After several years of lessons and social dancing I've absorbed most customs and values of the local tango community. For a good part of that time, though, there were terms used by teachers and fellow dancers that I never quite understood. Some I still don't. To take four: "axis," "into the floor," tango as a "philosophy" and a "way of life." - "Axis" was only briefly confusing. It refers (I think) to the imaginary line through head, torso and abdomen to the WEIGHT-BEARING leg and foot. If this is correct, the concept is useful and easy to understand. Still, I think it may confuse beginners. For a long time, I envisioned my axis as an imaginary pole running through my head and spine, down into the floor between my legs. Ugh. And not just ugh; this error had me thinking that my axis was some kind of balance point between the two halves of my body, and that kept me from understanding that my axis, and my partner's, shifted each time we took a step. - What does "into the floor" mean? Gravity holds all of us down. Some great tango dancers take heel leads and some take ball leads, so that can't be the key. Does it mean, "Don't rise up as is done in ballroom waltz or foxtrot?" OK, but I NEVER rise that way in tango, and my feet are usually flat on the floor. When my teacher tells me to be more "into the floor," I'm sure she is right and that I am doing something wrong, but at times I don't know how I could be any more "into" the floor without taking a jackhammer to the hardwood. She probably means I need to flex the knees more and eliminate any rise of my torso and shoulders, etc. I just wish the phrase would be replaced with something clearer for all students. It's also worth noting that even when ballroom dancers rise high on the balls of their feet, they are pressing INTO THE FLOOR. Don't physics majors at Stanford who dance tango ever gripe about this fuzzy term? - Finally, I sometimes hear or read that tango is not just a dance but a "way of life" and a "philosophy." Taking those terms seriously, I'd like to know they mean in this context. There are (not many!) other dances that I enjoy and respect as much as tango, but I'd never consider any of them as ways of life or philosophies. When people use these terms, are they talking about the rules and mores of the milonga -- dressing appropriately, the cabeceo, respecting the line of dance, protecting the woman, dancing for her and the music rather than for the spectators, etc.? If so, except for the cabeceo, these values are shared by all dances or ought to be. I'm in favor of dancing a lot of tango and respecting its culture. I just wondered if the philosophy and way of life referred to something broader or deeper than that.