What Is Dance Science?

Marisa O'Connor

Dance science is one of the latest additions to the field of sports science. It is aimed at improving dancing performance and reducing injury. This field of science is also concerned with the neuroscience involved in dance and movement. Dancers can benefit a great deal from scientific principles, and science also has a lot to learn from the art of dance.

Dance science is often used to choreograph classical ballet routines.
Dance science is often used to choreograph classical ballet routines.

One of the first concerns of dance science is a dancers' health and performance. In this way, it can be considered similar to other sport sciences. This study of science is responsible for developing fitness routines for dancers that will keep them in the best possible physical and mental condition for dancing. Just as there are certain muscle groups baseball players work on, there are also specific exercises that benefit dancers more than any other sport. This science can also help speed recovery when dance-related injuries occur, but it is primarily concerned with preventing injury.

Dance science might focus on perfection in ballet.
Dance science might focus on perfection in ballet.

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Another aspect of dance science is using science to improve choreography and dance performance. Scientific principles are implemented to approach perfection in dance routines, particularly in classical ballet, but also in modern dance. Physics and logic are considered when choreographing new routines. Dance is primarily a form of expression, and the logical flow of one movement to the other can make or break the effectiveness of the dance's communication.

Another one of the primary aspects of dance science is the understanding of the mind-body relationship while dancing. The word science comes from the latin word meaning knowledge. Dancers have a unique relationship to their bodies. They are able to memorize complicated routines, and communicate with their bodies in a way that no other sport or activity allows. Neuroscientists, in particular, stand to gain much knowledge about body memory and expression from dancers.

The brain is still full of informative treasures, waiting to be discovered by neuroscientists. Dance science can help researchers understand what is going on in the brain during dancing that is different than sitting or walking. The creative aspect of dancing also can provide quite a bit of insight into brain activity. Neuroscientists can study how the brain reacts to, and/or initiates movement during improvised routines, and how it is different than movement during memorized dance routines.

Dance science is also being used to bring more understanding and enjoyment of dance to the scientific community, as well as to bring more understanding and appreciation of science to the dance community. Many dance scientists argue that there is a lot of common ground between the two fields of study, and each can learn a lot from one another. Much interest is brewing around learning about science through dance, and dance and science workshops are popping up all over the U.K. to meet this demand.

Dance science may help scientists understand what is happening in the brain when people dance.
Dance science may help scientists understand what is happening in the brain when people dance.

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