In tango, maintaining balance is a fundamental but important concept (you can read an earlier post about it here). Yes, to be scientifically accurate, our sense of balance is mainly governed by the inner ear. But while dancing, we apply more physically tangible aspects: the axis, core, alignment, etc.
Not only should we be aware of our own balance, but we also need to keep track of our partner’s as well. Awareness of our partner’s balance is useful in gauging skill/comfort level, and knowing which figures they’re confident with. But when this awareness becomes a reason for one partner to control the other’s axis (even with good intentions), it becomes a big problem.
Sometimes the best help we can offer is to ease up on the embrace, and give our partners the space and opportunity to steady themselves.