Robert Lawrence


New York, NY; Vienna, Austria; London, England
  • copyright: Robert Lawrence
  • copyright: Robert Lawrence
  • copyright: Robert Lawrence
  • copyright: Robert Lawrence

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to interrupt business as usual.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to recreate stereotypes and then undermine them.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to reclaim public space with beautiful acts of intimacy.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to be apolitical in performance and political in evaluation.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to be negotiable.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to not yet be defined.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to ask what it should become.

The Tango Intervention (in)tends to invite your comments.


In the post 9/11 political context I have been increasingly interested in creative forms of social interruption. Although I consider Tango Interventions to be political, I want them to seem non-political at first encounter. I want to avoid a polemic reaction of public avoidance that comes all too quickly when people are confronted with a public display of political intention in our current political environment. I want to 'intervene', gently and with humor, not with a political 'march', but rather a dance. As with all my work (, the seemingly essentialist nature of the work on the surface is deconstructed by a website that accompanies each of my pieces in the physical world. It is imperative to me that the work exists with both a political intention and a simultaneous apolitical intention.


Argentine Tango is at once rooted and migratory, tradition-bound and constantly mutable. It is a highly dynamic and complex social lens through which I examine elements of identity in an era of globalization.


In contradiction to the clichéd media image, Tango is essentially an intimate private action. Those who understand Tango consider it a 'conversation' between two people. Unlike ballroom dancing or dance on a stage, Argentine Tango is not performed to be seen. It is danced only for the pleasure of the dancers. This aspect of the dance I strive to maintain even as I make the dance part of a public action. The inherent contradiction herein is 'content'. In a Tango Intervention the dance is never choreographed or altered to "play to the crowd". The intention in a Tango Intervention is always for each couple to share an intimate connection through dance, rather than perform for those watching. The preservation of this essential intimacy in the context of a public and ultimately political performance is a primary principle of the Tango Intervention Series.


I invite other interpretations.


- Robert Lawrence