Juan Jorge Brand

November 13, 2012

With her book, “In Strangers’ Arms,” Beatriz Dujovne pulls together all the elements of tango’s mystique — as dance, music and lyric poetry, as an iconic art form begun in 19th Century Buenos Aires and still evolving as a culture in its own right, and as a worldwide way of life for many tangueros in the 21st Century. And it comes through so well because she wrote it in the first person…

The book gets to the heart of the tango for adherents and beginners alike. And it clarifies some of its mysteries and codes. From the book, one of the better “lessons” I drew was a much greater appreciation for the lyrics of tango and how they’ve developed along the path that Dujovne follows from Milonguita to Malena. And in her interviews with those who sing them, such as Alberto Podestá, she delves into the styles and how they have varied over the decades. So Part III of her book, The Poetry, was a valued learning experience.

For the historian, the book provides a wealth of background on the growth of Buenos Aires and how that growth, especially through immigration, directly brought about and influenced the early development of the tango.

“In Strangers’ Arms,” the title describing where we often find ourselves while dancing tango, is a book with something for everyone regardless of their level of interest or accomplishment in the tango.”

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