One of the most important rules in tango is not to blame, criticize or teach your dance partner. Milongueros follow this code strictly because they know the consequence. Recently, two of my students had a big fight. It started out of perhaps a very good intention to help. She said something about his leading. He defended himself and said something about her following. The conversation escalated to insults and ended up with two broken hearts. They perhaps will not dance with each other again.
Learning tango is like learning a language and it takes about as long. Anyone less than five years in tango is a novice. Novices are the most frustrated people. They want to dance well but don’t know how. There are so many things they don’t know, including rules and manners. Each of them has loads of problems, and they all have opinions on each other. Experienced dancers don’t dance with them. So they stick together and blame each other for their own problems. The irony of “the pot calls the kettle black” is that they are two of a kind. When one blames the other for being stiff, the other is likely thinking the same. By the time they have learned the steps, feelings are hurt and relationships broken.
Beginners often don’t realize that, whether you like it or not, the people who are learning tango with you are the most important people in your tango life. You will likely dance with them for a long time. There are only limited people in each tango community. These are the people called together by fate. It’s better to accept each other and give each other time to improve. In real life, if you like someone you tell her how beautiful she is. If you say she is ugly, she will not go out with you. You do the same thing in tango if you want to dance with someone. Always say good things about one’s dance even if you are asked for an honest opinion. How many husbands are kicked out of bed after giving their wives their honest opinion? Remember, tango is not just a dance. It is the art of love.