The Tango Effect

By Kate Swindlehurst

Parkinson’s and the healing power of dance

Sunday, 29 April 2018


Inspiration from the past: in conversation with John Ruskin

Having an April birthday, I tend to feel that this is 'my' month and last weekend's brief burst of summer saw us joining the hordes with the same idea for an afternoon in the deckchairs at The Orchard Tea Room. Sadly the weather doesn't last  although other anniversaries buoy the hopes. This Saturday Anglia Ruskin celebrated 25 years of university status with an Alumni Reunion. I joined some of its 100,000 ex-students on the Cambridge campus for the chance to share memories and hear others' stories, past & present, and to find myself on the cover of the next edition of their 'Connect' magazine. And today, it turns out, is World Dance for Parkinson's Day marking the collaboration of 23 diverse groups in 16 countries, all providing specialized classes for people with Parkinson's. Occasionally I'm able to attend the wonderful English National Ballet/Dance East Dance for Parkinson's classes at Jerwood House in Ipswich. My first love and my passion, though, remains Argentine tango. I'm a firm believer that, of all dances, tango is the perfect recipe for a fit, full and healthy life for people with (or without) Parkinson's. So I'm keeping on dancing, of course, most recently at a delightful Spring Milonga in Norwich, keeping on spreading the tango message to anyone who'll listen, and writing about it at every opportunity. My latest blog 'Once a dancer, always a dancer' was published on the People Dancing website last week and last night I heard that my article 'Writing (& dancing) as a response to diagnosis' has been accepted for a new American anthology. Then there's the book: the funding clock is ticking but huge thanks (again) to ARU's tireless & resourceful Alumni Officer Helen Arnott, to recent contributors Mitch, Madeline and Brenna, and to those who came back for a second contribution Anna, Nicola & Julie. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could end the month on 55% - or even 60%?! Next month sees a quiz, with Lewis Jones in the chair - and I'm hoping, really hoping, that one of my bigger chickens will be flying home very soon...

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