Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas tango books

Christmas is almost upon us but there is still time to ask for a few more tango related books as presents! Here are some snippets on tango related books. Please let me know if you can recommend any others:

The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance by Christine Denniston.
One of my favourite books on tango - I still read it all the time! She covers the history, technique and basic steps (with diagrams). The history section I found really interesting and the technique section has been unbelievably useful. She has a wonderful way with words!

A Passion for Tango; A thoughtful, Provocative and Useful Guide to that Universal Body Language, Argentine Tango by David Turner.
My other favourite book – I could write a whole post on this book (and probably will someday). This was a great book to get when I was first beginning as David writes in a really down-to-earth manner. Originally constructed from his own class jottings, it reads very much like someone’s crib notes. Great introduction (and still useful now) – completely demystifies tango for the nervous beginner.

Long After Midnight at the Nino Bien by Brian Turner.
A good account of how an American goes to BA as a financial journalist and finds himself caught up in the tango world. Also good to hear the author’s interviews on Tango Tales.

The Tango Singer by Tomas Eloy Martinez (fiction).
I am currently reading this so can’t say much at present. Reads in the wordy, Latin American style, would be helpful to have read some Borges (I have not but will be soon).

Aleph Bravo Tango by Dyv Saraza (fiction).
On my Christmas list.

Kiss and Tell by Marina Palmer.
Billed as SATC meets BA tango. Heard a lot of negative comments (see Amazon) but then there is a film with Sandra Bullock in 2011 so I might give it a go soon.

Gotta Tango by Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz.
From the authors of the useful website Planet Tango partly an instruction manual (with accompanying DVD) I think I came to this a bit late and wish I had got it in my early newbie months. A good introduction.

Tango Zen: Walking Dance Meditation by Chan Park.
When I first started tango, I thought this book looked a bit 'new age-y' but now I can completely believe that this might be something that I could get in to. Also on my Christmas list.

Tango: The Art History of Love by Robert Farris Thompson.
On my ‘to read’ list. Details the history tango history, witha specific focus on its African roots. Sounds good as I’m starting to enjoy candombe a bit more and my tango history is pretty sparse.

Tango: Lets Dance to the Music by Joaquín Amenábar
Explaining tango music to non-musicians. Launched last year to various good reviews. He is apparently doing a new workshop in London in the new year (Jan 2010) and considering I have no musical knowledge at all (Quavers are crisps to me!) it sounds very useful.

Anyone got any more ideas?


  1. My friend Patrizia Chen, an Italian (yes) author, has a new book "It takes two." You can look it up at amazon or barnes and noble. Good reviews. :-)

  2. You could add Paper Tangos (Public Planet Books) by Julie Taylor to your list. It's not an easy book; it's very personal, with many layers and themes, and it also refers to a time two decades ago, when things were different, but in many ways it's beautiful and interesting. It helps to know a little about the 'dirty war' period, and to have seen a film called Tangos: Exilio de Gardel by Solanas, with a score by Piazzola.

    The Robert Farris Thompson book is very factual, and uses a lot of material from interviews made in Buenos Aires.

  3. Thanks for the tips - my Christmas list is growing by the minute!

  4. What have you read about the movie with Sandra Bullock for 2011? It surely will be filmed in Buenos Aires, but I haven't heard a word about it.

  5. I must admit most of my info on K&T is probably based on hearsay. Several friends mentioned it and I've read about it on Alex.Tango.Fuego's blog. He's mentioned it a few times so he must have his ear to the ground. It MUST be filmed in BA - nothing else could surely have the right atmosphere!

  6. Golondrina asked: "Anyone got any more ideas?"

    Top of my list for any tango newcomer is "¡Tango!: The Dance, the Song, the Story" by Collier at al.

    G, I suggest your recommendation of "The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance" by Christine Denniston needs to be taken with some care. This book is quite misleading to any reader expecting to find the style of dancing it describes in the central milongas of Buenos Aires.