Tango Up A Storm

Tango steps bring health benefits

( Extract from Port Macquarie News)

A SIX-week Argentine tango course, designed for people with Parkinson's disease, is a hit.

The group of 12 regulars drawn from the Port Macquarie Parkinson's Support Group learnt the basics of Argentine tango and had fun in the process.

The inaugural program, which was a first for Port Macquarie, concluded with a celebration last week. Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and deputy mayor Adam Roberts gave their support to the end of course celebration.

Mary and Brian McCabe Tangoing up a storm. Annette and Dennis Pelham in full swing.

Dance enthusiasts Sheila MacDougall and Russell Wilkinson designed the course with a focus on the needs of people with Parkinson's disease. They volunteered their time to teach the course with the help of Pam Johnson and Carol Woodman.

Argentine tango is a gentle, flowing partnered dance involving timing, walking, stopping and turning.

Sheila said Argentine tango improved the balance, mobility and cognitive abilities of people with Parkinson's disease. "It improves their brain and their body," she said. "There has been an improvement for every person."

The Port Macquarie Parkinson's Support Group-sponsored course brings social benefits too. The support group's vice-president, Stuart Snowden, is a self-confessed tango tragic from way back. He enjoyed the social aspect of the dance classes and noticed the physical benefits as well.

"I have a lot of problems with my gait, and it [tango] helps a lot because tango has a very definite strong beat," he said.

Pam Johnston and Stuart Snowden

Stuart's wife Alison rediscovered fun during the course. "Since I started the tango class, I'm laughing again and smiling and having fun," she said. "I find if I laugh in the morning, it's easier to laugh during the rest of the day too. "It has just been a godsend for me as a carer."

Course coordinators Sheila and Russell have been dancing together for more than 16 years in a variety of styles and have taught beginner classes in Argentine tango in recent years.

The next course begins today (Wednesday) from 9.30am at the Rotary Community Hall on Hamilton Green.

The program is suitable for people with a neurological condition and their partners. For more information contact Stuart and Alison Snowden on 6559 4370 or Sheila MacDougall and Russell Wilkinson on 0438 849964.

The item broadcast by WIN TV is available here: