Cultivating Relationships With Women In Tango

“It’s not what we have in our life, but who we have that matters”

In a night of dancing, women could theoretically go the whole night without talking to one another. The same can be said for the men, but I cannot speak to their experience. Because of this, we must work “harder” to cultivate these relationships, but it is incredibly rewarding. I am so grateful for the amazing, intelligent, beautiful women that tango has brought into my life! Without them I probably would have had a nervous break down a long time ago. They have been there for me on my hardest days, and encourage me to dream bigger than I believe possible.

A funny thing happens in a large tango community- we don’t talk to someone when we begin, and then after several years in the same room we still haven’t said anything to them. Maybe you have graduated to saying hi and smiling, from the previous avoiding making eye contact. I have realized how ridiculous it is, and I am trying to get better about it. Simply talking to someone is the first step to discovering that you may actually have a lot in common! At the very least it is polite. We all are a bit shy when it comes to introductions. I’ve come to learn that two of my good friends could have no idea who the other person is! Especially two women or two men. Introducing two friends is a simple way for us to all to widen our networks, and makes a potentially intimidating environment more friendly.

I have been attempting to lead more often. Not only is it great for expanding my understanding of the dance, but it allows me to interact with more women. The women in my community are incredibly supportive of each other exploring the other role, and that makes me so happy! We become better followers when we understand what the leader is trying to communicate. (Also the women are much more concerned about my comfort and safety, just saying boys…).

Two words- clothes swaps. Talking to women at milongas is great. There are days when I just want to catch up with friends and not dance much. But at the end of the day, we all came to dance! Deeper conversations are hard to have when competing with the loud music, and both of you are antsy, wanting to dance. Spending time with women outside of tango is a great way to relax and get to know each other better. I love to do clothes swaps. We all bring our gently used clothing (and often spare tango shoes…) and spend the afternoon snacking and exchanging. It gives the clothing new life, and we can all focus on each other. Whatever isn’t taken back gets donated!

“There is no perfect relationship. All relationships are work. If you put in the work, you’ll reap the rewards.”

-Jesse Metcalfe

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