Dancing to Learn: The Brain's Cognition, Emotion, and Movement

Dancing to Learn: The Brain's Cognition, Emotion, and Movement

Judith Lynne Hanna

Language: English

Pages: 230

ISBN: 1475806051

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Dancing to Learn: Cognition, Emotion, and Movement explores the rationale for dance as a medium of learning to help engage educators and scientists to explore the underpinnings of dance, and dancers as well as members of the general public who are curious about new ways of comprehending dance. Among policy-makers, teachers, and parents, there is a heightened concern for successful pedagogical strategies. They want to know what can work with learners. This book approaches the subject of learning in, about, and through dance by triangulating knowledge from the arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and cognitive and neurological sciences to challenge dismissive views of the cognitive importance of the physical dance. Insights come from theories and research findings in aesthetics, anthropology, cognitive science, dance, education, feminist theory, linguistics, neuroscience, phenomenology, psychology, and sociology. Using a single theory puts blinders on to other ways of description and analysis. Of course, all knowledge is tentative. Experiments necessarily must focus on a narrow topic and often use a special demographic—university students, and we don’t know the representativeness of case studies.





















complex or novel tasks is the prefrontal parietal network. Both conscious and unconscious information-processing and the management of emotions and ideas emanate from the electrical activity of vast collections of neurons, each possessing thousands of biological input and output “wires” connected to other neurons, thus allowing mutual interactions. “Mind, consciousness, and self are ongoing ‘happenings’ as a consequence of the electro-chemical activity of the brain,” as scientist/dancer Blake

who we are and how we dance and observe dance. Incredible dynamic electrical and chemical actions occur in the brain for a mere dance step let alone a sophisticated dance to proceed. Electrical signals zing between neurons and cascade through the brain, and neurons release chemical messengers into many synapses. Chemical transmitters move across the synaptic cleft and electrical pulses move down the neuron itself. In the synapse between neurons, learning occurs by changing the synapses so that

environment in which they have evolved and with which they interact. Neuroscience shows that the bodily self’s movements lead to thoughts and feelings. There is the interrelation of body, mind, emotion; nonverbal language (including dance); the pliability of the brain and thus a never-ending ability for humans to learn; and the empathic role of cells in the brains of dancers and observers. Some scientists worldwide are even dancing their PhDs on video. Translation-interpretation is cognitively

transfer is debated. There are many dimensions to transfer.18 In transfer, competencies and not content are the key to learning. Transfer of competencies is more likely when students have a deep conceptual degree of original learning with understanding. Rote learning does not tend to facilitate transfer. The failure of transfer of learning is often the failure of the initial learning, the incomplete acquisition of relevant knowledge, its representation, and its organization.19 The development

Blackwell, A., deLahunta, S., Wing, A., Hollands, K., Barnard, P., Nimmo-Smith, I. & Marcel, A. (2006) Bodies meet minds: Choreography and cognition. Leonardo 39(5):475–77. McLaren, P. & Kincheloe, J.L. (Eds.). (2007). Critical pedagogy. New York: Peter Lang. Mechelli, A., Crinion, J.T., Noppeney, U., O’Doherty, J., Ashburner, J., Frackowiak, R.S. & Price, C.J. (2004). Neurolinguistics: Structural plasticity in the bilingual brain. Nature 431:757. Minder, R. (2013). Outsiders breathe life into

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