The Benefits of Tango Dancing for Employee Relations in Tech Companies

Have you ever finished up with work at your office and thought: Wouldn’t it be great to have a yoga studio, dance space, or gym in the same building?

Only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity. This is especially true for tech jobs – from software to data analytics to fintech – that are particularly demanding, involve long periods of solitude, and require you to be in an office setting. Therefore, employees gravitate towards exceptional workplaces and those that allow them to sneak exercise into their working day.

HR Tech Interview with Roberto Masiero, SVP of Innovation at ADP

As physical and mental health is at the forefront of people’s minds post-pandemic, companies will have to be innovative in their approach to encourage employee retention. Dancing, and Tango specifically, has physical and mental health benefits – that’s a known fact. But teamwork and leadership skills are also enhanced through partner work and Tango’s close embrace.

In fact, if you have a technology-focused or marketing mind, you are pretty much guaranteed to be good at Tango dancing. However, if you are still feeling skeptical, here’s why Tango should be adopted in the workplace.

Why Tech, Marketing, and Tango Go Hand in Hand

Let’s take digital marketing – it is a dynamic and energetic profession. Marketers work with data and research, know how to interpret metrics, build connections between brands and users, and work in a team.

Tango aligns nicely with these requirements: Not only does it have a sensual side to enhance communication skills, but it has a strong mathematical element. A form of numerical thinking is needed to make judgments about rotation and velocity, predicting where one’s partner will end up, and controlling one’s own body.

Marketing is also about communications, outward expression, looking at what makes people tick, and learning how to grab the attention of a particular audience. But what about yourself? Tango allows for a reflective time where dancers can focus on internalizing their experience of the music, engaging in the meditation of movement, and concentrating on the close embrace.

The embrace offers a physically intimate and inwardly oriented space for a dance conversation between a couple. This is vital because it is a blank canvas to learn how to read people. You can take that back to work to read clients, colleagues, and industry insights.

Tango Doesn’t Discriminate

Can’t imagine your introverted colleague Greg attending a dance class?

Think again.

HR Tech Interview with Anna Sannö, Research Strategy Manager at Volvo Construction Equipment

All the Tango dancers at my studio who work as IT specialists, software or web developers, mathematicians, and professors are attracted to the dance to build relationships. When you work with computers or numbers all day, you also need emotional connections. The socialization aspect of Tango classes encourages the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence, which brings people together across departments.

When you look across the HR palette of a tech company, you’ll likely see talented business strategists, operations experts, and visionary marketers. But beyond their job descriptions are people with diverse backgrounds, characters, and interests. These may intersect in unexpected ways, and finding a way to connect a team through activity, such as a game or shared hobby, brings many benefits. Tango promotes connections between people from different backgrounds, regardless of gender, age, or whatever label society imposes.

Let’s use an example of a Thai massage. If you move someone’s arm 50 times, the brain will pick up on the movement, allowing someone to relearn a particular action. If you bring Tango into company culture, people will start saying: “I talked to that guy from sales. He’s not that bad after all.”

Tango is the catalyst to start building relationships and learning about the people you work with to implement changes for the future.

De-Stress With Active breaks

Stress costs US businesses an estimated $300 billion a year. Tango could help resolve this as it has been seen to stimulate the area of the brain involved in emotional processes and release endorphins, lowering the risk of mental health conditions like anxiety.

Workplaces are highly stressful environments and navigating different norms and expectations only adds to that. With dance, you can break down these barriers and cultivate easy, positive interactions across the team and internal hierarchies.

Furthermore, the intense focus required to follow the music, steps, and a partner exhausts and exhilarates simultaneously, which is why Tango is referred to as walking meditation. The inward observation encourages people to become aware of the state of their body, allowing them to clear their minds when feeling overwhelmed.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Many technical innovations are characterized by transferability. Without that, they will not succeed or be scalable. You simply need to see the whole picture and figure out how someone with zero experience could feel looking at your work.

This is a huge aspect of what is holding back some innovations in the tech industry: distrust and misunderstanding. For example, code needs to be written immaculately so that others can add to it efficiently at a later date.

The fascinating thing about Tango is that you can never just think about yourself, just like creating a SaaS application or particular code. You are partnered with a specific follower or leader on a particular dance floor for a specific song. A whole moment is created on that spot, in that bubble, but you also have to acknowledge the 20 people on a dance floor and be aware of your surroundings.

As a leader in Tango or as a CEO, if a follower looks uncertain or lost, so does the leader. You must pay attention to the full picture and give accurate instructions at all times.

How Can Tango Classes Be Implemented?

Access to classes on Zoom – like a free Tango dancing membership as the equivalent to a gym membership or course on Udemy – is a great start. But it’s better to have a program in the flesh that encourages everyone in the company to participate.

I would simply state to your employees that every Thursday lunchtime for a month there will be a Tango class. Of course, they should take all the necessary precautions since Tango requires close proximity. But since Covid-19, people have been forced to learn and pick up new hobbies, so this is the perfect opportunity to encourage them to try Tango too.

Colleagues that dance and laugh together, stay together. As well as opening up endless opportunities for inclusion and a myriad of physical and mental health benefits, the required technical ability and improvisation attracts people from a range of backgrounds and fields. Tango is the answer to many HR issues that office spaces face.

[To share your insights with us, please write to]