Tango and Relationships

Tango can make your relationship flourish or it can be the beginning of the end. But is it really tango’s fault?


Tango is only a context that life puts us in, so that we can work out our internal conflicts. It is there for our joy, but also for our personal development. Tango will become a playground for your relationship problems, but only if there were problems already waiting to be revealed. It may be that your issue is lack of self-confidence, and tango is the perfect context to bring this up. If you are suffering in tango, it has nothing to do with tango and everything to do with you. There is no specific tango-related insecurity, it is the same insecurity you always carry inside yourself, only now it is playing with a new toy. Blaming tango for making you insecure is like blaming food for making you hungry. Tango gives us ample opportunities to become more wholesome, wiser, better human beings, but we have to want to go there - and find the means whereby.

Alejandro Gee is a tango teacher who did his graduate thesis in psychology on the effects of tango dance on mood. He writes, “The posture of a person is not just a position that we are supposed to stand/dance in, but also a reflection of who we are. The way we connect or the way we lead or follow are also a perfect reflection of our social, emotional and mental status. Usually 10 minutes into the class you can tell more about a person’s character or the relationship within a couple than you could after talking. This is why tango has the capacity to heal issues that we are or not aware of. By fixing the physical, the mind and emotions will follow. Or we will want to heal the mind and the emotions in order to be able to improve our dancing....

... Tango, though rooted in an era when women were not equal, with decidedly machista roots, is such an apt metaphor for a healthy relationship. The dance itself brings masculinity and femininity together in such a way that both need to be rooted in themselves in order to dance. To create a dance—or a relationship where both people get to be fully alive, both have to be in their axis. Passion and connection with another depends on a deep connection with yourself.

A tango teacher Luciana Rial Baumgartner was once teaching me how to do a fast turn with her. You need to have the right amount of tension between the two people in order to generate the connection. That tension is created because each person has a strong core and while dancing for the other, he or she is also dancing for herself, making sure her body is in alignment. That tension creates the thrill.

"Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire."     George Bernard Shaw


All You Ever Need to Know About Relationships

Can be learned in a West Coast Swing Class:

By Skippy Blair

1. Lead her GENTLY and she’ll follow you anywhere. For every ACTION there is an equal and opposite REACTION

2. Never CRITICIZE a Partner. The only person you can FIX is YOU. (The only person, responsible for making an

ADJUSTMENT, is the one who knows an adjustment needs to be made.)


3. A Lead is an INDICATION of direction (a suggestion - never a DEMAND or COMMAND).


4. A DANCE PARTNERSHIP is 50/50. BOTH partners are equally responsible for the outcome of the partnership.

5. If either one of the partnership insists on deciding who is right and who is wrong, they BOTH lose.

6. The FIRST Rule in learning something new is - Don’t Hurt Anybody.

7. Be sensitive to your Partner. Never Blame or ridicule. YOU alone can make the difference. (don’t try to adjust

the Partner - adjust YOU). The only thing one should ever tell a dance partner is "You are WONDERFUL."

8. Always concentrate on WHAT is right rather than WHO is right.

9. TEAMWORK gets the most points. (In LIFE as well as the Dance!) YOU are frequently judged by how good you

make your partners look (and feel).

10. A good Partnership requires patience, understanding, and an awareness of and a sincere desire to care about

the needs of the other partner. Stay focused.

11. The way to help a partner improve, is to do YOUR part so well that you know that you are not part of the PROBLEM.

12. Life is a JOY when we’re both in step to the same BEAT.

13. Praise works wonders. Applaud little accomplishments and bigger accomplishments will follow.

14. We frequently judge others, not by who they are, but by who WE are when we are with them. Make your partner

feel wonderful.

15. Every dance is a “Three minute relationship.” If someone can’t complete one “3 minute” dance without criticizing

a partner, it is highly probable that when the music stops – the criticism won’t ! RUN!

16. A successful “Partnership” maintains the separate uniqueness of each individual, without losing the connection

of the partnership. They must maintain their connection, and are still able to create an exciting new entity, that actually

IS the partnership.