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Passionate and precise, the Tango is also therapeutic

Scientists in the United States have confirmed what researchers around the world have suspected for some time: “Slow…slow…quick-quick-slow,” the basic steps to the dance pattern known as the Tango, are good for your mental and physical health. At the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Gammon Earhart, a professor of physical therapy, found that tango dancing in patientswith Parkinson Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, improved their motor symptoms and balance over a 2-year period. Parkinson’s patients have trouble walking and especially turning while walking. “Participation in community-based dance classes over 2 years was associated with improvements in motor and non

A dance in strangers’ arms

The tango is one of the purest forms of physical intimacy the world has ever seen. The dance begins as our lives begin: by embracing and trusting a stranger. Danced to its fullest, the tango exalts the human connection at the primitive levels of body sensation and profound emotion. Its warm, rebel embrace broke all the barriers of physical distance between men and women as no other dance had done. My task is to talk about the most human trait of the dance: the embrace of the stranger (the other who does not know us, and whom we do not know). Psychological and sociological theory informs us that strangers instinctually generate fears and elicit rejection. The exact opposite happens in the wor

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