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Tango for Parkinson’s, Templestowe, Victoria

After learning about her father’s Parkinson’s diagnosis more than 10 years ago, Rina became interested in how Tango could be used to aid individuals have a better quality of life -specifically, how Tango could be used to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Her work has been shown on national TV shows such as ABC Catalyst and more recently, featured in a story on Lateline in 2016.

The content for Tango for Parkinson’s sessions was first created by Rina and used in a research study ‘Dancing with Parkinson's’ by Latrobe University in 2013. This was an international study conducted by La Trobe University in conjunction with Limerick University and St. John of God Hospital in Venice, looking at using dance to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  Since then, Rina has been involved in various University research projects She also gives special workshops by invitation (e.g. Kingston Movement Disorders Clinic, Calvary Health Care Bethlehem). 

Rina runs regular "Tango for Parkinson's" classes in Lower Templestowe. The sessions aim to provide participants with renewed confidence in their walk. They rediscover how to engage the core and are made aware of the importance of posture, resulting in better balance and stability when walking. Add the enjoyment of dancing to the beautiful Argentine Tango music and working with a partner, the weekly classes are also a social highlight for participants to enjoy the dance class in a warm and friendly environment.
Tango Esencia or email Rina Sawaya


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Gentle Tango – Geelong & Sebastopol, Victoria

Convinced of tango’s health benefits and therapeutic applications, being demonstrated in research around the world, and in the potential tango dancing may have for brain health, Pam Jarvis initiated the Tango Project. Trials began in 2016, supported by Alzheimer’s Australia, now Dementia Australia (Geelong), to assess the effects of teaching simple tango to people with a diagnosis of dementia, partners and family carers.

Gentle Tango grew from the success of the Tango Project. Pam continues to develop the program and conducts weekly Gentle Tango sessions, with Richard and a team of volunteer assistants. Now, with Dianne Heywood-Smith also teaching in the program, Southern Cross Tango and The Tangueria are working together to make the beauty and health benefits of tango accessible to as many people in the broad community as possible.

Gentle Tango caters for people in circumstances and with conditions that make it difficult to attend regular classes. Partners and family carers come too. Some people come alone. The mix is important. Gentle Tango is no longer solely dementia specific. No-one is categorized by disease or diagnosis. All are welcome; all are valued and respected; all are cared for. The goal is to improve health and well-being, mood, social connectivity, for all. Gentle Tango is a safe and happy place for everyone.

Geelong: Pam & Richard Jarvis - Community Tango in Geelong – Southern Cross Tango
Sebastopol: Dianne Heywood-Smith – The Tangueria