8onato, (resedo and *alo# (olloed %y many other orchestras# But

    as a leader . re&rained &rom leading 8i Sarli and certainly &rom 7ugliese# . only anted to%e a &olloer ith these maestros#

    . started ta!ing ee!ly lessons again and attended a lot o& or!sho"s#$he &unny thing is that you then discover that it@s not all that easy &or a leader to &ind agood &olloerCBut, as a leader, it does &eel a lot easier and more natural to as! a &olloer then the otheray around# As!ing a man i& he@s illing to ta!e classes ith you is li!e %egging# i!e%eing de"endent# Being the one to as!, as a leader, ?ust &eels right#What . do is . ma!e a ish list, a !ind o& Nto" ten@ o& the "eo"le . ould li!e to ta!e classesith# And .@m not a&raid to as! the %est and most %eauti&ul tangueras#

    $hey@re all "leased %y my reuest %ecause everyone en?oys %eing as!ed#

    . remem%er starting a or!sho" in Amsterdam ith a &riend ith an 1+year dancinge'"erience, and all o& a sudden . as totally tensed u"#Where had . &ound the guts to as! herP Why did she acce"t my invitationP *ould . live u"to her e'"ectationsPBut .@m a &ast learner and e also ?ust had a very "leasant ee!end in Amsterdam# $hat@sorth a good deal#

    . started attending :ueer $ango &estivals# ust on my on# Jnoing no one# And it turnedout everyone else did !no each other# .t &elt li!e one %ig ueer reunion# And . &elt li!e an outsider, not yet accustomed to the non+e'istence o& rules#

    $he &irst evening . as!ed omen to dance, %ut not men# ;ven though . love to lead a manho@s illing to &ollo me#Only on the last day o& the &estival . understood9 in :ueer $ango you can sim"ly as!someone and hen you get to the dance &loor you %oth decide hich one o& you ill leador &ollo# .sn@t that greatP

    .@m not stuc! in the :ueer $ango environment though# But . alays centre my holidaysaround a tango &estival or encuentro 3ueer or mainstream6#

    Being single, it@s alays hard to &ind a single room# All the o&&ers are &or to "eo"le andsingles o&ten get charged 100^ e'tra# But eventually .@ll alays &ind a reasona%ly "riceddeal, and hen . also manage to &ind a chea" &light, .@ll register &or the event#.magine my sur"rise hen . had to &ill out my 3non+e'isting6 "artner

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    to &ind a male "artner hen the main reason hy . started leading is to %ecomeinde"endent o& male leaders#

    ou try your %est to %ecome an agreea%le leader and then it turns out it is still a%out agender %alance instead o& a %alance in leaders and &olloers#. &elt li!e re"lying that un&ortunately the hormone "rescri"tions had &ailed and that . as

    reluctant to undergo surgery#

    $hese "ast &e years .@ve led more than .@ve &olloed at the milongas#(or more than one reason#$he &irst reason is a very rational and "lausi%le one#. sim"ly have to gain a lot o& mileage as a leader#

    $he second reason is actually the result o& the mileage . gained9 the more you "ractice, the%etter you get and the more &un the leading %ecomes, ma!ing it easier to &ind nice&olloers#

     And o& course . love %eing the one to initially inter"ret the music# And i& my &olloer doesthe same, it@s a &east#

    4ost o& all . no longer e'"erience the tension o& %eing as!ed yes or no#)o more &ear o& not or %arely getting a loo! in# . can alays dance#.n o"en roles#.t ma!es me inde"endent and . love it &or that# .& . don@t dance, it@s my on choice#4y leadershi" has li%erated me# . dance %ecause the music as!s me to and &or no otherreason#

    But last %ut not least the main reason is that at the milongas the &olloers almost alaysoutnum%er the leaders# And in terms o& uality good &olloers also outnum%er goodleaders#

    So i& . can choose %eteen a great dancer ho ould %e all too ha""y to &ollo me or anot+so+musically+talented leader ho ants to "ractice some seuences and ste"s ithme, my choice is easily made#

    .n the 3ego6 leader cam" . do detect a ell hidden conviction that .@m running ith the hareand hunting ith the hounds#

     And . admit9 . do#With a lot o& "leasure#

    This is a man's world$ this is a man's world But it wouldn't be nothing$ nothing without a woman or a girl. J ames Brown


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    Straight )omen in Queer Tango© Sasha *agen and Birthe Havmoeller 3ed#6

    4asha ;agen in con"ersation with !elen (a +ikinga at The Lrd 4an HranciscoInternational Queer Tango Hesti"al in ;alifornia$ une -//$ e8cer#t of the "ideo inter"iew1Idea;hat-1 4traight Women in Queer Tango with !elen (a +ikinga.[1\

    Sasha9 Helen a Mi!inga is an amaDing .celandic dancer, ho teaches tango in Buenos Aires# She is here in San (rancisco &or the .nternational :ueer $ango (estival# We had agreat conversation yesterday a%out :ueer $ango and ho it is di&&erent than hat .thought# And . &eel that this ould %e a cool theme &or a second .dea*hat# Basically ?ust to!ic! it o&&, . thought :ueer $ango as &or "eo"le, ho have same se' se'uality, %ut itseems li!e it is so much more, as . am discovering no &rom this &estival# What is :ueer$ango &or you, Helen, and ho did you get involved in itP

    3elen9 :ueer $ango is, es"ecially &or me, hen the roles [in tango\ are not de"ending on

    se' nor se'uality# Because in traditional tango there is a man, a straight guy leading astraight oman# $he oman is a

