Tango Dérive #1

Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, 4/11/07

Action: 1 couple dances from Centro Asturiano, at 1913 Nebraska Avenue to L'Unione Italiana, at 1731 East 7th Avenue

Total distance: .8 miles

Dancers: Robert Lawrence, Luisa Meshekoff

Docmumentation: Rachel Bishop, Nik Petric

Thanks to: Anda Iamnitchi , Merry Lynn Morris

Notes: The route for the first ever 'tango derive' was chosen to acknowledge the primary cultural roots of tango. We began at Center Astauriano, the local Cuban club, and progressed to L'Unione Italiana, the local Italian club. Along the way we passed through a neighborhood of predominantly African American population, before entering the aggressively gentrified tourist area of Ybor city. This tango derive was conducted during an off-peak hour. It was intended as an experiment to gauge public reaction, and determine strategies for proceeding with future tango interventions. The primary thing that we learned is that the effect of incongruity which we hoped for to help us break the predictable pattern of activity was severely undermined by several factors: 1) The fact that Ybor is a tourist area where people are likely to expect culturally exceptional behavior - busking, commercial promotions, etc.; 2) More significantly, we realized that the presence of video and still cameras following the dancers provided observers with the convenient narrative that we were making a music video, thus minimizing the hoped for cultural disjuncture. Henceforth, there will be no visible cameras during Tango Interventions. It was also discovered that the card worn to identify the action as a Tango Intervention and to direct observers to the website was ineffective. This will be revised for future actions.