Movement in Mind: Dance, Self-Awareness and Sociality - An Investigation of Dance as Treatment/Therapy
Barnstaple, Rebecca Elizabeth
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Dance has always occupied a central place in human culture. Why humans dance, however, and the role of dance in health, are questions that have yet to be fully addressed. Research to this point has been challenged by limitations in study design, differences in qualitative/quantitative evaluations, and dualistic perceptions of body and mind. This study proposes a shift in explanatory framework and research methods for the examination of dance in therapeutic contexts. Incorporating methods and views from neurobiology, dance/movement therapy, embodied cognition, and somatic education, this interdisciplinary project presents an innovative study design and novel perspective on the role of dance as a treatment for conditions that may be understood as mental/physical or both. It concludes that the practice of dance is essential to human flourishing, and may best be understood as a behaviour that nurtures our human capacity to adapt and thrive.