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    3elen9 . &eel that . as a "erson that !no the milongas very ell and their atmos"heres, .&eel it more rela'ed going to alternative milongas li!e a gay milonga, than to totallytraditional authentic milongas# $here [at the gay milonga\ . &eel that the "eo"le go more ?ust &or dancing# $hey are not there to &ind some%ody to date or &or having se'# $hey are ?ust there to dance at the ueer milongas#

    Sasha9 ;ven at the traditional milongas they try to &ind another manP

    3elen9 . am sure that [all\ "laces here to "ersons meet, i& there is something %eteen aman or a oman or %eteen to gay "ersons, that is o& course not rong either, %utmay%e the "ur"ose &or going there as not to &ind some%ody to slee" ith# . &eel9 the"ur"ose &or going there is to dance and i& something ha""ens, that is ?ust &unC While o&tenin the &ancy milongas it is o&ten a hard com"etition [%eteen the omen\# $here are lots o&young girls and &oreign omen, ho are also coming over# And the guys they are not somany so they can choose &rom all this crod o& omen# 3###6 All the Argentine omena%ove 5 don

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    3elen9 . thin! in general that it is more common outside Buenos Aires, es"ecially in thenorth o& ;uro"e# )ot the south o& ;uro"e %ut in the north o& ;uro"e it is uite common tohave guys, ho are dancing together# $o straight guys ho are dancing together ?usttrying %oth roles and so on### And as . said %e&ore, lots o& omen are leading and someomen are really good leaders#

    Sasha9 What are the ualities o& a oman leader that are di&&erent than a man leaderP

    3elen9 . thin! omen leaders o&ten are more sensitive and more so&t in their leading#Sometimes it is negative, %ecause they need more "oer, &orce and sta%ility and at thesame time they have more &eelings### $hey can imagine %etter ho it is &or the &olloer#Why o&ten guys, they are ?ust leading and not thin!ing a%out ho it is to %e a &olloer# Sohen . dance ith a oman leader it is o&ten a little %it more sensitive, more so&t# 4ye'"erience, as a teacher, is that many omen, they are really &ast to learn to lead# 4uchmore sur"risingly &ast#

    Sasha9 Are those omen, ho have &olloed &or a hile alreadyP

    3elen9 es, o& course, lots o& them# )ot all o& them# .t is may%e %ecause they have alreadysome %ody aareness# $hey are doing other things, yoga and other dances, etc# .t hassur"rised me sometimes, hen . am or!ing# Sometimes . am or!ing ith straight"artners or gay "artners# . remem%er one o& them, ho as not used to the :ueer $ango,%ut he or!ed ith me in a :ueer &estival# He as totally sur"rised at ho &ast the omenere learning# At the &irst class the omen ere already leading# [He said9\ Z.t ould ta!eus months and years to learn to lead, and they are already leadingCZ He as muchsur"rised# + So it is not only me#

    Sasha9 .t is %asically a truism, that it is so much harder to lead, than to &ollo or to learnsomething# $hat is interesting#

    3elen9 .t is a generaliDation, %ut may%e that is to do ith omen are o&ten more ca"a%le atdoing more things at the same time#

    Sasha9 4ultitas!ing#

    3elen9 4ay%e it is that they are more used to li!e doing lots o& things# She can lead andthin! a%out some%ody %ehind ### and at the same time thin! a%out ho it is &or the &olloer#.& . do this ill that then a&&ect her# On the other side, men, they get more technical# .t is li!e

    some ZmotorZ or ZengineZ that they are studying# + . don

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    have\# .t is a di&&erent energy also# . love to loo! at to guys dancing together# .t is adi&&erent energy %eteen them and it is usually not this

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    Tango %ortraits ' %hotographs© *arlos Blanco

    !elen (a +ikinga and :lenda 4alas. ) ;arlos Blanco

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    4olomon. ) ;arlos Blanco

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    /y Tale o" Queer Tango ear and Far "rom Buenos !ires© 4iguel Janai, 4iami, ISA, 201

    $his essay is a modi&ied e'cer"t &rom ZBuenos Aires Beyond 3Homo6se'ualiDed Ir%an;ntre"reneurialism9 $he Eeogra"hies o& :ueered $angoZ, a "eer+revieed article&orthcoming ith nti#ode %adical ournal of :eogra#hy # 7lease consult the original

    &or re&erences and citations#

    . am a social scientist and academic geogra"her studying the rhythm o& change in theorld@s cities# Originally &rom Buenos Aires %ut educated and living in the Inited States, .have s"ent the "ast decade trying to ma!e sense o& the ur%an landsca"e that emerged inBuenos Aires a&ter the neoli%eral %arrage o& the 1//0s and the dramatic colla"se o& the Argentine economy in 2001# *haos and destitution seemed to %e s"reading everyherethen to an e'tent never seen even in the trou%led recent history o& Argentina#

    8es"ite ma?or shi&ts that have ta!en "lace at the national level in terms o& economic andsocial "olicy since the recovery o& the early 2000s, neoli%eral &orms o& governing are alive

    and ell, "articularly in the discourse and "u%lic actions ta!en in the contentious realm o&ur%an redevelo"ment# $he "erennial uestions remain9 hat is the city %eing remade &orPWho it is su""osed to serveP *learly, mar!et logics and cor"oratiDed &orms o& "oer areno much more o"enly, and at times success&ully, contested than they ere in the heydayo& "lanning as Nreal+estate deal+ma!ing@ o& the late tentieth century# But %ecause o& thisneoli%eral ur%anism has mutated too9 it has %ecome more re&ined in its governmentaldiscourse and su%tle in its areas o& intervention# One o& these areas is cultural "olicy, norede&ined as a vehicle at the service o& city+ and neigh%orhood+mar!eting#

