Dance for Parkinson’s: TANGO

Tango includes both single-time steps, or steps on the beat, and double-time steps, or steps between two beats … and dancing to this beat may benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

Since 2007, Dr Madeline E. Hackney PhD has been demonstrating the benefits of tango dance on balance, ability to complete spatial tasks, mood, coordination and endurance improvements in people with Parkinson’s disease (Hackney 2007; Hackney 2009; Hackney 2010).

And new research is demonstrating that:

community-based adapted tango for Parkinson’s disease  can be safely delivered with high participant satisfaction/retention and potential for improving balance (link HERE).

Another reason to put on your dancing shoes, grab a partner and hit the dance floor! Do you tango? much love.

10 thoughts on “Dance for Parkinson’s: TANGO

  1. I don’t tango 😦 but I do or used to swing and waltz. I love dancing it makes me feel so less broken, if only for just a few minutes. I think the closeness that dancing brings is just as important if not more than the physical activity it self.

    • Hi Benjamin,

      You are correct that partner dancing has that social aspect, which brings a closeness that other exercises and dances do not.

      Swing is also an excellent partner dance for PD due to its varied rhythmic nature and lots of backward movements.

      I hope you get back to dancing soon.


  2. Pingback: Dance for Parkinon’s: IRISH | kaitlyn roland

  3. Thank you for drawing attention to the benefits of dance for PD in your blog posts. I especially enjoyed your most recent regarding Irish dancing as I had not read research on its relationship with PD.

    I am a ballroom dancing teacher who has worked with PD patients in the past and have witnessed the benefits of ballroom dancing on PD up close.

    Thank you also for sharing Hackney’s article ‘Effects of Dance on Movement Control in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Argentine Tango and American Ballroom’. I was aware of the benefits of partner dancing over solo dancing, but had not considered the benefits of one specific partner dance over another.

    Hackney and Earhart suggest that the benefits of Argentine Tango over other ballroom dances is that ‘Tango involves flexible, improvisational step patterns composed of small step elements, spontaneous multi-directional perturbation… and rhythmic variation.’ (Hackney, Madeleine and Earhart, Gammon. (2009 May). Effects of Dance on Movement Control in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Argentine Tango and American Ballroom. J Rehabil Med, 41(6), 475-481. 476).

    Another ballroom dance which may be worth researching is West Coast Swing as it also involves improvisation, small step elements, lots of backwards walking and rhythmic variation. It also has the added benefit of being the only ballroom dance that you can switch leads in allowing women and men to trade out and experience the benefits of both roles. Though it is unknown what the differences in effect might be between taking on the lead or the follower role due to lack of research (Hackney, Madeleine and Earhart, Gammon. (2010 May). Effects of Dance on Gait and Balance in Parkinson Disease: A Comparison of Partnered and Non-Partnered Dance Movement. Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 24(4), 384-392. 389)

    You could also look at Salsa and East Coast Swing but they are often danced to quite fast rhythms, which may only be suitable for more active patients at the beginning stages of PD.

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