Tango at the Library: An Evening of Dance and Discovery

In October, the Library hosted an evening of dance, discussion and delight.  The event, “Move Closer: An Exploration of the Tango” was a joint project of the Nashville Opera, the Library, and the Center for Latin American Studies.  John Hoomes, Nashville Opera CEO, delighted the audience with his discussion of the company’s production of María de Buenos Aires and the music of its composer, Astor Piazzolla.

Paula Covington, the library’s subject librarian for Latin American studies, discussed the origins of the tango and notable highlights of Vanderbilt’s special tango holding, The Simon Collier Collection. That collection includes over 1000 recordings and memorabilia, manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, and photos.  It reflects both his scholarly concern and his very personal interest in this social phenomenon,” said Covington.

A historian of Chile, Simon Collier was the former director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American Studies and is particularly remembered for his book, The Life, The Music and Times of Carlos Gardel (1986) and his biography of Astor Piazzolla.  On display were memorabilia from Special Collections including a photo album of stars of the era belonging to a young fan in Argentina in the 1930s, and a bandoneon, the famous accordion-like musical instrument that produced the reedy sound of the tango.

The presentations were followed by a reception in the Library’s lobby and a performance by the Vanderbilt Tango Club.  The dancers offered a tango lesson and students, staff, and community members took to the floor with members of the club to learn the often dramatic and flowing movements of the dance.  A hundred people from Vanderbilt and the Nashville community attended the event.



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