What Happens To The Brain When We Dance? by Meeray Ghaly

Because of the feedback provided by the muscle’s sensory organs, dancers are able to sense their body’s spatial positioning even with their eyes closed” ... “the Broca’s area is the part of the brain responsible for expressing language, these findings support the idea that dance is a form of communication, in fact neurologists observe, that while viewing and artistic performance, the same neurones are activated in separate individuals” ... “this may be a reason why we are able to communicate certain movements through dance that are not able to be expressed through words”
”dance can help stabilise the sympathetic nervous system”
— Neurology of Dance


The Power Of Movement Is Truly Fascinating both as dancer and observer. 

Psychology Researchers at Bangor University are looking closely at what dance does to the brain. 



Although it has been widely debated, one belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken (Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967 and Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967). How does communication stack up for you? What percentages feel verbal, non-verbal and tonal?


The Power of Play

I wanted to share this clip of Lil Buck and Yo Yo Ma in a blissful conversation of music and movement.

So much expression, wordless, powerful. 






Movement and Emotions

Given the Neurological benefits of dance and movement, sometimes moving through, or 'physicalising' stuck emotions can help the process of transforming them - and connecting with the distinctive way they can get 'stored' in the body. 

Through movement, we are connecting with 'felt-sense', so in the act of making movements, we can also physicalise new directions and pathways forward. 

The next time you are 'moving in space', you may like to think about how movements relate to each other, how one flows into the next and to the next and to the next. What would happen if they flowed more smoothly, e.g. mindful walking in slow motion, heel, slowly and carefully moving in to the ground, and through to toes, slowly lifting, feeling the ground underfoot.

How does that feel?

And then what would happen if movements were more 'staccato'?

Notice how that feels different to the slow movement?  

By allowing curiosity and the awareness of the body in space, we connect with what is alive in us and we can become more of aware of where there is stuckness, resistance, hesitance or fear. 

As you are aware of yourself moving, the awareness in each limb, and the flow of movements, notice what images arise in you? 

Notice the feelings? 

Notice where the aliveness is and allow yourself to move in the direction of it. 







You can take time to journal or draw what this exercise has been like. 


We all learn differently, and need different kinds of learning for different seasons. 

Sir Ken Robinson makes a very entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an

education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.