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Dancing to Learn


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Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Prelude: To Dance Is Cognitive, Emotional, and Moving What Do We Know about Dance? Triangulating Knowledge Brain Scientists Study Dancers and Spectators Disclosure Steps toward Understanding Dance as a Learning Medium Chapter 1. The Brain "Choreographs" Dance-Maker, Dancer, and Spectator Cross-Cultural Conceptualization of Dance The Body in Space, Time, and With Effort Transformation of Everyday Movements for Expressive Purpose Culture The Moving Body Aids Human Evolution Dancing Nourishes a Ravenous Brain Architecture of the Brain Neurons - Atoms of Thinking Sparking - Neurogenesis Dance Embodies Cognition Senses, Interoception, and Perception Vision, an Especially Important Sense Mirror Neurons Mind and Consciousness Memory Dance in Mind, Space, Pace, and Aging Verbal and Nonverbal (Dance) Languages of Thought Comparison of Languages Many Languages and Dialects of Dance Thinking through Language Multilingualism in Dance Feeling and Emotion Stress Recollection/ Reconsolidation of Emotion Motivation and the Pleasure of Dance Encore Chapter 2. The Mentality and Matter of Learning through Dance The Brain Sustains Dance Languages Powerful Hand Communication More Body Parts, More Powerful Dance Declarative, Procedural, and Social Knowledge for Dance Music and Dance Together Packing and Unpacking Meaning in Dance Symbolization Dancing a Science Dissertation Dimensions of Meaning in Dance (Probing with a Semantic Grid) Dance in the Moment and Memory Visual Images and Mindfulness Perception of Emotion Thinking through Memorable Images of Dance Dance Sparks Brain Networks and Learning for Old and Young Dance Lowers Risks for Brain Deterioration Performing Arts in General Acquisition of Learning Skills through Dance Creativity Challenges Prompting Creativity Encore Chapter 3. Brain-Changing Dance Venues: From Street/Studio/Classroom to Stage and Back Multi-linguistic Dance: Plethora of Genres Many Ways of Learning Dance Academic Schools Pre-School Dance Dance as a Discipline Pre-professional Dance Dance Company Schools and Outreach Programs Arts Magnet Schools Program within a School New York City Public Schools Cluster School Program A County-Wide Multifaceted Program in all Public Schools Dance Integration - with Other Arts or Non-Arts Disciplines Elementary School High School University Dance Education Performing Arts Organization Offerings John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education Washington Performing Arts Society Young Audiences National Dance Institute (NDI) ArtsConnection Young Talent Dance Program/ English Language Literacy Program Community Based Dance Programs Dance Teacher Preparation Private Dance Studios and Conservatories Dance Education Lab Pulse Ontario (Canada) Dance Education Conference National Registry of Dance Educators State Dance Certification In-service Workshops National Dance Education Organization Encore Chapter 4. The Dancing Brain Leaves No One Behind A Performing Art A Liberal Art An Applied Art Personal Development through Dance Aids Learning Dance Engages and Motivates Dance and Changing Behavior Dance Integrated with Other Subjects Assessing Non-dance Learning through Dance Children's Own Dance as a Diagnostic Tool Transfer of Dance Learning Dimensions of Transfer Brain Action Teaching for Transfer Research on Transfer Tools for Dance Learning Media, Cyberspace, and Social Networks Distance Learning "Pen and Paper" Movement Analysis Dance Curriculum, Standards, Assessment, and Evaluation Dance to Cope with Stress Bad Stress - Distress Good Stress - Eustress Dance a Stressor Escape Encore Chapter 5. Mind and Emotion in Learning Self, Cultural and National Identities through Dance Dancer Identity, Career, Transitions, and Dance-related Options Gender and Sexual Orientation Who Is On-stage? Females Males in Dance Culture, Diversity, Understanding, and Choreographic Inspiration Black/White Interaction Regional or National Identity Applying Cultural Diversity Selecting Dances Cultural Appropriation Playing Anthropologist to Learn about a Culture's Dance Encore Finale and Reverence Dance - Cinderella of Education and Brain Science Plie: Ready to Soar in Brain and Body Figure 1. Elements of Dance Figure 2. Ways of Conveying Meaning in Dance (Semantic Grid) Appendix 1: Tools to Discover the Dancing Brain Appendix 2: To Dance in a Classroom, Even for Non-Dancers Images and Credits References Cited About the Brain Teaching Dance Index About the Author

About the Author

Judith Hanna earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University, an M.A. in political science from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in political science from UCLA. She is an Affiliate Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, an educator, writer and dance critic.


The research for the hypothesis undertaken by Dr. Hanna and all others involved, is impressive. . . .The author's style is academic with an excellent fifteen pages of reference works and a clear and precise index. I thank the author for giving me a new insight into an art form I very much enjoy. * ImagineMag!: A South African Arts & Culture Magazine *
Hanna's review of the extant literature on the neurological impacts of dance specifically and exercise more broadly is wide reaching.... [T]he range of material she draws on may be very persuasive to her imagined reader, skeptical about the importance of dance in education.... The many examples that Hanna reviews of dance education programs are one of the most valuable resources in the book, and a reader interested in examples of dance-integrated learning will find leads on exciting pilots and thriving dance programs.... [The] case studies are quite rich and fascinating.... On the whole, the work is wide and fast moving, a strong model of one way that comparative cross-cultural anthropology integrating neuroscience and cultural research can be deployed in educational activism. * American Anthropologist *
Dancing to Learn does not provide all the answers about the impact of dance on the brain but it does provide more than enough evidence to proudly refute any outdated, biased, and misinformed claim that dance is irrelevant to cognition and education....Dancing to Learn: The Brain's Cognition, Emotion, and Movement encourages us to find our way back to what first drew many of us to this profession-the healing inherent in dance. * American Journal of Dance Therapy *

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