I Don’t Dance Close Embrace

Tango Tia: I recently moved to a city that has a large tango community. I have only danced salon style and almost everyone here dances close embrace. When I tell some partners that I only dance open they say things like, “Let’s just try dancing close” and pull me against them. I love tango but am not interested in dancing smacked up against someone. How should I handle this? I Don’t Dance Close Embrace.

Dear Don’t Dance Close Embrace: Some men have the etiquette skills of a gnat and you seem to have found a few. Observe who leads both open and close, make yourself available to them, and when they invite you to dance, request to dance open. If they object in any way, think “gnat” and remember that the next time they ask you to dance. When you feel brave or curious enough, ask someone you connect well with to show you what close embrace feels like. Unique Tango Phenomenon: we dance torso to torso without being intimate in “that” way. You’re missing some of tango’s great pleasures.


  1. Bill Swan says

    To some, myself included, close embrace tango and open embrace tango are two completely different dances. I suggest at a milonga with mostly close embrace dancers, a follow has the absolute right to decline a close embrace, but a lead has an equal right not to dance open. This seems to work with little upset when done with a kind voice. My inside-my-head comment is, I don’t dance Foxtrot, either. Look around.

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