Background: Behavioral addiction is an emerging concept based on the resemblance between symptoms or feelings provided by drugs and those obtained with various behaviors such as gambling, etc. Following an observational study of a tango dancer exhibiting criteria of dependence on this dance, we performed a survey to assess whether this case was unique or frequently encountered in the tango dancing community. Methods: We designed an online survey based on both the DSM-IV and Goodman's criteria of dependence; we added questions relative to the positive and negative effects of tango dancing and a self-evaluation of the degree of addiction to tango. The questionnaire was sent via Internet to all the tango dancers subscribing to “ToutTango”, an electronic monthly journal. The prevalence of dependence was analyzed using DSM-IV, Goodman's criteria and self-rating scores separately. Results: 1,129 tango dancers answered the questionnaire. Dependence rates were 45.1, 6.9 and 35.9%, respectively, according to the DSM-IV, Goodman's criteria and self-rating scores. Physical symptoms of withdrawal were reported by 20% of the entire sample and one-third described a strong craving for dancing. Positive effects were high both in dependent and non-dependent groups and were markedly greater than negative effects. Long practice of tango dancing did not modify the dependence rate or reduce the level of positive effects. Conclusions: Tango dancing could lead to dependence as currently defined. However, this dependence is associated with marked and sustained positive effects whilst the negative are few. Identifying the precise substratum of this dependence needs further investigation.