    3ow does this relate to Queer Tango in Buenos !ires*

    et us %egin ith tango itsel Since the mid+2000s, each time . visited the city . haveencountered more venues turned to the tango economy# $hese included e'clusively+dedicated e'hi%ition halls, @%outiue hotels@, s"ecialty sho"s, "ricy ca&Fs decorated ithnostalgia and even themed city uarters, li!e the area around the A%asto mar!etre%randed as Nel barrio de ;arlos :ardel @#

    $hat is hy . %egan develo"ing research uestions on the layers o& neoli%eral ur%anism inthis cons"icuous tango %oom and the %roader im"lications o& the "roduction o& aN8isneyland o& tango@ on the social and s"atial dynamics o& the ur%an &a%ric# What did thismar!et a""ro"riation o& Buenos Aires@ most characteristic artistic genre and culturaltradition mean &or the cityP Besides revieing governmental and media re"orts as ell as

    the literature on the to"ic, . thought . ould learn directly &rom the "eo"le involved,o""ortunistically honing my dancing s!ills hile . o%served hat is going on# et myteenage memories o& Buenos Aires in the 1/0s and 0s led me to sus"ect that this ouldnot %e a "leasant e'"erience# . had tried tango lessons %rie&ly %e&ore leaving to studya%road# Would . have to "ut mysel& through a rigidly+gendered disci"lineP . did notsu%scri%e to it %ac! then and could certainly do ithout it no# . am generally le&t in "eaceto %e a se'ual dissident in American academia, ith its "ro&essed love o& diversity andtolerance &or su%?ects li!e me9 an unmarried and childless 3gay6 male in his early &orties asa colleague once reminded me hile discussing my or! load and course scheduling#$hen it daned on me9 arising out o& the creative e'"losion that had ta!en "lace in the2000s, . could no learn tango ithout sti&ling my se'ual sel

     And so my engagement ith Buenos Aires@ ueer tango movement and gay milongas%egan# ;ven though they may a""ear to %e a s"ecialiDed "art o& hat "eo"le in Buenos


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    o& glo%aliDed cultural scenes in the South %eteen ealthy &oreigners engaging inNe'"eriential@ edi&ication and Ne'"loited locals@ servicing them does not readily a""ly toueered tango in Buenos Aires# $he "icture is more com"le'# $hose involved in :ueer$ango %ring to it a mi' o& su%?ective sensi%ilities in&ormed %y di&&ering degrees o& glo%almo%ility, o& "ersonal &reedom and %y the e&&ects o& com"le' lives lived %oth in and aay&rom Buenos Aires# Besides occasional tourists, non+resident dancers include tango lovers

    ho visit the city re"eatedly almost ith the religiosity o& a "ilgrim as ell as long+terme'"ats, ho have made the city their home and are not alays em"loyees o& transnationalcor"orations or have high+"aying ?o%s in creative industries . even met some arrivinge'hausted to the night milonga a&ter to day ?o%s, %ut still ready to tango#

    (urthermore, . got to !no several Argentine FmigrFs li!e mysel&, ho visit intermittently#.n our conversations, in hich e "rided ourselves &or not having lost our accents one %it,e recogniDed the &act that e ere sometimes mista!en &or &oreigners %ecause o& ouracuired manners and clothing &urthermore the &act that . currently reside in 4iamima!es me the su%?ect o& all !inds o& %ling+%ling stereoty"es given the "redilection o&nely+rich Argentines &or the city# et . came to the conclusion that . had something in

    common ith several other emigrees9 our investment in the a&&ective environment o& tangore&lects our a&&inity ith the city and its "eo"le ith hom e share a %iogra"hical "ast,rather than a conte'tual "resent, since the "resent is mediated %y careers "ursueda%road, as ell as the various &orms o& e'ile that many Argentines have e'"erienced sincethe 1/0s# $hus, ueer tango o&&ers se'ual minorities in the dias"ora an additionalo""ortunity &or sym%olic %elonging and instantiated 3in &act &ull+on cor"oreal6 engagement#4ore generally es"ecially &or those living glo%aliDed ueer lives in multi"le and distantNheres@ and Ntheres@ the Nnear and &ar@ hich is central to this account#

    $ango netor!s o&&er a "lethora o& hat academics call Nsocial ties@# $hese &los o&in&ormation, colla%oration and occasional assistance are not limited to material "ro%lem+solving vis+_+vis the challenges o& South+)orth migration# $hey also &acilitate trans+local&riendshi"s, romantic entanglements and domestic commitments across geogra"hicdistances, as ell as hel"ing individuals to come to terms ith coming %ac! home or tosim"ly staying connected to their roots#

    Queer Tango a$ti#ism in Buenos !ires

    But . ould li!e to add that this solidarity e'tends %eyond "ro&essional connections amongdancers and trans+local inter+"ersonal netor!s# (or e'am"le, ;dgardo (ernLndeDSesma, a long+standing gay activist hom . o&ten met at milongas, regards tango as acultural resource through hich to call attention to homo"ho%ia orldide, &rom his

    decidedly Argentine "ers"ective# .n 4ay 201>, on the .nternational 8ay AgainstHomo"ho%ia, ;dgardo coordinated a &lash mo% at 7laDa de 4ayo, the most "olitically+sym%olic "u%lic suare in the country# $he event, NIn tango contra la homo&o%ia@ 3

