Real couples dancing Tango...Can it hurt them?

#1
My partner and I are in a committed relationship for 2 years now. Years ago he used to take up tango and really enjoyed it. The other day when his friends mentioned if he and I should take up tango together, my boyfriend firmly disagreed and said that it is a very bad idea for real couples to dance tango together, because it hurts and breaks the relationship due to the fact that each person can end up criticizing one another. He said he has witnessed this with many couples.

I have never danced tango so I cannot say I am an expert in this area. But I thought that it would be healthy and romantic for 2 people who love each other to try dancing together. But can learning the dance hurt the relationship?

IF we were to tango together, I can say that I have not danced tango at all and would be a complete beginner, whereas he wouldnt be.

What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together? Is it healthy or can it be damaging?
 
#2
My wife and I dance and have seen many other couples. How you, as a couple behave in Tango is similar to how you will behave outside of it. If you are inclined to criticize each other, it doesn't matter if it's Tango or how you cook a meal, clean the house or split up any other type of activity. Tango does intensify certain aspects of relationships such as tolerance of one another's different skill levels and how you learn together, jealousy - as you will dance with other partners who are more attractive, more skilled. As a generalization, I would say it's a great test of how you will work together if you keep your relationship going. Specifically, yes...there is a slight chance that you are wonderful together and the only thing you both couldn't handle is Tango. But, I think it's telling that your partner is already judging that you both could not Tango with one another.

If he really thinks that working through the difficulties of learning together is 'too much', then what will happen when you are challenged with some other learning experience in your relationship? And, how will you feel (how are you feeling?) knowing that he has prejudged. Clearly it's bothering you somewhat as your are here asking. With my wife and me, we have to be thoughtful and caring when providing feedback. It's too easy to blame the other so it requires some discipline to be kind and empathetic.
 
#3
It depends on a couple. Personally, I see no problem dancing together with my SO, and with other people.
From my observations, if there is a problem, there are also a lot of way a couple handles it. Some never dance with each other, but continue to practice dancing separately. Others stop dancing all together. Also, of course, there are lots of couple who dance both together and with other people, with or without restrictions. It is not impossible at all to be a dancing couple and happy with the relationship.
 
#5
I wish to add: although I agree with the previous message -- learning together shall not present an imminent problem for a couple, as we learn a lot of things with each other every day in the process of life, and we help and support each other along the way. But if learning to dance happens to present a problem, you don't have to learn Tango together. There are instructors and other students for that. :)
 

DerekWeb

Well-Known Member
#6
It is possible that you already are critical of each other in non-Tango parts of your relationship, which is the reason for his fear.
 
#7
Causing the said apprehension toward taking up dancing together, there might be a number of fears, insecurities, etc. Some are founded, others may be biases or even irrational. The deal is, when we are a couple, we cannot just dismiss them... we do have to consider them.
 
#8
My SO was a beginner in tango and I was six month ahead.
That was not enough because she's talented (of course) and developed fast (as expected):
Step 1 - 1 month gone:
She asked for a better connection. After some time I got that fixed.
Step 2 - 3 months gone:
She asked for more clearness and energy in the lead.
I was only able to fix that partly ("I enjoyed some dances, really").
Step 3 - 6 months gone:
She asked for better musicality, her accordance with a chummy female leader was much better.
And *that's* something I cannot fix in a year, may be I get some quick wins after a few months!

And apart from simply learning tango, gender balance and invitation might impose some specifics to milongas.
A follower might convenient follow after some months, a leader might struggle even after a year.
We both have been prepared the see us dancing intimate with other partners.
But I was really offended when she told me that I should not sit next to her so that she would get invitations.
And she was really offended when I danced non stop for the next two hours and she sat on her chair.

P.S.: I do not complain nor say that it's inevitable nor need advice - I just share my experience.
 
#9
Your partner either doesn't want you in his "Tango world" - wants to keep it for himself, or maybe is embarrassed for you to find out his real knowledge of Tango dancing...
Twenty years ago, when I met who would become my wife, I had no knowledge of Tango (we met dancing Ballroom). She encouraged me to take lessons and even though she already Tangoed for years, went with me to beginners classes and privates. Two years later we got married and never stopped dancing!
 
#10
My partner and I are in a committed relationship for 2 years now. Years ago he used to take up tango and really enjoyed it. The other day when his friends mentioned if he and I should take up tango together, my boyfriend firmly disagreed and said that it is a very bad idea for real couples to dance tango together, because it hurts and breaks the relationship due to the fact that each person can end up criticizing one another. He said he has witnessed this with many couples.

I have never danced tango so I cannot say I am an expert in this area. But I thought that it would be healthy and romantic for 2 people who love each other to try dancing together. But can learning the dance hurt the relationship?

IF we were to tango together, I can say that I have not danced tango at all and would be a complete beginner, whereas he wouldnt be.

