A Neuroscience of Dance: Potential for Therapeusis in Neurology

Gerry Leisman, Vered Aviv

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Dance possesses favorable effects on the brain and its ability to form connections as well as in its ability to stimulate substances that support neuroplasticity used to treat individuals with many forms of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions by influencing the integratory function of movement and cognition. Elements of both discrete and rhythmic movements are present in dance, itself a gestural system. Activation patterns are largely consistent with subcortical system activation involved in the timing and coordination of discontinuous movements, and specific cortical systems are activated to support the control of the continuous movements. We conclude that the essential functions fundamental to the dance include the control of equilibrium, posture, and sway which are sensitive to training effects, and that, therefore, dance training has the potential to stabilize and align dancers’ performance via these functions. The roles of individual sensory modalities in multimodal integration, especially relative influences of vision and somatosensation, deserve further study. We conclude that there is potential therapeutic benefit for those with developmental delays, developmental coordination disorders, individuals post-stroke, and those suffering from a plethora of neurodegenerative conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrain and Art
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Aesthetics to Therapeutics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030235802
ISBN (Print)9783030235796
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Psychology


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