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    One o& the classes ;dgardo teaches at Sociedad de .ntegracin Eay Fs%ica Argentina orS.EA 3the Argentine Society &or Eay and es%ian .ntegration6 is one o& the most inclusiveand o"en :ueer $ango "ractices in Buenos Aires# ocated southest o& the center, in7arue *haca%uco, S.EA is more accessi%le &or dancers coming &rom the greatermetro"olitan area than city center activities# Sunday a&ternoons or! ell &or those hoor! long hours 4onday + (riday, and the loosely+en&orced Na la gorra@ 3"ass+the+hat6

    "ayment system does not e'clude those short o& cash# While there, . danced ith severalmale+to+&emale transgender "eo"le ho let me !no that they ould only &ollo, ?ust incase#

    ;dgardo told me that his &irst "riority is integration through tango and that he is aare that,&or some o& his students, S.EA is the only a&&orda%le and elcoming s"ace &or them todance in# S.EA lac!s "ro"er &looring and has no air conditioning# Built underneath ahighay over"ass, it is not "retty# But it is economical# S.EA is housed in a multi+"ur"osecom"le', %uilt %y a "revious munici"al administration, to "rovide a&&orda%le s"ace &or non+governmental organiDations in the city@s otherise overheated real estate mar!et# At ourlast intervie, ;dgardo mentioned that S.EA@s ne't challenge ill %e to integrate the local

    community and "articularly local senior citiDens o& all se'ual orientations, ho anta&&orda%le tango lessons# $he grou"@s ueerness is only one o& the challenges they &ace#;dgardo also &ound that younger students ere averse to "racticing ith older dancers,ho learn more sloly#

    . ho"e . have "rovided you ith a glim"se o& the contested terrains here tangoing ta!es"lace in Buenos Aires, %eyond the %etter+!non dance halls and glamoriDed touristcircuits# As &or mysel&, hen . o"en my arms to tango ueerly, . em%race not ?ust gender+%ending and se'ual &reedom, %ut also the yearning &or a more inclusive society not ?ust inBuenos Aires %ut throughout cities in our small orld#

    *ome along# et@s dance together#


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    0( .ethinking the 6an$e

    3ow to Queer a Queer Tango ;ueer strategies "or dual role dan$ers© Birthe Havmoeller 

     Argentinian $ango is evolving# N:ueer $ango@ is one o& the cutting+edge "henomena o&tango in the 21st century# 8ual role social dancers have %een organising international:ueer $ango &estivals around the orld since 2001, sharing their insights# $his "ooling o&creative ideas along ith the or! o& some dedicated tango teachers, each ith a circle o&students, are &orming the ne school o& :ueer $ango aesthetics#

    N:ueer $ango@ is a social "henomenon, an e'"erimental s"ace and a modern internationaltango style coming into %eing, ins"ired %y the "hiloso"hy o& the ueer theory, the oralhistory o& dancers dancing %oth roles in the Argentine tango tradition and the need &orNsa&e@ milongas here EB$: "eo"le set the agendas# :ueer $ango is indeed in&ormed %y

    the li&estyles and values o& EB$: "eo"le9 e are here, e are ueerC And e Nueer@ ourtangosC

    $he creative, &luid and im"rovisational nature o& the :ueer $ango dance style and"hiloso"hy ma!e it di&&icult to de&ine the dance# $he moment e claim to have seen thetruth and made a de&inition, e@ll see dancers "ushing the %orders o& :ueer $ango, turningit into something ne and even more e'citing#

    The 6ual .ole 6an$ers

    $he ne dual role dancers in :ueer $ango are straight and ueer "eo"le, ho "racticedancing %oth roles in tango# $he social "henomenon o& :ueer $ango is a%out the intense

    e'"erience homing in ith the music, %eing there, "resent ith your dance "artner atmainstream or ueer milongas# We are out and "roud, and have claimed the &reedom todance ith hom e "lease#

    $he milonga e'"erience o& the dual role dancers is li!e a

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    .n tango e o&&er our heart-chests-%reasts to each other hen e dance# $he abra,o J aclosed em%race or an o"en em%race + must %e yummyC $he uality o& the dance is alaysmeasured in the uality o& the em%race i#e# i& the &ull attention and the

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    $he :ueer $ango community and the ne dance style o& :ueer $ango ith &luid, o"enroles and a mutual res"onsi%ility &or im"rovising are an antidote to traditional gender rolesand division o& la%our and "oer in mainstream tango# :ueer $ango is the latest in a longhistory o& tango styles# i!e all other tango styles it has its di&&erences and similarities totraditional tango# And true to the im"rovisational nature o& tango, ho &ar aay &rom theoriginal tango each dual role dancer ill ta!e his-her-their dance it may di&&er a lot#

    3ow to ?Queer@ a Tango*

    $he general notion is that %oth dancers must "ractice %oth roles in tango in order to %ea%le to dance a N:ueer $ango@# When dancing a :ueer $ango the dual role dancers must%e a%le to hold the mentality o& %eing a leader and a &olloer at the same time9 they leadhile &olloing and &ollo hile leadingC :ueer $ango 3the dance style6 is not de&ined %yEB$: gender e'"eriments, e'"ressions or the "re&erences o& the dancers, though elove our community so much that e nurture the truism that everything associated ith thiscommunity is @:ueer $ango@#

    $he Argentinian tango "racticed and "romoted %y the EB$:-:ueer $ango communities

    as an o"en role tango "ractice &or straight-mi'ed cou"les or same+se' cou"les isassociated ith "ride and ueer "olitical aareness among the ueer tanguero-as aroundthe orld# 8ancing a role in tango, hich does not align ith your gender is still socontroversial a "ractice that e o&ten hear a%out male and genderueer cou"les and-oromen leaders ho have %een e'"elled at milongas or re?ected at "o"ular3heteronormative6 tango &estivals# Inderstanda%ly enough some o& us re%ound %y &eelingthat hen e dance Argentinian tango e transgress the line %eteen %eing a socialdancer and a ueer activist, and e &eel that all our tangos are

