Anthropology Professor Wins Fellowship to Study Tango

first_imgShareCONTACT: MargotDimondPHONE: (713) 348-6775EMAIL: [email protected] PROFESSOR WINSFELLOWSHIP TO STUDY TANGO IN ARGENTINA Many years ago during her first year at Harvard, a professor talkedJulie Taylor into switching her major from dance to anthropology on the groundsthat she would have a longer career. Now a professor ofanthropology at Rice University in Houston, Taylor has managed to combine herlove of dancing with her work in anthropology. She has just won a prestigiousGuggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which she will use to move to Argentina for ayear to research the tango.Taylor will study howtango, the national dance of Argentina, relates to violence in that country.When she returns, she plans to write about her experiences. Taylor is no stranger toArgentina–or the tango. She has spent more than half her adult life inArgentina, working on political terror and violence. While there, she learnedthe tango in academies and dance halls. “I had been trained as a dancer, so itwas the natural thing to do in Argentina.” Eventually, she took uptango as a research subject. Before she could do the research, however, she hadto become a very good tango dancer, or the other dancers “wouldn’t talk tome–wouldn’t give me the time of day.” As it is, the dancerstell her their sad stories–almost all relating to the near collapse of theArgentine economy and the country’s high unemployment. Paying the $5.00 entryfee into the dance hall is a big sacrifice for them. The traditional theme ofthe tango is lost love, she says, but with the problems Argentina hasexperienced, “the lost love theme has shifted to a general disorientation inlife, a mourning for lost opportunities.” She emphasizes that thetango is a dance of power. “In a violent society, people use other forms ofdominance to channel their anger,” and the tango is empowering to both men andwomen, she says.Taylor, who holds aPh.D. in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, has written severalbooks–most recently Paper Tangos (1998), which she describes as “a memoir oflearning tango in Argentina.” She leaves for BuenosAires on May 31. About admin FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis last_img

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