The Walking Dance
A story, told in dance steps, of people with Parkinson's finding balance, confidence and hope in the movements and rhythms of the Argentine tango.
A story, told in dance steps, of people with Parkinson’s finding balance in the movements and rhythms of the Argentine tango.
Four couples living with Parkinson’s disease attend a dance class for people with balance issues. The dance becomes entwined with their stories as they master the basic walking steps of the Argentine tango and work towards a choreographed performance for a group of people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Along the way, they reflect on how dancing is helping them to confront their diagnosis and what it means to them.
Roy Jones has been living with Parkinson’s for over twenty years. He and his wife Pat are learning Argentina’s ‘walking dance’ as a way to counteract the loss of movement associated with the condition.
“If I freeze, I automatically think of a dance step and it kick-starts my brain,” says Roy. “It’s like having a tooth missing from a cog. Suddenly you jump that missing tooth, and I’m moving again… I’m dancing… and that’s where I want to be.”
Joy Rainbird attends the class every week with her husband John as a way to overcome his rapidly advancing Parkinson’s. “It takes me back to when we were confident and I used to trust John to hold me and sway me and lead me...”
Julie Douglas, who partners her mother, finds dancing an escape from the frustration of trying to do things with Parkinson’s. Norman Moore and his wife Glynis use the tango steps to overcome the physical “stutter” of his condition.
Produced by Cicely Fell
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
[photo credit: Cicely Fell]