Original report

Effects of dance on movement control in Parkinson’s disease: A comparison of Argentine tango and American ballroom

Madeleine E. Hackney, Gammon M. Earhart
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0362


Objective: The basal ganglia may be selectively activated during rhythmic, metered movement such as tango dancing, which may improve motor control in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Other partner dances may be more suitable and preferable for those with Parkinson’s disease. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of tango, waltz/foxtrot and no intervention on functional motor control in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
Design: This study employed a randomized, between-¬subject, prospective, repeated measures design.
Subjects/patients: Fifty-eight people with mild-moderate Parkinson’s disease participated.
Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to tango, waltz/foxtrot or no intervention (control) groups. Those in the dance groups attended 1-h classes twice a week, completing 20 lessons in 13 weeks. Balance, functional mobility, forward and backward walking were evaluated before and after the intervention.
Results: Both dance groups improved more than the control group, which did not improve. The tango and waltz/foxtrot groups improved significantly on the Berg Balance Scale, 6-minute walk distance, and backward stride length. The tango group improved as much or more than those in the waltz/foxtrot group on several measures.
Conclusion: Tango may target deficits associated with Parkinson’s disease more than waltz/foxtrot, but both dances may benefit balance and locomotion.

Supplementary content