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    3ow to ?Queer@ a Queer Tango*

    4ost o& the old milonguero-as in Buenos Aires are said to !no ho to dance %oth roles intango3C6 Hoever, as the old milonguero-as don

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    What ould :ueer $ango and same+se' cou"les do ithout &lirtatious moves and sensual&loorcra&tP $he latest tango trend encourages us to dance in %eteen each other

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    . recently came across "sychology literature that hel"s ?usti&y my o%?ection to use o& theterm

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    )ote1 Eregory 4# Walton and 4ahDarin R# Bana?, #


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    Tango %ortrait ' %hotograph© So&Ka Silva

    &laya and 6arMo. ) 4ofMa 4il"a


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    Coming +ut to 6an$e or getting it straight ' a re=e4amination o" therelationship o" Queer Tango to the tango mainstream© Ray Batchelor 

    i!e many ho dance the Argentinian $ango, . am driven to dance# .n a li&e croded ithli&e+a&&irming activities, tango gives me more "leasure, more ?oy, a greater sense o& %eing

    &ully alive and ma!es me more content than almost anything else . do# Barring "hysicalim"airment, . cannot imagine not anting to dance, not anting to dance regularly or notanting to try to dance ell#

    . %egan dancing tango in 200># .n 200, hen $im (lynn &ounded :ueer $ango ondon,a"art &rom some valua%le "ioneering activities sym"athetic to the conce"t initiated %y oraHudson and some other unconnected events, :ueer $ango %arely e'isted in ondon# ;ver since . noticed that :ueer $ango as groing in ondon, . have !e"t a N:ueer $ango8iary@# When . %egan dancing :ueer $ango at mainstream venues in a%out 2010 + initiallyalmost e'clusively as a leader dancing ith another man + e ere something o& as"ectacle# 7eo"le atching us had never, or only rarely, seen to men dancing together,and stared at us in undisguised sur"rise# . con&ess, e uite en?oyed that# $hings havechanged since then# One o& my ty"ical diary entries gives a &lavour o& emerging "ractices922nd une 2012, ritten on the train home &rom *ara%lanca, a long+esta%lished, "o"ular,mainstream ondon milonga9

     A thoroughly en?oya%le and :ueer $ango evening# . arrive in the middle o& a com"le'class a%out sacadas# Mery interesting# With my arrival, there areY to men le&t over#One + e are not sure i& he is gay or not and hat does it matterP + immediately o&&ers tolead me and then %e led %y me# Another, this time a com"lete stranger, o&&ers the same#Both, holly com&orta%le# (inish class not uite getting it and leading omen# All very

    en?oya%le#$hen the dances9 . dance ith ;ri!a + delight&ul synergy 3%uilt u" over years6, &iring onall cylinders ith a slightly demanding e'otic academic in her Q0sP and ith *hris#He and . have not danced &or months %ut a&ter a &e minutes on the dance+&loor re+esta%lishing relations, e dance our dance 3strictly s"ea!ing, Ndances@ as e sa" roles%eteen and ithin6 and they are good# With the lovely, rela'ed and stylish actress iththe author, alays u" to something interesting, ?ust %ac! &rom $e'as#

     A oman . had danced ith in the class###not met %e&ore and li!ed, is not earing highheels# . see her lead# ater on . as! her i& she ould %e "re"ared to lead me# She

    acuiesces, %ut her &olloing is %etter than her leading and my &olloing is undou%tedlyorse# So, a&ter some good+natured to+ing and &ro+ing, e come over all conventional# As a &olloer, she graciously says, . am light to lead, unli!e most men# . agree [thatsometimes ith to men\, it can too easily turn into a &ight# We laugh a lot and danceellY With $ony, last seenY at [a tango\ event dressed in a red headscar& and $ur!ishtrouser out&it as aY oman# $onight, he is a man# We sa" around# With les%ian N@&rom *olom%ia, one o& the loveliest dancers in ondon# At one "oint in our %antering sheas!s,

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    throng# 7olitics acted out# Some su"er% dances and a great many good ones + all ?oyous#

    Queer Tango origins and myths

    $he &irst :ueer $ango event as organised %y 4arga )agel, Ite Walter and (eli'(eyera%end in Ham%urg in 2000# $herea&ter, countless mani&estations o& :ueer $ango

    s"rang u" around the orld, not least in Buenos Aires shortly a&terards and no inondon too# 4ost o& these &ollo a &amiliar 20th century model o& EB$ "ractice9 thema!ing o& the Nsa&e@, and "erha"s e'clusively EB$ s"ace here things that "eo"le doelsehere rug%y, dee" sea diving, driving vintage cars, tango, etc# can %e engagedith se"arately and com&orta%ly, ithout &ear o& attac! or ridicule#

     As an actor ith Eay Seatsho" in the late 1/0s, . or!ed in ?ust such an organisation,%ringing gay "lays to gay communities to rein&orce a collective sense o& a 3then6 gayidentity the %etter to &ight o""ression# :ueer $ango sa&e s"aces give a great many, homight otherise &eel threatened and not dance, access to the uniue ?oys o& tango# $heseare s"aces in hich e can dance roles o& our choice ith "artners o& our choice# So long

    as there is a need , e must maintain these s"aces %ecause o& the dangers arising &rom&ear and misunderstanding on %oth sides# $he nice young surgeon ho seed my head%ac! together a&ter . as %eaten u" 3Nueer %ashed@6 ith a lum" o& iron in 1// said that i& . ever lost my hair, the orld ould see the 4ercedes sym%ol he had ?ust em%roideredonto my scal"# ;ver since then . have &elt ith all my heart that the greatest long+term"rotection against violence and misunderstanding is not ithdraal 3hoever necessaryand use&ul in the short to medium term6, %ut o"enness, trans"arency and engagement# .nother ords, the gradual re"lacement o& the menacing and un!non Nthem@ ith the more&ully &ormed, less remote human %eings# $o an e'tent hich younger "eo"le may &ind hardto a""reciate, circumstances in this regard have in my on li&etime im"roved out o& allrecognition here in the IJ, though e should never &orget the dire conditions that "ersistelsehere#

