Just dance


| 3 Comments
In my English 15 class, we watched this fascinating Ted Talk by John Bohannon. In this talk, Bohannon explains a scientific experiment that his friend was working on that he thinks would better be explained through dance. All PhDs in fact, he claims, should be danced out rather than presented in powerpoints. While the experiment itself was interesting, I wanted to look more into why people respond to dance? Why are we so drawn to the way people contort their bodies--how do we jump to the conclusions that kind of performance is aesthetically pleasing? What is it about dance that makes us so inspired?

According to John Krakauer, a lot of it has to do with music. We rarely get a kick out of dancing to silence, but as soon as Kanye West (hey, don't judge) comes on the radio, our oribofrontal cortexes (part of brain directly behind the eyes) get stimulated, and the cerebellum kicks up, creating the mesh between timing and movement. So music, in a sense, can help us all become the next Martha Graham. Dance is also normally a social sport (and it is, indeed, a sport), and humans tend to respond more to an activity when they're noticing the movement of others. A primal instinct? I'd guess so, but no matter the case, we become more enthusiastic dancers when others successfully move to the beat. Maybe that's why middle school is entirely too awkward...no one knows how to move their bodies yet.

Much of the pleasure we feel is due to motor activity. Think about it...that ice cream you just downed was part of a physical act that made you feel good. Joggers talk about that "runners high" when endorphins get released, and since we're all thinking about it, sex, one of the most physically oriented activities, is pleasurable to humans as well. When we move, typically, we're happy. So adding music to an already desired activity makes dance a highly sought after sport.

Would you ever dance to feel good? Is it difficult for you to stay still when that catchy song comes on the radio? Why else do you think people might dance?

3 Comments

I would definitely dance to feel good! I think that dancing can be beneficial in many ways. Personally, it is a stress reliever, social entertainment and it a good work out! I think it is difficult for anyone to remain still or not be dancing on the inside when a favorite song starts to play. We're either tapping our toes and fingers or jumping around like a crazy person.

I was also watching a lecture where a Oxford professor was talking about educational settings where a girl was learning mathematical concepts by utilizing ballet dancing. its a quite fascinating way of explaining and learning things because like you said our brain reacts rapidly to cultural products such as music and the arts.

It would definitely keep students more interested in class if their teachers danced! And would probably help visual learners a lot too. Dance really does make most people happy! The article below suggests how much it can help your health. It also says that dance can build confidence and surprisingly to me, it says that dance can "ward off illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression." I don't know how true this is, so I decided to research it. I didn't find much, but I ran into an article that suggested that dancing makes you smarter! Apparently, "a major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one's mind can ward off Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages." There are countless benefits of dancing that I never knew... we all should definitely dance more!
http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-2005/dance_to_health.html
http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm

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