Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.

April 6, 2012


The sense induced by the change of the body’s location and position is called the sense of equilibrium. The semicircular canal and vestibule in the inner ear are organs related to this sense. Those whose equilibrium organs are dysfunctional due to disease, drug or alcoholism cannot keep their balance well. Balance can be improved through training. Some people have developed better balance as a result. Woman gymnasts, for example, can do difficult movements on a balance beam. Acrobats depend on their good sense of equilibrium to do high-wire walking. Experienced dancers also have a good sense of equilibrium so they can stay balanced in complicated movements.

Dancing is like riding a bicycle. In bicycling one uses the wheel to keep balance. In dancing one uses the steps to keep balance. All dancers need to have a good sense of equilibrium, but a woman particularly needs so because she is the one being driven by the man in the dance. The man leads the woman by tilting her in the direction that he wants her to move. How far she moves, however, is decided by her sense of equilibrium. If she steps not exactly to where she should in order to maintain her balance, she could fall. A falling woman relies on the man for her stability, thus becomes heavy. The man may like the feeling that the woman occasionally relies on him, but if she hangs on him all the time, and holds on to him in every turns and twists, it could be quite a burden for him. A woman needs to know that keeping her own balance is the key for her to be weightless in the dance. Some women habitually rely on the man for their movement and stability, as a result, their sense of equilibrium fails to develop.

Tango has a unique balance problem because the two partners intimately lean on each other to form an A-shaped frame in the dance. The A-shaped frame is a stable frame in which the two partners support each other. An inexperienced woman often doesn't realize that her support for the man is equally important as his for her. If she leans backwards, she could pull him off his balance. Sometimes the woman leans a little more on the man than the man on the woman, which is fine because he is strong and she is light. However, if she leans too much on him, it could cause a burden. Dancing in a leaning position demands strength on her back. A woman with a weak back cannot sustain in that position, especially when the man holds her low. An experienced woman maintains certain resistance in symmetry to the forces that the man applies on her in both directions - his chest pushes her out, and his arm pulls her in. Some women counteract the man with too much force, thus become heavy. The woman needs to know that to balance the man is to maintain a state of stillness, uniform-speed rectilinear motion, or uniform-speed winding motion, not to do wrestling. She has to be careful about how much resistance she applies to counteract the man and avoid being heavy.

The man, on the other hand, should avoid putting pressure on the woman's waist, as this may restrict her movement. A tall man should use his stomach rather than chest to lead a short woman. He should avoid leaning forward too much or bending his torso against the woman, because that may cause her to bend backwards if she does not have a strong back. As her strength and balance improve, she may sustain more pressure, lean more on the man to expand her movement possibility, or even want the man to hold her intimately on her waist. Men often see experienced dancers dance this or that way, and some may try to imitate them before their partner is ready. Keep in mind that tango can be danced in many ways. One should choose a way that suits the ability of one's partner.

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