Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mia agrees that dance requires specialized mental skills

A study on the neuroscience of dance:
Perhaps the most fascinating question for neuroscientists to explore is why people dance in the first place. Certainly music and dance are closely related; in many instances, dance generates sound...As a result, we have postulated a “body percussion” hypothesis that dance evolved initially as a sounding phenomenon and that dance and music, especially percussion, evolved together as complementary ways of generating rhythm. The first percussion instruments may well have been components of dancing regalia, not unlike Aztec chachayotes.
Unlike music, however, dance has a strong capacity for representation and imitation, which suggests that dance may have further served as an early form of language. Indeed, dance is the quintessential gesture language.
[Hat Tip Andrew Sullivan]