The Tango in the United States

A History


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About the Book

In the earliest years of the 20th century, North American ballroom dancers favored the waltz or the polka. But then a new dance, the tango, broke onto the scene when Vernon and Irene Castle performed it in a Broadway musical. Rudolph Valentino, Arthur Murray, and Xavier Cugat popularized it in the 1920s and 1930s, and thousands of people crowded onto dance floors around the country to hear the music and dance the tango.
This work chronicles the history of the tango in the United States, from its antecedents in Argentina, Paris and London to the present day. It covers the dancers, musicians, and composers, and the tango’s influence on American music.

About the Author(s)

Carlos C. Groppa is the editor of Tango Reporter, a member of the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo of Argentina, and a recipient of the Carlos Gardel Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

Carlos G. Groppa
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 52 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [2004]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4681-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-2686-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Introduction      1

1. Antecedents of the Tango in the United States      5
2. Some Historic Facts      14
3. Argentineans in New York      23
4. New York Tango Venues      28
5. The Pros and Cons      33
6. The Rise of the Castles      41
7. James Reese Europe: The Key to Change      53
8. The Tango’s Influence on Other Popular Music      59
9. Music with the Scent of Tango      68
10. Tango Valentino      75
11. The Orquesta Tipica Select      92
12. Juan Carlos Cobi.n: Pianist and Don Juan      98
13. The Arthur Murray Studios      107
14. Canaro Already Had His Orchestra      112
15. Xavier Cugat, Tango, Rumba and Chihuahuas      118
16. Carlos Gardel Enters the Arena      128
17. More Argentineans in New York      137
18. The Return of Juan Carlos Cobian      149
19. World War II and Later….      156
20. The Big Surprises      171
21. Piazzolla: A Bandoneon Against the World      180
22. The Compact Disk Revolution      190
23. The American Musician and the Tango      196
24. Final Considerations      205

Bibliography      215
Index      219

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Definitely a book that should be on every tango enthusiast’s bookshelf”—The Tango Times
  • “Charts a century of American interest”—C&RL News
  • “Indispensable”—Ciberlunfa Nro
  • “investigates why the tango has persisted in the American consciousness”—Dance Teacher.