Dance Training and the Brain
Dance is good for the brain. Now you may be thinking, of course she would say that, she is a dance teacher and studio owner. Keep in mind however, numerous studies have been conducted to show a true relationship between dance and learning.
Howard Gardner of Harvard University’s Project Zero claims that “body thinking” is inherent in the design of the human physique. A dancer’s body has its own experience with motion, gravity and force. Dancers are also aware of their physical capabilities.
When a dance instructor teaches, they will use instruction, imagery and information to create a dance for their students. These types of directions lead to movement exploration which activates intelligence. Dancer's brains are activated and they are often invited to share what they see in others creations, which is part of linguistic thinking.
Dancers also use patterns which leads to mathematical intelligence. Dancers learn early on about memorization, which is fundamental to success in mathematics. Further, for intelligence, you need sequence, pattern, order, relationship and proportion. These basics can be found in dance, which sparks a dancer's intelligence. Taking steps and putting them in order takes a kind of logic as well.
Inventors of the next generation will need to be transformative and will likely come from those children who have learned to think of aesthetics and logic as complementary viewpoints. Being creative and intelligent are necessary components of inventing. Dancers are trained to have the skills necessary to become the “new” Sir Isaac Newton’s or Albert Einstein’s of the future.
Other areas of intelligence explored in dance include: rhythmic, spatial, naturalistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. It is no wonder why dancers are known to be highly successful academically.
In recent studies, it has been shown that regularly engaging in dance lowers a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease by 76%. This can be compared to crossword puzzles at 47%, reading at 35% and golf, bicycling and swimming at 0%. It is believed this is because dance is an activity that activates and takes advantage of our brains’ neuroplasticity.
Dance helps forge new neural pathways. It also strengthens existing neurons and sparks neurogenesis, the growth and development of neurons responsible for carrying information throughout the body in dancers of all ages. Increasing your learning ability and capacity to memorize goes hand in hand with dance classes. This gives dancers a leg up in the classroom, because they are regularly training their brain in these areas.
In summary, yes, I am a dance teacher who has had the first-hand opportunity to experience the many benefits of dance, for my whole person, mind, body and soul. This is why I am so passionate about sharing dance with our youth. Dance will create a lifetime of benefits for the very young, to those who are entering a more experienced age. Dance is good for the brain and so much more.