Argentines teach tango inside mental hospital

December 6, 2013 3:56 PM

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Psychiatrist Silvana Perl runs the classes held every other Wednesday, including their annual tango festival this week.

She says therapy happens when hospitalized men dance with visiting women: It makes them part of a powerful social and cultural current that runs through Buenos Aires, and gives both dancers the shared human contact that is essential to community.

“To dance, it’s necessary to include the other, which requires coming out of your little world,” Perl explains. “Then comes the hug ... the whole world is now fascinated with hugging, which is a form of communication. And ‘communication’ comes from what we have in common. This is something that we have in common, this hug of the tango.”

Tango teacher Laura Segade says she and her friends joke that the only difference between the dancers is that some are “crazy on the inside” of the hospital and others are “crazy on the outside.”

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