Why stroke victims are turning to the tango

Published: Jul. 22, 2017 at 6:03 PM EDT
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In this dance class, every step is a major victory. TangoStride is a class for stroke survivors that combines dance with specialized movements and exercise.

"The basis of tango is a walking stance. You're trying to walk together two as one," said Gabriela Condrea, the creator of TangoStride.

The program helps stroke and traumatic brain injury patients, like Gus Kushman-Kerber, regain mobility.

"I really love it a lot man. I'm going to do more of this. It's really fun!" Kushman-Kerber said.

Dr. Mike Previti, a stroke neurologist, says all that fun is good for recovery.

"The beauty of TangoStride is that you're sort of forcing people to rewire, to do something new, learn a new skill. Even if you haven't had a stroke, learning a new skill is one of the best things for the brain!" Previti said.

The class is also having a bigger effect for dancers.

"It's also really about their confidence and then that is like a ripple effect into the rest of their life," Condrea said.

Barbara Winters has survived three strokes and says her doctor has seen a difference since she started dancing.

"Two things that he's noticed improved is my balance and he said you're really strong, surprisingly strong!" Winters said.

It's strength she and other survivors are regaining on the dance floor, one step at a time.