Our brains are the conductors of our bodies allowing dancers — professionals or amateurs— to move precisely in time and space. Exactly how the brain manages dance? It is a topic for neuroscientists exploring intersection of dance and brain science.
Practice makes perfect
Researchers have long sought to discover exactly how exquisite body movement is controlled, learned, and appreciated by others. Morris, who began his dance training at the age of 8, explained that practicing the same steps repeatedly helps decrease the body’s response time to create seamless motion in time with music.
“By the time you’ve done a particular sequence thousands of times it feels like nothing,” Morris said. “It’s like driving or something where you’re just there. You just got there and you don’t have to consciously look at your feet.”
“Ideally, dancers aren’t thinking ‘five, six, seven, eight, now’s my entrance,’ they just do it. It’s the thing where a fish doesn’t know it’s in water. That’s how it is in dancing.”
Orchestrated or planned movements start in the motor cortex. This region is divided into sections, with each governing a different part of the body. Signals from the motor cortex travel down 20 million nerve fibers in the spinal cord to an arm or finger, telling it to respond in a particular way. The more minute the movement, the greater the area in the motor cortex devoted to the movement.
To achieve a rhythmic, well-coordinated style of dance, the brain must coordinate all this effort for joints to act in proper order and muscles to contract to perfect degree. A cluster of brain cells called the basal ganglia plan movement, while the cerebellum takes sensory input from the limbs and refines signals in the cortex to smooth out motion.
Senses and space
Each limb of the body is defined in part by its distance to everything else. The ability to understand our position in space is called proprioception — the sense of how far your arms reach when you stick them out — while kinesthesia is the sense of arms and legs in motion in that space.
This sense of physical self-awareness can extend beyond the body to clothes and props, or even other people.
Women after 40 and sense of space
Menopause disrupts the balance of hormones in your body. At the same time, your brain contains estrogen receptors and is responsive to this hormone, helping your brain function better, aiding memory and verbal fluency. When levels of estrogen in your body drop, it is no wonder that you may suffer unexpected lapses in memory. This effects our way to move across the space and sometimes the time. Remedy? I guess practice more which improves the blood flow around the brain. This will keep your brain cells healthy and reduce your likelihood of memory lapses maybe…