Tango Dance Etiquette Made Simple… Women’s Issues

Women’s Issues:

Issue #1: “May I, Should I, Can I, ask a man to dance?”


(In Argentina, both women and men do the code of asking one to dance with the eyes. Because we like to think that women dancing in the U.S. should have the same opportunities as their male leaders, below are ways to approach this sensitive topic.)

a. Ask the men that are dancing at your level, or who are dancing with women of all levels.

b. Don’t limit yourself by asking men of certain height, weight or age. Men of all shapes and sizes can be lots of fun to dance with.

c. Ask club members to introduce you to possible dance partners and below are a few suggestions:

1. A smile, handshake and introduction can go a long way to melt the ice.

2. “I’m new to tango, I really like this song, would you like to dance?”

3. “My name is_______, I don’t think we have ever danced; when you hear a song you like, can we dance?”

4. “I have a dance card with your name on it, would you like to dance this song or then next?”

Don’t be shy – tango women ask tango men to dance all the time all over the world! Remember, ladies, some men are shy and fear rejection as much as any woman and once they have been asked to dance they will come back many times to ask you to dance, when they know they won’t be refused.

Issue #2: “How do I ask a man when he’s the other half of a couple?”


a. Ask the woman if she would mind lending you her significant other for a dance or two.

b. If the man is dancing openly with other women, there is no need for permissions.

c. Take your current partner and ask if you can swap your partner for her partner for a dance or two.

d. When you know there is a significant other, be friendly but not flirtatious when asking the man for a dance.

e. Avoid dance moves that are sexually suggestive and may be offensive to the partner that is watching.

Legitimate reasons for women refusing to dance:

1. You are tired, not feeling well or in need of a restroom break. Though most men will understand, some may interpret the above reasons as a personal rejection and they might not ask you to dance ever again.


a. After you have perked up, gotten your second wind, or returned from the potty, make sure you

acknowledge and dance with any and all men you refused before honoring any new dance requests.

2. The man who asks you to dance may have had too much to drink.


a. If you don’t want to end up on the floor, it is wise to say, “I’m sorry, could we dance before you start drinking in the future?”

b. Dance with someone who hasn’t compromised his/her sense of balance; tango is difficult enough without alcohol.

3. The man who asks you to dance touches you inappropriately or makes suggestive sexual remarks while on the dance floor.


a. Don’t be afraid to be direct and it is fine for you to indicate that such behavior is unacceptable; you may want to avoid this person in the future if after a second chance he exhibits the same behavior.

b. If you are not comfortable talking to the person, mention it to another member of the tango family to intervene on your behalf. This type of person is most likely new to our regular tango family, so he needs to be educated in tango etiquette As he gets to view the women he dances with as people rather than objects, his behavior will improve.

4. You are subjected to a lesson on the dance floor, he chatters constantly through the entire song or treats the dance with you as his private performance, not giving you the opportunity to contribute creatively

Solutions: Say to the person…

a. “I really enjoy it when you communicate with me silently, it helps me to hear the music much better.

b.” I really enjoy it when we are communicating together and you lead me into steps that will allow me to express myself more creatively.”

c. “I will attempt to follow you based on your lead, but if I’m not following as you would expect, can we enter into discussion after we exit the dance floor

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