Move Your Body, Improve Your Brain

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What happens when language meets movement?  

I climbed in the car this morning and stumbled upon a rerun of Radiolab on NPR.  It's not very often that a radio or television show will pique my interest as both an academic and a dancer, but today's episode did just that.

I've been dancing since childhood and love teaching, but academically, I was interested in language, so interested that I earned a PhD in French.  

Today's episode, "Words" centered on what happens in our brains and bodies when we put words to symbols.  To make a long story short:  language is a code-breaker, the key to understanding and organizing our world.  The more words a person has for the process of thinking, the better he or she becomes at thinking.

What does this mean for movement?  The more words we have for movement, the better we will be able to move.  The better we're able to move the more nuance we can apply to our understanding of words. By introducing basic movement vocabulary at a young age and providing more input as a dancer grows, he or she will be able to improve quality of movement by understanding the different nuances of the language surrounding it.

We start introducing the connection between language and movement in our Early Childhood Programs, and we continue to add layers of vocabulary all the way through our adult classes.  

Listening to "Words," I can see even more ways to use language to improve teaching movement. Everything from simple concepts like tempo and level to complex steps in advanced ballet class can be better understood and better performed by adding complexity to the way we talk and think about movement.

I'm looking forward to introducing even more movement vocabulary when we open for classes this fall!


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