Dance vs. Brain: FIGHT!

by Megan M. on February 6, 2009 (Blog) |

Wednesday night at Body Choir I had some pretty fascinating trains of thought.

For instance, I tend to repeat a lot of the same motions with my hands, or turn in the same direction (mostly left) when I’m dancing. Furthermore, I often make the same motions with my hands while turning in the same direction—something in my brain is predisposed towards that combination, for some very interesting but unknown reasons.

I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study on free form dance patterns—especially of people without any organized dance experience—and the relation of certain movements to certain ways of thinking, predispositions, personalities?

What do my dance patterns say about me?

Shiva Nata greatly affects the brain’s ability to build new pathways, make new connections. Obviously movement has to do with mental process. Even better—what if I work to change my dance patterns, become a “better dancer”? The better I am at my Shiva Nata practice, the better I am able to think. If I change the patterns of my free form dance, do I also change my way of thinking? My predispositions? My personality?

If I make a point of turning to the right (instead of the left) or of dancing in a clompy tribal fashion instead of a flowy belly-dancer fashion, what happens to my brain when I do it? Sure, I get better at dance—that’s about my brain. But what happens to everything else my brain does, after that point?

Thoughts? Resources?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Green 02.06.09 at 4:55 pm

Maybe it’s something like that? Only you ARE the dancer?

I also seem to recall a brain exercise my ASL teacher in high school used to make us do at the beginning of class every day- we’d cross our arms over our chest with our main hand (right-handed/left-handed) on the inside, and spin in the opposite direction. So I would cross my left arm over my right arm on my chest and spin to the left, right?

She said it was a brain exercise and I can give credit to it helping me wake-up on tired days. Maybe that’s it? Maybe your body found a spinning-source of brain-chemical energy, and is helping you to access it by nudging your spinning in that direction?

2 James | Dancing Geek 02.06.09 at 5:55 pm

We need a chip to monitor people’s dancing and answer these questions!

I would definitely recommend doing movement that feels odd or awkward, often it looks the most interesting to anyone watching and it provides a completely different experience of the situation. Keep breaking and rebuilding those movement patterns: it’s whole body Shiva Nata!

3 Megan M. 02.06.09 at 5:57 pm

YES!! We need a bird poop chip and a dance movements chip! YES!!

I’m so glad you understand.

I’ve been finding Shiva Nata creeping into my free form dance in Body Choir… who knows where that will go! It’s way fun, regardless!

4 Becky Blanton 02.07.09 at 7:00 am

Actually, something as simple as changing the way you write can change your brain. Graphologists have found that forcing yourself to change the way you write – for instance, making your letters more vertical than right-slanting, etc. actually affects behavior and outlook, making you less emotionally impulsive (if your handwriting tends to slant naturally and extremely to the right). Our brains react to our physical movements and vice versa – so definitely – all kinds of things could happen if you explore odd movements! Try it! Yoga changes us, calms us – the body is so delightfully complex! How exciting you noticed! See!? You’re very aware!

5 Jeremy MEyers 02.07.09 at 9:00 am

That’s what dancing in your apartment is for. Preferably in your underwear.

6 Michael Vanderdonk 02.07.09 at 7:27 pm

Some points for your own research:

Brain Gym by Dennison
I seem to recall Mead and Baetson commenting on some of this in relation to their research on tribal dance. I don’t have the references unfortunately.
Casteneda talks about this: You are being hunted by your own habits.
Do some research on the mind/body split – or more specifically the errors in that thinking: Philosophy_of_mind on wikipedia…

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