    .n 2012, $im (lynn invited the charismatic Ite Walter to a""ear as a guest teacher at:ueer $ango ondon# She gave an interesting and thought+"rovo!ing class# Walter"articularly advocated Nactive &olloing@# She e'"lained9 rather than &olloing the Nhetero+normative@ conventions o& tango, N"assively@ res"onding to everything the leader leads, the&olloer ma!es interventions in the &lo o& the dance and sometimes ta!es the leadthemselves#

    ;ri!a, mentioned in my diary, came to Walter@s class ith her hus%and, 4artin# ;ri!a and .

    had danced &olloing a conventional leader+&olloer "attern &or to or three years and .had occasionally danced ith 4artin, %eing led and leading, as ell# As this "articulare'"osition o& :ueer $ango as set out, . &elt uneasy# .n "art, . &elt this on %ehal& o& ;ri!aand 4artin and other mainstream guests "resent hose dancing as %eing im"ugned %utit as still more %ecause . disagreed 3and disagree6 ith the &undamental "remise, and &elto%liged, res"ect&ully, to say so#

    . disagree ith the notion that :ueer $ango is "rimarily a ri"oste to Nhetero+normative@tango# 4any "ractices hich characterise :ueer $ango today e'isted in and originated&rom the mainstream# A "rovisional list might include9 omen dancing ith omen mendancing ith men active &olloing 3&ine i& done ell, %ut o"tional6 &olloers leading &rom

    the &olloer@s "osition 3ditto6# But . ta!e issue at a more &undamental level# . learnt to dancein the mainstream# (rom my "ersonal e'"eriences o& it and my conversations ith othersho dance it, ho dance it ith me, dance it ith others and dance it ell, this one+ay,


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    o""ressive, Nhetero+normative@ model im"lied in Walter@s "ro"osition and commonly cited inaccounts o& :ueer $ango, though not un!non, is not a characteristic o& high uality,Nconventional@ tango# .t is either a caricature ta!en &rom sho tango 3hich, a&ter all, !ic!edo&& the N$ango Renaissance@ in the 1/0s &olloing the &all o& the dictatorshi" in Argentina,and hich in the minds o& many "eo"le Nis@ tango6 or the conseuence o& tango danced soas to resem%le that model more closely, a set o& "ractices ith hich . am un&amiliar or

    ithin the su%tler, social dance ith hich . am &amiliar, it is a conseuence o& %ad leading#

    Queer Tango and the mainstream an alternati#e #iew

    *hristine 8enniston, hose accounts o& tango in Argentina in the so+called NEolden Age@are %ased chie&ly on conversations ith those ho ere there, rites9

    $ango is o&ten "erceived as a macho dance# $he man leads, and the oman &ollos#$he man gives the orders and the oman does as she is told# )atural as thisassum"tion may seem, it is to misunderstand the nature o& the dance as it as done inBuenos Aires in the Eolden Age# .n order to learn Nthe man@s role@, a man as e'"ectedto "ut himsel& in Nthe oman@s role@ until he com"letely understood it until he had &elt

    &rom "ersonal e'"erience e'actly hat the oman anted and needed &or her com&ortand "leasure# Only once he had com"letely understood hat the oman ent throughin dancing the $ango as he alloed to start learning Nthe man@s role@# $his is, in &act,the antithesis o& machismo#T 3*hristine 8enniston, 2006

    8enniston reminds us that the dance emerged at a time in Argentina and Iruguay henmen vastly outnum%ered omen# O& those omen, some ere se' or!ers, much indemand, meaning that the ratio o& men to res"ecta%le, marriagea%le omen as still moreim%alanced# .n some conte'ts, the milonga as an o""ortunity &or res"ecta%le youngomen to assay the characteristics o& rival men as "ros"ective hus%ands# As omencould "ic! and choose, the com"etition amongst men &or ives as intense# (e omen,given a choice, ould choose a man ho ar%itrarily im"osed his ill on her# On thecontrary, the attentive "artner ho notices, is alert and res"onds to the "erson he dancesith and devotes his energies to ma!ing his dancing "artner &eel good might %e &avoured#

    Both this historical "ers"ective and contem"orary e'"eriences con&irm me in my vie9:ueer $ango as a ri"oste to Nhetero+normative@ tango is a canard, "ossi%ly arising &rom anill+advised trans&erence o& a genuine, i& generalised sense o& outrage at the o""ression o&omen in a "atriarchal society into a "articular conte't here its relevance is marginal, at%est#

    )here are we now*$oday, in my e'"erience, there is a %usy to+ay tra&&ic %eteen :ueer $ango and themainstream tango orld# .n ondon, e dance :ueer $ango among and ith those hodance at the mainstream milongas# $his is ha""ening elsehere, too# :ueer tanguero,ohannes Schie%el+auer rote to me in 2012 o& his com"ara%le e'"eriences in Berlin9

