Couple dancing tango

Tango as a representation of life and couple relationship.

“Tango is one of the most beautiful, elegant, and sensual dances of modern times. Tango provides metaphors for our lives on and off the dance floor, especially as it relates to being single and/or in a relationship. Tango is more than a dance. It can also teach us a lot about how to grow as people, individually and in relationship. Tango has the capacity to heal issues that we are or not aware of.

One of the most powerful searches in tango is the search for being in axis. Being in your axis in dance means using the energy of the floor to find your own balance in your body, so no matter what you are doing, Tango is paradoxical.

The complexity of life is reflected back to us with two opposite things being true at the same time. The beautiful paradox of tango is you have two people who are leaning in toward each other, absolutely connected, exchanging energy through a chest-to-chest heart connection in an abrazo (hug), but each one of them should be so solid in their axis that if the other person disappears he or she does not fall down. He or she stays standing because she is rooted in her axis. When you and your partner have both the connection to each other and the connection to their own bodies in their own axis, you have magic. When you get all floppy in your core the dynamic falls apart. One person starts putting pressure on the other.

The dynamic of Tango can be compared to a romantic relationship. When we get floppy in terms of our own personal alignment in life, the connection suffers because we prioritise the connection with the other over the connection with ourselves. When we’re single, we lose our axis when we think we need to change who we are to attract someone, or when we think there’s something wrong with us or our lives because we are romantically alone. When we’re in a relationship, we lose our axis when we stop doing things we love and become fused. We change who we are to please the other; he likes golf, I’ll like golf, and so on. We get obsessed and let a relationship or its demise determine our self-worth. We fear being alone and don’t feel we can be alone.

In the dance, as in life, it’s not like you find your axis once and stay there in perfect alignment (unless you are a professional dancer, maybe, with perfect posture). You find it, you lose it, and you find it in your body again. Dancing and life is a process of learning how to sustain your axis more and more consistently over time. You lose your balance. You realise you lost it. You reset. We do the same thing in our lives as we lose our centres and then come back to them again. The question is whether we notice and how quickly we recover back to ourselves”

Extract from an article written by Sasha Cagen, is the author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, a relationship coach, and a tango fanatic.