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.

March 15, 2016

The Spirit of Tango

One of the greatest human limitations besides our short life span, is our self-centeredness. We think first and often only from personal perspective, and we act first and often only for personal interests. 

But mankind is not always like that. When humanity is in its infancy and childhood, we rely heavily on each other for survival, everything is shared; brotherhood, cooperation and Good Samaritanism are our first nature. Doctrines like individualism, human rights and personal liberty appear much later in human history, and are still imperfect theories, or in many ways even adverse to the best human interests overall, as attested by greed, selfishness, fierce competition, inequality, polarization, monopolist and fraudulent business practices, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the spread of pornography and violence, the influence of money on politics, the destruction of the environment, the alienation of marriage, the disintegration of family, homosexualism, and gun culture, etc., all in the name of individual rights and freedom. Mankind is still in its adolescence too self-centric to understand the relation between personal interests and communal interests. (See The World Needs a Different Philosophy.) 

Perhaps the most important lessons that tango teaches us are that we need each other, that we are interdependent rather than independent, that our well-being is inseparable from that of others, that we cannot be happy unless all are happy, that cooperation and sharing serve us better than competition, that human rights are the communal rights of the mankind as a species, not just personal rights, and that self-discipline and self-control are important attributes of what make us human. Tango tells the other side of the human story. It awakens the better part of the humanity in us, I hope, and suggests a way for us to live together in peace and harmony through cooperation, generosity in spirit, loftiness of purpose, and altruism. Wherever we go and dance, tango always reminds us that love, despite our many limitations, is what holds us together as a couple, community, people, nation, and species. (See The Freedom in Tango.) 


  1. Yes, it awakens the humanity in us. I go to the store and my conversation with another human being is reduced to “Paper or plastic?” I call the 800 number for service, and I’m gated through a set of scripted questions sandwiched between an insincere greeting, and a faux expression of appreciation of patronage that always sounds like “thank you for shopping at K-mart.” At the office I’m subordinated to the hierarchy, whether they are reasonable or not. My job is getting my inflexible computer to reflect the work product required by the human stakeholders. Here the ostensible platitudes are teamwork, cooperation, and service. Just under that veneer lays the narcissism, bullying, and desire to win at any cost. A ten minute tanda is a radical response to the dehumanizing reality of modern day-to-day living. It is an opportunity for two humans to embrace each other in the promotion of humanity. Don’t let the precious opportunity slip away because your partner isn’t a good enough dancer, tall enough, young enough, old enough, attractive enough, friendly enough……..whatever enough. Every embrace has a story – dance with it.

    1. Thank you for your sound advice, I will follow it when I dance.