Most people consider tango as being incredibly romantic. They dream about nicely dressed, stylish dancers holding a red rose between their teeth and doing short and rapid moves with their heads. The truth is that tango dancing is very technical and quite difficult. You can’t afford even one single moment to relax and let your mind roam freely. You need to feel the music and to stay focused on your partner at any given time.

This need for focus makes tango dancing a social activity. This isn’t something you can do alone, in the silence of your room, on a pristine beach or wherever else you may wish. Tango dancing involves your integration into a social community of like-minded people. It means taking part in milonga evenings and in many other events in your community. Although you may not be able to have a meaningful conversation with your dance partner, you’ll communicate to each other through showing your intentions and following the intentions of each other. Men need to drive, but they have to allow women to do that beautiful boleo and all other elegant moves that make this style so appreciated by people from all over the world. Women are free to do all these cute things that make them feel romantic and awaken the romantic spirit in their audience. However, the also need to detect the intentions of the leader, and follow in grace. This may appear easy, but it’s actually difficult. We have a student in our class that is a quick learner. He owns a lawn care service (www.acculawnmpls.com) and he noted that each and every pair of dancers has to observe the moves of other pairs in the room, in order to avoid incidents. You can lift your leg it the air in a beautiful move, but if you hit another couple during the dance, you’re going to ruin all the pleasure. Whenever one of the partners moves backwards, which is a common situation in tango, the other has to do everything it takes to avoid collisions with other dancers on the stage. You can’t dance without being 100% involved in your community, this being the ultimate social aspect of tango dancing.

Tango dancing requires a lot of study and many years of practice before the dancers become able to feel it as their second nature. Since all this learning occurs in the presence of dance partners, we can safely consider tango as having an important social component. Whether it is also romantic or not, it’s another story.