Alison Carrick, reference and outreach supervisor in Special Collections at the University Libraries, received the Newman Exploration Travel grant in 2019 and traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study tango and conduct interviews with members of the dance community.
Carrick has studied Argentine tango for approximately twelve years. Argentine tango differs from the ballroom style of tango commonly practiced in the US in that it is an improvisational dance with a murky, myth-heavy creation story. What we do know is that the tango began about a hundred years ago in the city of Buenos Aires. European immigrants, many from Italy and Germany, settled there at the end of the nineteenth century and the tango often feels like a hybrid of many cultures.
The main goal of the trip was to take tango classes from local teachers, attend tango events or dances, called milongas, meet and interview local tango dancers, and explore tango’s history in the city of Buenos Aires. She was able to attend multiple milongas and classes as well as interview local dancers both young and older. “It was a joy to participate in the vibrant culture of Buenos Aires through the tango community,” said Carrick.