    . have made very similar e'"eriences here in the milongas# 8ancing ueer in a regular4ilonga never lead[s\ to any trou%le, on the contrary, some "eo"le ere evencommenting in a very "ositive ay# $here is not much sense in !ee"ing u" %oundariesthere&ore#

    $hat hich as considered an oddity %ut a &e years ago is %ecoming &amiliar#.ncom"rehension gives ay to ease and a""roval# )o, com"lete strangers regularlya""roach us and say ho "leased they are to see us dancing together# .t is as i& they want 


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    to dance in a orld hich admits and cele%rates us# We are o"ening :ueer $ango s"acesu" to mainstream dancers# Others actively see! us out and ant to ?oin us# .& :ueer $angois inserting itsel& into the mainstream, the mainstream is ta!ing a lively interest in :ueer$ango#

    .n the ;nglish+s"ea!ing tango orld a shi&t aay &rom re&erring to Nladies@ and Ngentlemen@

    3or even Nthe man@ and Nthe oman@6 ith their res"ective "ronouns, and toards using theterms Nleader@ and N&olloer@ "redates the &irst :ueer $ango (estival in Ham%urg# $he useo& such gender+neutral terminology, though not ithout its on "ro%lems, is increasing andit accommodates these changes and rein&orces the normalising "rocess hich is at or!#

    $he tango em%race is an e'uisite ay o& %eing o"en and is onder&ully revealing o& the"eo"le ho engage in it, each to the other# N:ueer@ is not ?ust, or rather, not even a se'ualorientation# .t is, argua%ly, a social and "olitical sensi%ility# 8o you have to %e EB$ todance :ueer $angoP . suggest "ro%a%ly not# .t seems "er&ectly reasona%le that anyonealive to this sensi%ility can dance it i& they choose# O& course, it is "er&ectly "ossi%le toengage in the "ractices ithout the "olitical %aggage, although . ould argue that this is

    sim"ly No"en+role tango@ and not N:ueer $ango@# 8i&&erent "eo"le %ring di&&erent ualities to:ueer $ango hich cele%rates or ought to cele%rate se'ual diversity, rather than"roscri%ing it# . li!e this ueer o"enness# ogically, %eing EB$ should not %e a""lied as atest &or entry into :ueer $ango# .n the mainstream, omen increasingly carve outo""ortunities &or themselves to lead# .t is harder &or men to gain e'"erience as &olloers,yet there is anecdotal evidence o& more men as!ing to %e led# 4y :ueer $ango 8iaryagain, 2/th 4ay 2012, at a mainstream milonga9

    .nteresting occurrence9 straight man . have nodding, smiling, handsha!ing relationshi"ith %egan idly and ithout intentions sort o& "assing me &rom hand to hand and theno&&ered me the em%race, and then danced ith me [him leading\# He then as!ed me tolead him# $his . &ind interesting# .t ta!es uite a lot o& %ravery to do that# Still he &eltcom&orta%le enough, and did# . admire that# Y also [.\ thin!, in a ay, it has some"olitical value#

    :ueer $ango has &ostered intercambio, the sa""ing o& leader+&olloer roles seamlesslyithin a dance# 4any :ueer $ango dancers revel in it# Sa""ing roles, here thesa""ing ta!es time, only really or!s i& a single dance is ?ointly %eing realised %y %othmem%ers o& the cou"le and continues %eing realised danced throughout thechangeover, %e it ever so "rotracted# . dance intercambio ith EB$ dancers as ell asith dancers &rom the mainstream# ;ri!a has learnt to lead# 4artin has learnt to &ollo# She

    and 4artin are accom"lished intercambio dancers# As ;ri!a says, N.t &eels right &or me@# And hy shouldn@t omen lead menP $oday, as "art o& this &undamental read?ustment o&ho authentic tango can %e "ractised, this too is "art o& the mi', and . attri%ute theseo""ortunities in "art to the rise and increasing visi%ility o& :ueer $ango# . have recently32016 %een encouraged to learn that omen leading, men &olloing and intercambio no&igure as standard &eatures o& the o&&ering o& a straight, mainstream cou"le ho teachtango in ondon# . suggest they ould not have done this ithout e'"osure to andac!noledgement o& the contri%ution to tango o& :ueer $ango# et another develo"ment9dancing tango ithout leader or &olloer distinguishes :ueer $ango still &urther# .e'"erimented ith this during a memora%le class ith 4ariano EarcFs in 2011 given on avisit he made to ondon at the invitation o& )ic! Stone# . don@t dou%t it ill continue to



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    . suggest :ueer $ango has dran "re+e'isting "ractices together, added to them and"rovided an alternative historical and "olitical &rameor! ithin hich they can %e re+a""raised, re&reshed, given ne li&e and or!ed into a coherent, vi%rant and "ur"osivehole# $he model e have develo"ed ithin the international :ueer $ango communityoes more to mainstream "ractices historical and current than is sometimesac!noledged# .t gre out o& them, and is not their antagonistic o""osite# ;ach em%odies

    truths &rom hich the other can and does %ene&it# )either has yet &ully and "u%liclyac!noledged this, although "ractices are ahead o& "rotestation# $his essay is an attem"tto move that "rocess o& ac!noledgment %e it ever so slightly &orards and soencourage the "rocess, %ecause . ant to dance in a orld here that "rocess goes still&urther# .t needs monitoring# .t needs care# .t ill ta!e time# . am o"timistic#

    .& you agree ith the vies e'"ressed here, or disagree, or have comments, "lease let me!no %ut i& "ossi%le, and i& you choose, . should regard it as a &avour i& &irst you oulddance ith me#

    We can alays tal! later#

    )otesRay Batchelor, Queer Tango 6iaries -/-J-/0, un"u%lished*hristine 8enniston, The *eaning of Tango1 the rgentinian 6ance, 7ortico, ondon, 200


