Tango is the dance of harmony.

For just a few moments, you can feel in total harmony with your partner, the music and yourself. Perhaps this explains tango’s universal appeal and addictive quality. Because isn’t harmony something that we are all ultimately seeking? And don’t we all wish those moments could last forever?

But of course it’s not that simple. No one is born dancing tango and inevitably there will be bumps along the way. Still our desire for harmony and those brief experiences we have of it, spur us on.

So what happens when tango – a passion you share with your partner – becomes a source of dis-harmony in your relationship?

Although most people in tango do not have fixed partner, there are many tango couples out there. Some decide to start tango together after already establishing their relationship. Others meet each other while on their tango journey, whether in a tango class or tango event.

If you are a lover of tango, this probably seems like the holy grail. You can share your love of tango with your life partner. You can send him/her your favourite video clips, a piece of music you’ve discovered, talk tango and most importantly: dance tango. Together.

But is it really the pot of gold you’ve been searching for?


When I went to Buenos Aires in the early noughties – well before I met David – I started seeing a fellow tango dancer, whom I met in a milonga.

He had been dancing tango just one year longer than me but at the time that felt like an eternity! He was talented, young, and received a constant stream of compliments from teachers and milongueros. He aspired to be a professional tango dancer and was already doing bits and pieces on the professional circuit. So when he asked me if I would like to practice with him every day, I snapped at the chance. In fact, I couldn’t believe my luck.

I was desperate to learn and wanted to be corrected on every little detail of my dance. Despite lacking confidence in myself, I had no qualms about being told I was doing everything wrong.

Our practice sessions started well but soon unravelled. Almost every time we practiced together, we would end up arguing. Over the two years that followed we must have spent hours of valuable practice time this way. What a waste!

Every time we met up to practice. I would swear to myself that I would hold me tongue and keep patient but time and time again, the same thing happened. Often one of us would end up storming out.

If you have experienced this in any way, you can take heart that you’re not alone. As a tango teacher, believe me, I have heard many people’s stories and indeed have seen it with my own eyes in classes.

I sometimes wonder about the countless tango couples you see on social media these days. All the glamour, the romance, the beautiful legwork. But what is their true story? There is an outward appearance of harmony but how many “scenes” behind the scenes have there been?

And why do these arguments happen to couples who share such a strong, unifying passion?

I can’t answer this, although I wish I could! Every person is a complex, multi-layered individual and when they come together with another, the story that unfolds is their own.

However there do seem to be certain recurrent themes. So if you are a tango couple desperate to save your passion but also save your relationship … or just because I’ve managed to grab your attention … read on!


When your partner is significantly more experienced or more able than you, at first it feels like the golden ticket. But it may cause issues. It creates an imbalance. Your partner may take offence at you even giving them the slightest correction, because they know so much more. And it is very difficult to receive corrections but not be able to give any feedback in return. It feels unfair. Plus nobody is perfect and you feel you should be able to voice how you feel about something, even if you have less experience than them.

Tip 1: If you are the more experienced partner, remember any feedback from any source can be valuable and everyone has something to learn no matter how experienced. Even if you know a lot more than your partner, you are dancing with them because you enjoy the experience and how they feels counts.

Tips 2: If you are the less experienced partner, calmly let your partner know that it is also important for you to express how you feel. One of you may be more experienced, but in tango, you are dancing as one.

Tip 3: You may also find that the best time for this conversation is outside of the practice session. The moment will be more calm and, with just a bit of distance, your partner may be able to see your perspective more clearly.


When you know someone very well, most of our social formalities, niceties and common courtesies fall away and we can be more direct with each other

This unfortunately can create conflict when we are correcting our partner’s dance technique. Even if they are keen to receive corrections, hearing less than complimentary feedback in (what seems to them) an abrupt way, can be hurtful and tempers can flare.

Tip: Be sensitive about the way you give feedback and consider how your partner may feel hearing it. Just prefacing your feedback with words like “I wonder if …” or “Do you think that …?” can make a world of difference. And remember also to give positive feedback! We all need this and improved self-esteem does wonders for progress.


Occasionally, someone’s passion for tango and desire for perfection can lead to them to feel frustrated with themselves. They can then project this onto their partner.

Here’s an example:

Imagine you’re trying to work on a move that you just can’t seem to get. As you try it for the zillionth time, your partner loses their balance, leans on you and hinders your movement. Your main frustration is actually with yourself but in that moment it is easier to blame your partner, You’re sure you would have got the movement if your partner just had better balance. You lose your patience. Your partner feels hurt. Anyone can lose their balance – why such an over-reaction? And actually your partner didn’t feel that stable themselves …

And so the fight begins.

The more passionate you are about tango, the more it means to you, the more time you’ve dedicated to it, the more likely this is to happen. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t get frustrated.

Sadly though, if you regularly become impatient with your partner and put them under pressure, this can be prejudicial to their progress. And you are actually increasing the likelihood of you becoming impatient again and have started a vicious cycle.

Furthermore, it is an unwinnable battle. The moment was fleeting. Who really knows what happened? Tango is so connected that it is unlikely that the fault lies solely with one party.

Tip: If you’re about to lose your patience and say something you might regret, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.


Most tango dancers are romantics at heart. But can there be a “happily ever after” in a tango relationship?

Rest assured there are many tango couples out there that have found their harmony. And each one in their own way.

If you are a tango couple and want to work on your dance together, some arguments are probably inevitable. But like most things in life, it is all a question of degree. If you still enjoy your tango experience together (most of the time), and the odd argument doesn’t harm your relationship, you’ve got it pretty good!

But if you feel the balance isn’t quite right, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take drastic action. Everyone is different but if your love for your partner and your passion for tango are strong enough, with a bit of time, communication, patience and practice, you may still be able to find your tango harmony together. And who knows? Maybe your relationship will come out of it even stronger!

I truly hope this post helps you find your harmony and you can dance together happily, and forever after.