TWISTED BODY: DANCE THEORY OF ARGENTINE TANGO, by Igor Polk, is not for the layman. The book contains complicated instructions for various steps and poses essential for the dance of Argentine Tango. Polk himself denies that this is an instruction book and admits that the concepts are “abstract and difficult.” TWISTED BODY should, rather, be used by instructors or those interested in the technical theories of the Argentine Tango.
The book is laid out with specific instructions on origins of the movements that a dancer must master in order to effectively dance the Argentine Tango. There are also detailed descriptions of poses and steps that when paired together can create a wonderful dance. The Tango is a dance with African origins and is a largely improvisational dance. Polk believes that a successful dance theory must ‘explain origins of movements, source of energy for movements,’ so much of the book details the motivations behind these elements for the Argentine Tango. There are six aspects of tango that are significant: rhythm, structure, movements, energy, space, and interaction between partners. Polk is able to successfully explain these intricate steps because of the immense detail he provides, such as his description of Torque (“a turning, twisting force…Torque is born when needed. It may grow or disappear without any moves. It may release its energy into a move. Torque is felt.”)
While Polk’s book would be a huge help for instructors wishing to learn about the theory behind the Argentine Tango, there are some missteps. There are some grammatical and spelling errors throughout the text (which can end up distracting the reader), and some of the drawings used to illustrate the steps look a little basic (since they are just stick figures sketched on the page). The book might benefit from more professional artwork. Additionally, the inserted text with the drawings should be printed instead of handwritten.
TWISTED BODY is a helpful tool for those wishing to learn more about the techniques behind the Argentine Tango.