Gabriela Condrea is on a mission to prove everyone can tango, even those who never thought it was possible.
Condrea has been a tango instructor for nearly a decade, but last year she made it her mission to teach tango to people with mobility challenges.
“I developed the TangoStride technique to help people who can even barely stand improve their walking ability,” Condrea said. “All of my students have been able to do things that maybe they didn’t think were possible, I didn’t know were possible. But we just kind of go one foot in front of the other, literally and figuratively, and see what happens.”
One of her students is Steve Knapp. Driving to work 11 years ago he only made it to 405.
“I passed out at that time and ran over three light posts and went into a tree,” Knapp said.
Knapp suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken legs, and feet. After several surgeries doctors didn’t know if he’d ever stand again
Since that day 11 years ago Knapp committed himself to rehab, but in recent months he has focused on tango.
Gabriela helps him move.
“I like dancing so much because it makes people like me get up and walk on two feet,” Knapp said with a smile.
“The fact that people benefit from the work that I’m doing makes me very happy. It’s empowering for me too,” Condrea said. “It helps people feel less like a patient and become more of a person again, doing regular everyday activities. I’m going to a dance class.”
Her non-profit, Hugs that Empower, helps stroke survivors and other people facing mobility challenges. In the new year, they hope to connect with more people in the MS community. If you are interested in learning more about the program, you can find details on the Hugs That Empower website.