It is not difficult to summon up an image of argentine tango: “a tiny moment of eternity” in which two people, wrapped up in an sensual embrace, move in opposite directions. Dancers engaged in tango are not always fully aware of its cultural significance, which is precisely what this books sheds light upon. It does so by focusing on the milonga experience, the place where tango becomes a social practice and in which the contact between two people in motion – and between them and other couples, also in motion – produces a situation both dynamic and intimate. After examining the role of embodied knowledge and improvisation (a topic Sparti has already explored in connection to jazz), the book addresses the present-day success of tango: in an age in which an increasing share of our free time is spent alone, “passively” or on the cyberspace, tango represents a crucial form of intimate social interaction.
Davide Sparti teaches Epistemology of the social sciences at the University of Siena.