Tango – Can It Help With Depression?

by Tango

Is this blog about Tango as a dance Only? Well, yes and no. Yes – because everything we write about here has some sort of a connection to Argentine Tango. No – because Tango is more than just a dance.

Tango, and nothing else...

Tango, and nothing else... (from work by Willow Bader)

If you take it to an extreme (a good one in this case), it becomes a lifestyle. While not all dancers treat is as a lifestyle, most do enjoy multiple benefits Tango offers: staying fit, meeting new folks, making new friends, enjoying beautiful music in classes, practicas, and milongas (Tango dance parties), improving how one feels about oneself and life in general. In other words, when we hit a rough patch in life, Tango helps keep potential depression at bay.

I say that Argentine Tango, besides being a musical style and a dance, is an exercise and a therapy, it is not an exaggeration. Below is a brief write up of a scientific research on a therapeutic side of it:

A psychology researcher of the University of New England Rosa Pinniger, believes she can prove that just six weeks of this passionate partner dance can serve as an alternative therapy for depression. The science behind her thinking is that the nature of Argentine Tango requires partners to “switch off the automatic negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and depression”.

She continues to state what is well known to any serious Tango dancer: when you learn Tango you have to focus completely on your partner, on the movement, you have to be in the present moment. Any time a person’s mind wonders off, the dance disconnects and breaks up.

When partners are fully connected with each other and music, no negative thought can enter their minds. One dance lasts usually two to three minutes, one tanda, or set (Tango is danced in sets of three to five songs at a time) provides a wonderful time off from negative thoughts people might experience for various reasons. In Rosa Pinniger’s view this time off makes people realize that this freedom from negativity is possible and desired.

The researcher plans to do a 6-week scientific trial with three groups – one getting regular Tango lessons, another having meditation classes, and the third group would receive neither. She hopes to prove for Tango to be a viable alternative option to the more widely accepted therapy, meditation.

She says: “While we already know that meditation can be helpful in the treatment of depression, not everyone can meditate. But everyone who can walk can tango. It doesn’t matter whether you’re graceful or not – it’s all mindfulness and connecting with another person.”

As a Tango dancer and instructor I am positive she would succeed. Should you decide to enter the wonderful world of Tango, regardless of what your goals and needs in life are, my job is to make it easy, exciting, and fun for  you to learn Argentine Tango in Atlanta.

The next 8-week Beginner Course starts on Monday, January 18, 7pm. Sign up here (form on a sidebar).

P.S. Have a personal story to share? Do comment!

P.S.  (BTW, have you seen the list of close to 100 signs to tell if one is a Tango addict? If no, keep visiting this blog, I’ll be posting the best ones occasionally.)

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