Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of humanity, connection, love, unity, harmony and beauty, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us into individuals, but tango unites us into a team, community 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, accommodation, 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 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 was in its infancy and childhood, we relied heavily on each other for survival, everything was shared. Fraternity, cooperation and Good Samaritanism were our first nature. Doctrines like individualism, personal liberty and individual rights appeared 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 selfishness, greed, competition, aggression, inequality, monopoly, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the influence of money on politics, the spread of obscenity and violence, gun culture, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, single parent family, LGBTQIAPK, etc., all in the name of individual rights and personal freedom. "O Liberty! O Liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!" - grieved Madame Jeanne-Marie Roland. Mankind now is in its adolescence too self-centric to understand the relation between personal freedom and common interests of the species as a whole. (See The World Needs a Different Philosophy.)

Perhaps the most important lessons that tango teaches us are that we are interdependent rather than independent, that we need each other to succeed, that our well-being is inseparable from that of others, that one cannot be happy unless all are happy, that cooperation and sharing serve us better than animosity and competition, that human rights are the communal rights of the mankind as a species, not just personal rights, and that self-discipline and compassion are important attributes of what makes us human. Tango tells the other side of the human story. It awakens the better part of the humanity in us and suggests the 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 team, 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.