What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together? Is it healthy or can it be damaging?
Hello Goldie, I think if there will be a problem between you and him, it wont be about tango, it will be about personalities. Even if not you dance tango, you share a life, you can critisize each other without breaking the other's heart.
 
#11
Hello Goldie, I think if there will be a problem between you and him, it wont be about tango, it will be about personalities. Even if not you dance tango, you share a life, you can critisize each other without breaking the other's heart.
 
#12
Years ago he used to take up tango and really enjoyed it. The other day when his friends mentioned if he and I should take up tango together, my boyfriend firmly disagreed
Remember your thread in december 2015: in your long distance partnership that time you have been bothered that he joined a tango event and he was jealous of your belly dancing.
Now in a short distance you would like to get benefit of his tango dancing years ago.
It might need some more tact and intuition than a joking friend to lead him that way now.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#14
IF we were to tango together, I can say that I have not danced tango at all and would be a complete beginner, whereas he wouldnt be.

What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together? Is it healthy or can it be damaging?
It could be either, depending on the couple.

Here are some reasons why it could be bad in your situation:
As a beginner, you would be (mostly) in different classes, (and the teachers might have a different style or philosophy from your partner).
You would have to deal with the likely scenario, that you wouldn't be one of his favorite dance partners for quite some time.
Also, there's a fair chance that you could possibly receive lots of feedback from him (that you might not want to hear), and since you are a beginner, there's a real chance that he wouldn't be very receptive to any feedback you might have.

Reasons why it might be good:
It's a great thing to travel to events together.
It might (over time) bring you closer together (although it likely won't in the short term).
To be honest, I would much prefer to be with someone who did tango, than not.


In the end, it will depend on your relationship and both your expectations, more than anything intrinsic about tango itself. Also, if you (or him) are the jealous type, I would say it likely won't turn out well.
 
#15
I wish to share a story that happened a while ago. There was this lady who came to our school, frantic. She met an interesting guy on the internet, they hit it off, started a remote/long distance relationship, and were scheduled to go on an extended trip together to get to know each other better in person. The guy told her:
"I have to warn you: I dance Argentine Tango!" and was all, like, it was very important for him that she could dance, and they would dance together. She sensed it was a deal breaker for him that she could dance, and was all worried as she was not a "dance person".
So, she wanted to prepare, at least try to learn some Tango for their encounter not to be a complete disaster.
The lady started her lessons, and turned out to be a great student. She had learned very fast, and was doing great in classes and milongas. Still, she was not sure whether it was enough, as her bf sounded very advanced and demanding.
Finally, she traveled and met her new boyfriend, and guess what? He turned out to be not so good of a dancer! In fact, he knew next to nothing about Tango. After a few months of instructions and dancing in our local milongas, she was much more experienced and better than him at Tango. Needless to say, her expectations were totally shattered. :)
The thing is, he lived in a remote place that could be characterized as a "tango desert", and ours is a large and thriving community, with several milongas every night, and many everyday visitors from all over the world.
What is the moral of the story? I guess, never assume? :)
 
#16
The biggest challenge I see to starting tango as a couple is the tendency to only dance with each other. It could be because dancing with strangers is intimidating when you're new. (So why not just dance with each other until you're both good?) Or because from a non-tango perspective, tango is an intimate/sensual/sexy/romantic dance. (So we couldn't possibly dance that way with a stranger.)

But if you only dance with one other person, and you're both new/newish, it's going to slow down your progress considerably. You're going to have mostly just frustrating dances for a long time. You'll only be interested in a couple dances a night, because who wants to flail awkwardly with the same 2 moves all night with one other person? You're unlikely to get a glimpse of the things that make tango addictive--a delicious embrace or a random moment of musical bliss. It doesn't take much for you two to start criticizing and blaming each other for the lack of progress. You've set yourselves up for discouragement, and if one of you loses steam, is the dance ruined for both of you?

So, I would bet that it's really critical for people who want to "learn tango together" to: think of it more as "learning tango in parallel" with each other; to give each other plenty of space at classes and events; to branch out and dance with lots of other people; to think of the "couples" benefit mostly being about getting to compare notes, debrief, and offer encouragement outside of the dance. Because it's going to take at least a few months of independent learning for each of you before you're going to get to have good dances with each other.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#18
My partner and I are in a committed relationship for 2 years now. What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together?
OK, this is not going to be popular with many if not most of the posters above, but here it is. This topic has been discussed many, many times before (where is Terps when we need him?), and you can find many opinions there. However, the bottom line is this....

If you and your partner are in a real committed relationship, then your boyfriend would not have said such a ridiculous thing. Yes, all of the crap that others have posted has been true in one sense or another, but these are all the actions of persons who haven't a clue what real relationships pr real dancing is really about. If you guys are in a truly committed relationship, then something that brings joy to so many, including him, would not have an adverse affect on it. Your love for one another and the joys of dancing should only make the tango better, and a better experience for the both of you, separately and together. If he has issues with your dancing with others, then the issue is not your dancing with others, but someething that needs to be faced in your lives and life together.

