TWO BY TWO by Eve Babitz


Tango, Two-Step, and the L.A. Night
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Fiction writer Babitz (Black Swans, 1993) offers essays about her love for partner dance and the L.A. dance scene. Eve Babitz loves to dance. From tango, to Cajun, to West Coast Swing, she sees the magic inherent in the forms; like many other dance students, she works toward a form that she knows she will never attain. And she works hard’she originally wanted to call her book “I Went from Being a Wallflower to Dancing Every Night of the Week, After Only Nine Years of Dance Lessons.” Babitz continues to dance as much as she can, despite a foot that won—t allow her to wear heels for long (a hindrance in the tango, traditionally the domain of high-heeled women), a knee that can—t handle the “voodoo torque” of West Coast Swing, and, later, legs severely burned in a freak car fire. Babitz consistently links her love of dance to her love of Los Angeles, and she never describes a particular dance without mentioning who its best teachers are and where the best local club for dancing it is—as well as whether there’s parking. (This is L.A., after all.) Sometimes the jumble of names, facts, and places strikes sparks, as in her essay on West Coast Swing—a dance that, Babitz maintains, “has the worst name in the world”—in which she mixes up history, steps, personalities, and music in a way that seems to echo the form she’s talking about. Unfortunately, this information stew doesn—t work as well when she’s writing about tango, or the Cajun Fais Do-Do. Dance teachers, dance partners, and L.A. locations fly by in an entertaining whir, but the author never provides a coherent picture of what these dances feel or look like. Dancers and Angelenos will be entertained; non-dancers or non-residents might want to consider taking a class or two before trying out this step. (10 line drawings, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-83392-1
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1999


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FictionBLACK SWANS by Eve Babitz
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