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Argentine Tango helps heal neurological disorders, benefits overall health


Last updated 4/5/2012 at Noon

Elena Pankey dances authentic Argentine Tango with her husband, Dr. Victor Pankey.

FALLBROOK – In 2004 Elena Pankey and her husband, Dr. Victor Pankey formed Tango Caminito Dance School, a non-profit international dance company based in Fallbrook for many reasons – the most valuable being to help benefit people’s health and wellbeing, increase the closeness shared by couples, and to broaden people’s social exposure. And they feel so strongly about their endeavor, they provide first lessons for free.

In talking about the health benefits of Tango dance, Elena said, “When students dance the Tango, they relax, lose weight, improve strength, and increase longevity.”

“Research confirms that authentic Argentine Tango has been shown to help heal neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, even greater than the same amount of other forms of exercise,” she said. “Tango uses several forms of movement such as balance, turning, moving at a variety of speeds, and walking backwards, which are especially relevant to improving both physical and neurological health. It has also been suggested that tango makes people feel more relaxed, sexier, less depressed, and increases testosterone levels.” Authentic Argentine Tango differs from American or ballroom-style Tango, she said.

At the Pankey’s classes, the melodic strains and syncopated rhythms of Tango music fill the air. The studio is dressed up with long colorful curtains and paintings and photos of Tango dancers.

“Students step into an atmosphere of Caminito Street in Buenos Aires,” Elena said. “The teachers, in stylish Tango-style dress, set the tone for an authentic Argentine Tango dance experience.”

The Pankey’s goal has been to provide lessons as well as monthly milongas (social Tango dance parties). They encourage couples to get involved on Fridays as a “weekly date night with a purpose.” Elena says she sees Tango lessons as a form of “couple’s therapy,” enhancing the relationship through subtle physical communication between partners.

Dr. Victor Pankey provides colorful historical background during the lessons and explains how Tango evolved in the late 1800s.

Tango student Enicia Fisher said, “We have been taking private lessons from Victor and Elena. They are true artists and we’re thrilled they are offering their gifts to people. It will be great fun to share the experience with new friends in the community.”

Students of the Pankey’s have enjoyed performing at a variety of venues including the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Balboa Park, and many others.

To learn more, contact Elena Pankey at (760) 728-7185.


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