chapter  6
24 Pages

Tango and the Scandal of Homosocial Desire 1

WithJeffrey Tobin

In recent years several Broadway-style tango shows - such as 'Tango Argentino' and 'Forever Tango' - have had successful runs on the stages of Europe, Japan, and the United States. Contemporary tango-dance continues to be marked by forbidden homosocial desire. The contemporary tango couple dances its way back and forth, over the fortified and leaky border separating the straight and the gay. After decades of traveling across marital, class, and national boundaries, it is possibly tango's nightly trip across the sexual boundary that continues to be its dangerous and forbidden passion. The primary relation in tango is not between the heterosexual dance partners, but is between the man who dances with a woman and the other men who watch. Similarly, in tango-dance, the woman is the focus of visual attention. The continuing ambiguity of tanguero sexuality is evident in the tango dance. Fans and devotees seldom if ever attribute tango's famous scandalousness to same-sex dancing or homosociality.