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    Queer Tango in &ondon ' %ort"olio© 8enise e

    %ay Batchelor leading %obin 4ummerhill at Queer Tango (ondon. ) -/0 6enise (ew 


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    ) -/0 6enise (ew 


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    ) -/0 6enise (ew 


  • 8/19/2019 The Queer Tango Book


    ) -/0 6enise (ew 


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  • 8/19/2019 The Queer Tango Book


    Queer Tango and /ilonguero Tango a re"le$ti#e essay© Eigi Eam%le

    Since 1//5, . longed &or ueer omen to dance ith in the milongas# )o $ango :ueer ishere and . see that .@m a tango &undamentalist a&ter all# . thought that :ueer $ango meantsame+se' dancing# .t doesn@t# .t@s an e'"anded "ro"osition and may%e tango needs it to

    survive another century# $ime ill tell#

    .@ve danced a lot o& di&&erent ays ith a lot o& di&&erent "eo"le in these years, and themilonguero style street+y, sim"le, di&&icult + is the most intimate and rearding ay tolisten to tango music that . !no# .t@s a grounded, rhythmic al!, "er&ect &or %eing alone ina crod ith a tanda o& *anaro, $anturi or 7ichuco# But .@m riting this essay in 201# .see an emerging West *oast :ueer $ango style that macerates yoga ith %allet, modernand contact im"rovisation# .t@s es"ecially suited &or dancing to Eotan 7ro?ect, orld %eat,&ol! melodies, modern %lues, $om Waits< altDes, or 7iaDDola@s concert music# And it or!son traditional tango, too# But it isn

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    one o& my &avorite tango teachers to the local omen@s dance here e ere instructors#Brought my %utch girl&riend to one or to straight classes at Allegro Ballroom in ;meryville,a %itter e'"erience that led us to ;va 7ettersson and Malerie (e!ete@s dance classes# Atthat time, they ere the only les%ian tango teachers in the Bay Area# ;va and Malerietaught us hat they learned &rom *hristy *ote, then one o& the &e Bay Area heterose'ualtango instructors !non to teach same+se' dancers# But hat e learned &irst as the +

    count %asic# $his is the most common "edagogical tool in Argentine $ango it@s ane'"anded %o' ste" that is useless in la ronda# And in our same+se' classes, e chose arole and danced it, no sitching that . remem%er# We ere same+se' "artners dancing astraight tango# Our instructors also encouraged us to loo! lovingly into each other@s eyes#So e %um"ed into other cou"les a lot and laughed and had a "retty good time# Our &rameas o"en and airy, our ochos ere ide and cut a horiDontal "ath li!e the sym%ol &oreternity# But this +count %asic 3*B6 as not develo"ed &or the social dance &loor, and .invested to years o& e'"loration, un+learning the *B, listening and re+learning to develo"a style that or!s on the dance &loor# . came to "re&er hat is o&ten called Nmilonguero style@ or Nestilo a#ilado@9 a close em%race 3and almost alays6 &olloing my "artner#

    Eay or straight, in the Inited States e seem to %e uncom&orta%le in each other@s armshen it comes to Argentine $ango# Add heterose'ism to the mi', and may%e that@s hyclose em%race never a""ealed to our community# (urthermore, close em%race seems to%e armed ith a closer connection to the codigos o& the milongueros and milongueras o&the River 7late %asin#

    4any o& us have %een so disres"ected in the straight tango orld that e re?ect out o&hand any traditional code, li!e the cabeceo, &or instance# $he ca%eceo is misunderstoodas a ay &or men to control omen in the milongas + to "revent omen &rom choosing a"artner# But in "ractice, the ca%eceo means never having to say you@re sorry# $o ca%eceois to use your gaDe to signal your desire to dance ith someone ithout ris!ing re?ection or signal re&usal ithout em%arrassment &or either "arty# Say you@re at the ueer milonga andyou say to yoursel&, $here@s that &ine oman . see at $o+Ste" all the time .@m gonna as!her to dance ith me#T ou loo! at her steadily, ho"ing to catch her eye, %ut her gaDeslides aay &rom yours# $hat@s a no# Or, i& she holds your eyes, nod toards the dance&loor or cut your eyes to the &loor, then atch &or an ansering smile or nod# As singer+songriter Holly )ear once said, We are a gentle, loving "eo"leT# $he ca%eceo is acharged, sa&e, erotic ay to as! &or a dance# Silent agreements are made very ueer,bao y sucio, li!e the "ar! at sundon#

    $he social codes aren@t alays a%out "olicing gender# Sometimes it@s ?ust to "reserve

    order on the dance &loor# 4ilonguero dancing is very social, %ecause it assumes that in aronda &ull o& cou"les, hal& o& hom are %lind [1\, every figura must &it in availa%le s"ace#$he &irst rule o& social tango is Nengage ith the &loor@# et :ueer $ango seems to assumethat the &irst rule o& tango is9 ?engage your core@# WhyP Because it@s develo"ed %y"ro&essional or semi+"ro&essional dancers- %ody or!ers# (or :ueer $ango, one shouldhave good %ody aareness# 3*an you &ind your "soas muscle, 8ear ReaderP6 ou should%e a%le to al! very sloly across the &loor in a ste"+"ivot+ste" that inds you on a Dig+Dag"ath, here your %alanced core and "osture !ee" you sinuous as a desert sna!e on sand#. thin! o& :ueer $ango as a lovely, lollo"ing s"iral dance that o&ten uses a lot o& &loor s"aceyet can %e made to &it into a crode