John Whiteoak. ‘Take me to Spain’: Australian Imaginings of Spain through Music and Dance
Book review by Elizabeth Kertesz
Context 47 (2021): 79–83.
Published online: ?? Jan 2022
Writing in the late 1920s, J.B. Trend proclaimed that ‘Spain, as we know it today, seems to be pre-eminently a country of the dance, and no interpreter of Spanish music can make us feel its full beauty or vitality unless he feel those vital dance-rhythms within himself.’ This connection between Spain, dance, and the rhythms of its music has long characterised perceptions of Spanish culture, fostering the enduring popularity of Spanish-styled entertainments. In ‘Take me to Spain’: Australian Imaginings of Spain through Music and Dance, John Whiteoak traces this phenomenon through Australian history, from the early colonial era of the 1820s to the 1970s. His narrative concludes before the major changes caused in local Hispanic culture by mass migration from Latin America, the new policy of multiculturalism, and the emergence of world music…