About Tango Therapy

Tango was born as a social dance; it had the goal to bring people closer, permiting a gentle contact between men and women. Although Tango had, on the one hand, the pleasurable atmosphere of people enjoying themselves, on the other hand, it had the taste of the nostalgia of the immigrants and the poor gauchos who didn’t have a place to call home and the loneliness of men in Argentina who missed the contact with a woman. Therefore, the embrace in Tango has the quality of connecting two human beings in a, somehow, deeper sense of mutually sharing, caring and protecting attitude.

In this sense, research results show that subtle caress and holding hands increases oxytocine levels, which contributes to lowering blood pressure and dilating the arteries. All that produces a positive mental state, which helps to fight anxiety and stress. (Peidro, R., 2007)

Due to the peculiarity of the embrace (that has a reminiscence of the caring arms of the mother) the dance of Tango has been proven to be helpful when dealing with trauma. Furthermore, the fact that the Tango is meant a social dance, for that it is performed by a group of people that circulates against clock-wise in a, somehow, mythical circle. This circle remains us the ritual dances of ancient cultures, where the energy was concentrated by the circularity of the movement with a sense of protection.

Beyond this wonderful feeling of union with the other, openness and trust, Tango is by nature closely linked with the concern of understanding the Other. For example, the man needs to know if the woman is ready for the next movement, or where her feet are. On the other side, the woman has to guess and follow the man’s movement. Another interesting thing here is that both need to keep their roles in order to dance properly: one has to lead and the other has to follow. Although they can switch their roles, both cannot lead at the same time. However, it is truth that followers can “suggest” movements to the leaders and leaders may need to “accompany” the followers’ movements after leading them. It is a dialogue between the two bodies’ movements, but a dialogue with clearly delimited roles. This fact has been found helpful for people who have trusting issues and for those who have difficulties in decision making or driving their lives.

Because of these characteristics, Tango has been used as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of several psychological disorders as Social Phobia, Depression, and even Schizophrenia. (Trossero, F., 2006) Generally it has been found to be a helpful tool for all kinds of relational problems and it’s actually used in couple’s therapy.

Tango is a dance that people of all ages can enjoy. It is a good exercise since it entails the well-known benefits of walking, a high degree of coordination, balance and synchronization within the couple and with the music. That’s why it has been used as therapeutic method with Parkinson patients, where it proved to be much more effective than the regular exercises applied by physiotherapists. (Hackney, ME., 2009)

For the same reason it has been used with elderly people in order to help them improve balance and coordination. (McKinley, P., 2005). Furthermore, remembering complicated series of steps may help memory exercising, a reason for which it has been applied as a successful form of therapy in Alzheimer patients.

Tango has been found helpful, as well, in improving cardiac health and in fighting arteriosclerosis. Not only because it is a good exercise, since it combines motion and mental activation, but also because, as Dr. Peidro says: “Tango implies a physical activity and it is, also, related to positive emotions… All circumstances that lead us to joyful moments act as ‘positive emotions’ and, therefore, help us to live more and better.”. (Peidro, R., 2007)