The human response to rhythm is primal. When a song comes on, we tap our feet and bob our heads without thinking about it. Even toddlers barely on their feet move up and down to music. Aside from all those talented animated creatures in Walt Disney movies, humans are the only mammals with the instinct and the talent for what brain researchers refer to as “unconscious entrainment”. And dance is by far the most synchronized group practice; the gestures and movements might have even been a form of language in pre-verbal societies. The newest issue of Scientific American looks at research into the neural choreography behind dance, and editor-in-chief John Rennie joins us on Word of Mouth to explain it.
And if you’re in the Hanover area this week, check out Slow Dancing, a free outdoor video installation by David Michalek showing at Dartmouth College. It’s an incredible exhibit, featuring ultra-slow-motion video portraits of dancers from around the world, including ballet, breakdancing, Middle Eastern belly dancing, Beijing opera and Javanese court dance. It’s up through Saturday, and you can watch some of the film clips by clicking here.
(Photo by Trish Brunner)