Skip to main content

Federica_Banfi_300H_300WFEDERICA BANFI

Current research project


Movements in Argentine tango: a multilocal ethnography of improvisation and transnationalism.

The focus of this research is Argentine tango. At the core of this project are creativity and improvisation.

Tango is always improvised in its social setting, the milonga. Dancers unite in the dance in a creative enterprise, expressively interpreting the music, improvising movements from a repertoire through an unspoken bodily dialogue. The very nature of tango dancing invites us to question the relationship between improvisation and creativity, how one influence the other and vice versa. Being tango a couple dance with strict gendered roles, how do dancers express their creativity in each role? Without codified standards, how is the tension between tradition and innovation resolved? How do you keep tango traditional and innovative at the same time in each dance? Processes of authentication and authorisation are at work in the social space of the milonga in Buenos Aires as older and experienced dancers comment the newcomers' performances. How do these processes shape creative practices? In focus is also the role of Argentine tango teachers and their movements across national borders to bring tango to foreign communities around Europe. 



Federica Banfi graduated in Social anthropology in 2015 at Queen's University Belfast, obtaining the Anne Maguire Memorial Prize for her dissertation 'Embracing Tango: Negotiating Emotions and Gender through Dance'. In December 2016, she obtained her MA in Social anthropology also at Queen's, with the dissertation 'Threads of Tango: Online Discourses and Dynamics of Argentine Tango', which was awarded the John Blacking's memorial prize. Federica started her PhD in October 2016. Her project, entitled 'Movements in Argentine Tango: Improvisation and Transnationalism', is funded by AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.