[dance-tech] Call for Papers Issue on Dance and Neuroscience

  • From: dee reynolds <reynolds1001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 18:54:21 +0000


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*Dance Research Electronic**: Call for Papers **
**Special Issue: Dance and Neuroscience - New Partnerships*

Guest Editors:
Corinne Jola, Frank Pollick, and Dee Reynolds


‘You get a sense of when the moment is right for something – and for dance,
this is that moment’ (Duncan Gray, commissioning editor of entertainment for
Sky 1). Gray’s statement is a response to the explosion of interest in dance
in the UK. The current fascination with dance is visible in manifold ways,
such as a steep rise in the number of boys applying to ballet school,
increased audience members for TV, screen and live dance, but also in the
numbers participating in dance, from clubs to community centres. At the same
time, the moment is right for dance-neuroscience partnerships. With current
technological developments, neuroscientists are extending the boundaries of
our knowledge of the human brain. In particular, results from research using
brain imaging techniques have caught the public imagination. Neuroscientists
are drawn to study dance because, as a highly complex form of movement, it
offers a fertile field to explore mind-body processes as well as the neural
basis of aesthetics. In turn, neuroscience offers dance scholars new
insights on long-standing debates concerning mind-body relations in
choreographing, performing and watching dance.

This field has garnered widespread interest, as evidenced by recent research
and public exposure. In ‘The Dancer’s Body:  A Machine that Dances’ (BBC 2,
September-October 2003), former Royal Ballet prima ballerina Deborah Bull
investigated the science of dance, featuring both choreographers and brain
scientists.  *Thinking in Four Dimensions: Creativity and Cognition in
Contemporary Dance*, appeared in 2005 (Grove et al. 2005). Key studies,
including Calvo-Merino et al, 2005 and 2006 and Cross 2008, drew on findings
about the so-called mirror neuron system to investigate the relationship
between expertise in performing dance and brain activity when watching it.
Their conclusions about the influence of motor expertise on brain activity
when watching dance have provided a powerful catalyst to debates about
kinesthetic empathy in dance spectators (Foster, 2008). *Tanz im Kopf /
Dance and Cognition* (Birringer & Fenger) appeared in 2005.  Several
interdisciplinary research projects are exploring related issues, and
numerous recent symposia and workshops have addressed dance/neuroscience
questions.  These include The Dancing Brain (Dana Foundation, London, 2003),
Dance and the Brain (Frankfurt, 2004), Dance, Movement in Time and Space
(with Mark Morris; Society for Neuroscience,Washington DC, 2008), The
Embodied Mind (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation,2008); Research Workshop on
Dance and Cognitive Neurosciences (Experimental Psychology Society, London,
2009). Research publications in this field continue to appear (e.g.
Calvo-Merino et al, 2008, deLahunta et al, 2009),  and Ivar Hagendoorn and
Thomas Komendzinski are currently editing a special issue of *Phenomenology
and the Cognitive Sciences* on Dance and Cognitive Science (forthcoming,
Fall 2010). Clearly, the dance-neuroscience duet is in the spotlight.


New partnerships require flexibility and open-mindedness. With the Special
Issue on ‘Dance and Neuroscience – New Partnerships’ we aim to provide a
platform for original research that is relevant to both fields and is
presented in accessible terms We welcome contributions which report the
results of original empirical research and/or which review and assess
existing scholarship, on condition that they throw new light on  key issues
and point to innovative directions for the future. As this is an online
issue, we welcome use made by authors of illustrations, film and music
clips. Topics we wish to explore include, but are not limited to, the
• What insights do we gain from neuroscientific research on cognitive,
emotional, and physical experiences related to dance and how? For example:
• the multimodal sensory processing used by dancers and dance spectators;
• the reasons why people enjoy performing and watching dance;
• how dancers respond to one another in the group dynamic;
• what neural processes come into play in the act of choreographing dance;
• how choreographers communicate with their dancers, and how dancers
visualise cues and embody them kinesthetically
• What claims made by neuroscience relate to existing debates in dance
studies and how;
• What other disciplines can/should be used to expand/critique knowledge
gained through neuroscience and how? For example:
• Existing or prospective collaborations of neuroscientists and other
disciplines (e.g. cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, sociology,
qualitative audience research, critical theory) to research this field


*Prospective contributors are invited to send a 500-word outline by email to

by 1 May 2010*. Abstract submissions will be subject to blind refereeing
procedures. Articles will be chosen for further consideration by 1 June 2010
and must be submitted in draft by 1 October 2010, and the definitive version
by 30 January 2011. Texts should normally not exceed 7,000 words, including
endnotes. However, while concision improves chances of publication, serious
consideration will be given to submissions where the nature and quality of
the content justify greater length.  Submissions must conform to the *Dance
Research Electronic* stylesheet, which is available upon request. *Dance
Research Electronic* welcomes use made by authors of illustrations, film and
music clips, providing the author has secured permission to reproduce these
materials from the copyright holder. All necessary copyright permissions
must be arranged by individual authors in advance of publication.
Enquiries are most welcome, and should be addressed by email to

*Publication: Spring 2011*

*Selected references*
Cognition (Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung 15, Münster: LIT
Verlag, 2005)
Basis of Human Dance'. Cerebral Cortex, 16, 1157-1167.
sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art'. Consciousness and Cognition, 17,
'Seeing or doing? Influence of visual and motor familiarity in action
observation'. Current Biology, 16, 1905-1910.
'Action Observation and Acquired Motor Skills:  an fMRI Study with Expert
Dancers'. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 1243-1249.
CROSS, E. S., HAMILTON, A. F. D. C., & GRAFTON, S. T. 2006. 'Building a
motor simulation de novo: Observation of dance  by dancers'. Neuroimage, 31,
1257-1267.FOSTER, S. 2008. 'Movement's Contagion:  The Kinesthetic Impact of
Performance'. In: DAVIS, T. C. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Performance
Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DELAHUNTA, S., BARNARD, P.J. & McGREGOR, W. 2009 'Augmenting Choreography:
using insights from Cognitive Science', In BUTTERWORTH, J. AND WILDSCHUT, L.
(eds.) Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader.
GRAFTON, S. T., & CROSS, E. S. (2008). Dance and the brain. In C. Asbury &
B. Rich (Eds.), Learning, arts and the brain: The Dana Consortium Report on
arts and cognition (pp. 61-68). New York: Dana Press.
P, NIMMO-SMITH, I. & MARCEL, A. (2006) Bodies Meet Minds: Choreography and
Cognition, Leonardo, 39(5), 475-477.


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