Does partnered dance promote health? The case of tango Argentino.

The journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

PubMedID: 18402178

Kreutz G. Does partnered dance promote health? The case of tango Argentino. J R Soc Promot Health. 2008;128(2):79-84.
Cultural activities, including music, singing and dance, have often been conceptualised as enhancing well-being as well as promoting mental and physical health. This paper focuses on partnered dance in the context of 'cultures of fitness'. Its purpose was to investigate the dancers of tango Argentino, and to explore potential health benefits in this group.

Participants (N=110) completed a self-developed inventory, which was, in part, based on interviews and observations as a participant observer. The inventory addresses educational, musical, and socio-economic background, motivation for and investment in dancing tango, and other leisure activities.

Dancers are characterized by high-level education and socio-economic status. Motivation appears to be predominantly driven by both hedonistic and social factors, accounting altogether for nearly 60% of the variance. The majority of individuals started dancing tango only in their 30s. Physical investment in terms of time and money indicate tango dancing as a highly important activity that seems to involve substantial opportunity of moderate physical exercise, social interaction and emotional reward. In consequence, tango dance was identified as the primary leisure activity.

Tango dancers were identified as highly educated individuals, who are dedicated to the practice in many respects, including physical and emotional. They draw from similar motivations as compared to participants of other musical activities such as singing and listening to music. Notably, aspects of physical fitness are more prominent in this group. The intensity with which tango is practised seems to depend to some degree on individual lifestyles. Taken together, the results suggest a high degree of personal involvement in tango dance as a primary leisure activity. Implications of partnered dance for social, emotional, and physical well-being and health promotion demand further research.