Next comes the dance. Tango is a dance. It is not different than all other dances. If there would be a problem with your dancing tango, then there should/would be a problem with your dancing swing, foxtrot, salsa, or hip hop. All of the crap about the tango being more intimate, or sexy, or sensuous, or meaningful, or difficult, or feeling, or whatever than other dances, is exactly that...crap. It is a dance. Every dance brings something unique and special to the dance floor that, in turn, creates or will illicit something unique and special in the dancer who dances it. We love, we feel, we internalize, we interpret, we share our inner most selves with the dance and our partners because that what dance is. It is also....

why we take it so personally. Now comes the last hurdle for 'real' couples who dance... remembering that they are a couple that is dancing, and not 2 persons dancing as a couple. When we are truly dancing, then disagreeing, arguing, or becoming disillusioned with our partners is, literally, a physical impossibility. We cannot eat until we are full, and still be hungry, or laugh at a funny story and be sad, or be filled with the real joys of dancing and be angry at our partners (especially if they are a SO). If we are experiencing negative thoughts, feelings, or actions, then we are not really dancing, we are just going through some steps with music playing. As a student, then teacher watching other studeents, I have never understood the rationale of feeling as though while I am learning the steps, movements, music, rhythms, leads, follows, floorcraft, interpretations, and variations of my part that I can have the audacity to even remotely believe that I would know what my partner should be doing with either of those same things to the point where I could be angry with them for not being right, or telling them what they should be doing. Of course, I have danced with persons whom I did not enjoy dancing with, but I still enjoyed the dance because that what dancing is and does, and if there came a time when I was not enjoying the dance with my SO, my first reaction was/is to give her the extra mile because she is the SO and deserves it because that is what dancing is and does.

So, if dancing is what the 2 of you enjoy, and tango is what he like the most, and tango is what you wish to do (partly for both of these reasons), then go for it.
 
#19
FWIW, I ask my wife to stand or sit apart from me if she wants to dance with others. Sometimes we'll just put an empty chair between us, so we can still talk. This has made for a clear signal when she is available. It has helped eliminate some socially awkward moments, like when I say "Awesome song!" and grab her hand just as she had accepted a cabeceo from someone else. Also, I noticed that there were men that seemed very nervous about even cabeceoing her when I was near. I think it was a case they knew they were breaking some social rules (ethnic rules? Buenos Aires rules? I'm not sure.). These gentlemen seem much more at ease about asking when DW is not right next to me. Anyway, this was a long way to say I think your SO's request was reasonable and can avoid some awkwardness if you switch partners.

You let your girl sit for 2 hours straight? Maybe that wasn't the best relationship thing? You could have asked her every other tanda and still made your point.
... I was really offended when she told me that I should not sit next to her so that she would get invitations. And she was really offended when I danced non stop for the next two hours and she sat on her chair. ...
 
#20
FWIW, Tango has been good for my marriage, but it was already good before Tango. It didn't change my DW, but it has changed Mr. Not-Touchy-Feely here for the better.
Now for the flip side, a lady ended a tanda with me by saying "I hate Tango." We talked for some time, and the basic issue was she hated seeing him dancing with other ladies. It did not help that she was a newbie, radiated some bad vibes, and wasn't getting asked much.
I am often surprised how many married ladies go to dances alone.
Some of my observations:
  • A fair number of couples don't switch in the beginner's class, but they all start switching in the 2nd class.
  • You have to be ready to see your SO in close contact with the other gender, looking blissful
  • Rather than discuss who is right about how to do something, I found the cure was to video the instructors, and when there was a disagreement to pull out the video and refer to it for the right way to do something.
  • Be ready for the purchase of many Tango skirts and shoes. Ask your man what he likes in skirts/dresses/shoes.
  • At a new venue, often you won't get asked until are seen dancing -- so it is a good turn to start the night by dancing a tanda with you SO.
  • Sit apart if you want you want to get asked more.
  • Realize that Tango is the kind of activity where the lady tends to make male friends and the man tends to make female friends.
  • Always wear your engagement or wedding ring when dancing.
My partner and I are in a committed relationship for 2 years now. Years ago he used to take up tango and really enjoyed it. The other day when his friends mentioned if he and I should take up tango together, my boyfriend firmly disagreed and said that it is a very bad idea for real couples to dance tango together, because it hurts and breaks the relationship due to the fact that each person can end up criticizing one another. He said he has witnessed this with many couples.

I have never danced tango so I cannot say I am an expert in this area. But I thought that it would be healthy and romantic for 2 people who love each other to try dancing together. But can learning the dance hurt the relationship?

IF we were to tango together, I can say that I have not danced tango at all and would be a complete beginner, whereas he wouldnt be.

What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together? Is it healthy or can it be damaging?
 

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