What a Feeling!
Phew! Whilst the Argentine Tango is popular for being fun, sociable and a skill; there is a whole bunch of health benefits that most people wouldn’t even have realised! These benefits are mental as well as physical. If you’re wondering why we’re talking about Marmite (we haven’t completely lost it, honest…) read on and you’ll soon find out.
Firstly, Let’s Get Physical
Each class is a well-structured two hour session, commencing with a warm up. This stretches and relaxes muscles after a hard day’s work, play or even a tough day on the sofa. It is something good for your body that most people wouldn’t think of doing in the evening otherwise.
The main part of the class involves learning and practicing steps. This takes concentration keeping your mind active and improving your memory skills which is most likely to also benefit you in other aspects of life. Similarly, tango improves your ability to multitask by connecting with your partner, whilst at the same time focusing on the steps as well as the rhythm and milonga. You may appear like an over-programmed robot to begin with, arms and legs all over the place, but you’ll be amazed by the pace at which you can improve. Tango will also vastly develop your motor coordination; this is the control you have over your body – your physical self-awareness. Dissociation and pivoting (two elements of tango you will learn in your first class), for instance, will help you to gain further control of your body. If you are known for having “two left feet” or if you actually have got two left feet, you soon won’t be able to notice!
Balance and posture is another key part of tango. Instructors Nathalie and Bruno will teach you the correct posture and how to feel the floor when you dance (with your feet not your hands; that would be odd…). This will add elegance to the way you dance, and then it is up to you whether or not you’d also like to continue with this posture during every day life.
Unforgettably, tango is aerobic exercise which will of course improve your respiratory system and encourage you to drink more water, both of which being beneficial to your physical health. The more often you dance – the less you’ll notice that you are in fact exercising! Genius!
Finally and perhaps the most noticeable physical difference from Tanguito would be your smile! This leads us nicely to the mental health benefits of tango.
Moving on to Mental Health
“There are shortcuts to happiness – and dancing is one of them!” – Vicki Baum
Tango is better than eating chocolate… okay, bear with us on this one! Scientifically, both aerobic exercise and eating chocolate are similar in that they release endorphins – pleasure chemicals, which cause you to feel happy. This is why people comfort eat – to make them feel better. Exercise is undoubtedly better for your body than vast amounts of chocolate if you’re feeling down or stressed, and it leaves you feeling guilt-free, refreshed and elated afterwards. Endorphins also raise your pain threshold, allowing you to push yourself physically further than you would be doing everyday tasks. To illustrate, if vacuuming your front room would usually wear you out; try exercising for a while then when you come back to it, it will no longer be a problem! The more often you dance the more you will feel content and able to do more. It has been proven that over time your mentality will become more relaxed and positive.
Tanguito can also provide you with the confidence boost you may need. As well as gaining self-esteem, self-awareness and pride in the way you can control your body, you will also get to connect with the rest of the group and with instructors; Nathalie and Bruno. It will enhance your sensitivity, strengthening your senses by focusing on the things around you – the dance steps, your partner, the rhythm and the music. These alone are enough to distract everybody from any insecurities! Tango is also a means of exploring self-expression and your own creativity as an artist. You may learn things about yourself that could inspire you in other aspects of life.
To conclude, your sexual health! The emotional side to it anyway. All genres of dance, tango in particular, are expressive and emotive, wordless conversations. It’s about connecting with your partner; whether you’re married, in a relationship, or perhaps you just met in the dance class (…wink, wink!). It’s about combining dance with music to convey the feelings you have between you. If you’re searching for activities to do with your partner, perhaps something to re-add a lost spark to your relationship, then tango is the perfect choice!
Tango isn’t Marmite
Okay, that may have sounded obvious, but what we mean is that Tanguito is not a Marmite scenario, i.e. you won’t either love it or hate it – because everyone loves it! So dance first and think later! If you are human: tango is for you. (If you’re not human and you are also reading this, then we are extremely impressed and you’re also welcome.)
Written by Emma Langschied