Tango Lesson: The Tango Embrace

The Tango relationship begins with the embrace. Traditionally, the closeness of the dance embrace is dictated by the female or follower. However, as one begins to explore the many steps and styles of tango, one begins to develop a more fluid embrace, which may gracefully transform along with the melody. Sometimes, a close embrace serves to accentuate a pause or conversely support an unexpected acceleration. An open embrace, on the other hand, allows for more dramatic interpretation, employing broader kicks and figures.

Ultimately, all genuine partnerships require this fluidity: The confidence to engage closely, nurture trust in one another and offer support, while providing space for growth and self-expression. A close embrace can become restrictive and suffocating.

One of my cousins once told me, "If a man holds his relationship with a woman upon his open palm, he can carry a large mound of substance. But if he holds this within his closed fist, he eventually holds nothing."

As doctors, we must remember that our patients are autonomous individuals. We offer the embrace, we offer the lead, we offer guidance and support. But they are ultimately in control of their choices and their healing.