Friday, August 8, 2014

Learning to Tango

While writing Slow Tango With a Prince, the third book in my Royal Scandals series, I was obliged to do a good deal of research on the tango. It was important to me that when Emily and Prince Vittorio dance, it would resonate both with those unfamiliar with the tango and those who live and breathe it. You can imagine my agony...the tango is a beautiful, sensual dance with a deep history and its own culture, one that comes to life nightly in the streets and salons of Buenos Aires.

While I wish I could say that I spent months in Argentina learning from a master, I had no such luck. However, for those of you hoping to learn more about the history, culture, and how-tos of tango, here are some of the resources I found. These are by no means exhaustive, but are a good starting point.

First, for the down-and-dirty on how to negotiate Buenos Aires, check Amazon for a quick guide like DK Eyewitness Top 10 Buenos Aires. I've used DK's Top 10 guides to navigate my way around Paris, Barcelona, and Istanbul with great success. They're regularly updated, so make sure you're getting the latest edition (the one I've linked to is the most current as of the date of this blog.)  It's also available on iBooks and at Barnes & Noble.

To learn about dance halls and etiquette, as well as to pick up tango-specific travel tips, I found two fantastic guides. The first, on iBooks, is Migdalia Romero's Tango Lover's Guide to Buenos Aires.  Part memoir, part how-to, it'll help you find your way through the milongas of Buenos Aires.  You can also find it on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

The second guide, and one I adored for its conversational style and been-there, done-that, made-that-mistake honesty is Sally Blake's Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires, which is available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble. This book is flat-out fun and gives great advice on the social side of tango, including how to handle everything from the coat checks to flirtatious men. You can also check the references at the back for information on tango salons, instruction, and even shoe stores.

Even if you're far from Buenos Aires, don't be afraid to pick up the phone or search the internet for local tango clubs. Dance lessons and tango nights are easy to find in many major cities, and lectures on the history and culture of the tango are given at many colleges and libraries. There are also a number of tango social groups online. Do a search for "tango" on facebook and you'll be off to a good start.

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