The addictive, sinful dance of Tango...

Post date: Jul 4, 2015 3:07:50 AM

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Would you call yourself a tango addict, or do your friends call you such? One of my older students, an Aussie male in his late 60s used to say he'd never tell his mates about his tango, kept his dancing habit private likening it to a 'drinking problem.' 

According to recent scientific studies tango is literally addictive.  Based on these studies, tango can be classified as an addiction based on to several psychiatric guidelines. Although the consequences of this addiction were primarily positive, many dancers reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they didn’t dance, even including “sadness, feeling uncomfortable and leg prickling.” Maybe this finally explains the dancing epidemic of 1518?

And would you call yourself a sinner?  An association in Southern Turkey recently demanded that tango dancing be banned due to its sinful nature, calling it 'adultery on foot'. 

The Catholic Church has certainly changed its mind on the sinfulness of tango. Once considered a sure path to damnation it was enlisted late last November to celebrate Pope Francis' 70th birthday. Thousands of tango lovers converged on Vatican Square to tango for the popular Argentinian born pope who has expressed a fondness for the dance of his people.

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 Pope Francis loves his mate and tango

So what makes it so addictive? I'd respond emphatically that it's all to do with the beautiful tango embrace. Take that away and I doubt that the phenomenon of tango addiction would exist. Take that away and it wouldn't be tango anyway. The embrace is an intrinsic part of the dance that makes it unique from other partner dances.

Click here to read a blog post by the Tango Therapist on the phenomenon of tango addiction...

Here's an excerpt I particularly liked...


'One of my favorite words in German is "Streicheleinheiten," which literally means "units of caressing." People get these units from cuddling with people they love or one's dog might desire some of these "units." Tango gives me "hug units" and "dance-to-the-music units," and "social interaction units." I think the world needs "tango units," because we--the speaking-music-making-dancing-social animal--needs these units...'

Here's a quote (not from the above post - origin unknown) about hugging that I feel relates so much to how we embrace in tango. 

"We should hug; not the forced intimacy or oppressive bonhomie of most modern hugs, but the melancholy sympathetic way Botticelli’s angels do it, having come down to earth to offer comfort to humans for the brute facts of earthly existence..." 

- The Book of Life

north sydney tango lessons

image by: Maurio Moreno

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