Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dance and Rehabilitation

An NY Times article on dance and cerebral palsy.

Recent research has many scientists wondering how dance can help muscle de-generative diseases such as Parkinson's and cerebral palsy. It turns out that dance can be more than a beautiful vision or aesthetic experience - it can heal, and not just emotionally.

It makes me wonder what specifically about dance helps them - is it the mind body awareness? Because then yoga would be just as effective. Is it just modern dance or Indian dance as well? Because then it is specifically movement related. I actually think it's got something to do with the awareness you cultivate within your limbs and then how that awareness becomes part of you - something you just stop thinking about. Kind of like learning a language, but with your body. I wouldn't be surprised if it's modern dance limited, because training or work through modern dance is all about oppositional forces and being extremely aware of how each muscle is situated. A normal modern dance class will include phrases such as "go up to come down" or "keep your upper arm muscle rotated in while keeping the palm facing right". But I'm not positive on this point, and would love to find out how specific it is, because I heard a friend of a friend doing similar research but with salsa dancing!

I suppose also there's the motivational energy that music brings to consider, but I think this is of little effect: both pieces are teaching modern/postmodern/contemporary dance. Music for such pieces is usually quite esoteric.

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