Short duration, intensive tango dancing for Parkinson disease: An uncontrolled pilot study

Madeleine E. Hackney, Gammon M. Earhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this pilot study was to determine the effects of short duration, intensive tango lessons on functional mobility in people with Parkinson disease. Design: This study employed a within-subject, prospective, repeated measures design. Subjects/patients: Fourteen people with idiopathic Parkinson disease participated. Setting: All balance and gait assessments were performed in a laboratory, but dance classes took place in a large, open classroom. Interventions: Participants completed ten 1.5-h long Argentine tango dance lessons within 2 weeks. Their balance, gait and mobility were assessed before and after the training sessions. Main outcome measures: Measures included the Berg Balance Scale, the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale, gait velocity, functional ambulation profile, step length, stance and single support percent of gait, Timed Up and Go, and the 6 min walk. Results: Participants significantly improved on the Berg Balance Scale (effect size (ES) = 0.83, p = 0.021), Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale Motor Subscale III (ES = -0.64, p = 0.029), and percent of time spent in stance during forward walking (ES = 0.97, p = 0.015). Non-significant improvements were noted on the Timed Up and Go (ES = -0.38, p = 0.220) and 6 min walk (ES = 0.35, p = 0.170). Conclusions: Frequent social dance lessons completed within a short time period appear to be appropriate and effective for these individuals with mild-moderately severe Parkinson disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Balance
  • Dance
  • Gait
  • Parkinson disease
  • Rehabilitation


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