Effects of Dance on Gait and Balance in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Partnered and Nonpartnered Dance Movement

Partnered tango dance can improve balance and gait in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Partnered dance may allow these individuals to challenge balance more than nonpartnered dance. Alternatively, partnered practice could reduce balance gains because the participant may rely on the partner as a balance aid when challenged. The authors compared the effects of partnered and nonpartnered dance on balance and mobility in 39 people (11 women) with mild-moderate PD (Hoehn and Yahr stages I-III). Participants were randomly assigned to partnered or nonpartnered tango and attended 1-hour classes twice per week, completing 20 lessons within 10 weeks. Balance and gait were evaluated in the weeks immediately before, immediately after, and 1 month after the intervention. Both groups significantly improved on the Berg Balance Scale, comfortable and fast-as-possible walking velocity, and cadence. Improvements were maintained at the 1-month follow-up. The nonpartnered class improved as much as the partnered class; however, partnered participants expressed more enjoyment and interest in continuing.

Hackney, M. E., Earhart, G. M.. Effects of Dance on Gait and Balance in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Partnered and Nonpartnered Dance Movement. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Vol. 24, No. 4, 384-392

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