Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tap, Tap, Tapping Toward Health

“After reading a post about YouTube dancing sensation Matt Harding, reader Juliana Sadock Savino posted a simple comment. ‘I recently, at the age of 54, took up tap dancing,’ she wrote. ‘I swear it’s good for whatever ails you, though my big toe might disagree. To dance is joy!’ Intrigued, I e-mailed her and learned that she has fibromyalgia, an illness that has forced her to suspend her career as a professional musician. To her surprise, she has found renewal in dance. But she is not alone. Dance therapy has been used to relieve anxiety, and researchers are studying the tango to help patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dance therapy has been shown to improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients as well. ‘There is the fun that comes with feeling free to make a complete fool of myself, one of the consolation prizes of middle-age,’ she told me. ‘I dance for myself and for the fun of being in class. My doc says I am the only tap-dancing fibromyalgia patient he knows of. Do my feet hurt? Sometimes. But as Sammy Davis says in ‘Tap,’ I want to die with my taps on. Actually I’m living with them on.’”

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