Tango! Kabuki! Bollywood! Jazz! What Do They Have in Common?

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Cultural Detective Blog

TangoKabukiJazzBollywood(English followed by Español, 日本語版 and हिंदी संस्करण, below)

Tango! Kabuki! Bollywood! Jazz! You have to admit they all sound exciting—full of life, excitement, drama and…culture. Each is currently the basis of a hugely lucrative industry, and many of us greatly enjoy at least one of these art forms.

But what do the histories of these four forms of entertainment—from such divergent places on our planet—have in common?

Each has its origins among the poor, underprivileged and marginalized of society. And each was, at some point, much maligned and considered improper and lacking decorum. Several of these now-popular forms of entertainment were banned, some more than once, before they grew in popularity and finally gained respectability.

  • Tango, born in the latter part of the 1800s amidst the docks of Buenos Aires, was originally played and danced by poor immigrants. The middle and upper classes were first exposed to tango in…

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