As the director TTP Academy and MindFul Movement, I continue to teach ballet, musical theater dance, and other classic and ethnic styles. I have also begun studying “Brain Dance” or cognitive-centered dance. The foundation for cognitive-centered dance was established by a dance educator during her post-graduate work. Just as music is being used increasingly in older populations and with memory patients to stimulate memory centers and cognition, Brain Dance has very similar qualities that are also being used for these populations, as well as in schools, infants 2-12 months, and all age groups in between.
Today’s infants may not be experiencing natural movement patterns in their first year because of increasing safety considerations. Brain Dance provides a controlled environment, with a parent, in which infants are able to develop these all-important movement memories. Babies are born with all the neurons they will have. During the first 12 months of life, infants develop the dendrites, or memory chains, that they will use for the rest of their lives. Much of this development relies on movement, spatial awareness, and body-mind connection. Without normal exploration, a baby’s potential for future development may be affected. By using lateral and cross-lateral movements, mirror imaging, movements to develop proprioception, and more, Brain Dance can enhance their experience.
Brain Dance is also having a notable impact on the older generation. As our brains and bodies age, we need to continue to exercise both. Using patterned movements along with music, the retention centers in our brain are stimulated, and the mind-body connection is enhanced. The additional benefits of music, socialization, and physical activity, all of which are important elements to keep the mind and body healthy, are inherent in Brain Dance programs.
We are also uniquely equipped to teach Brain Dance in the schools in conjunction with any existing class, and to offer workshops to teachers to provide tools they can use to integrate Brain Dance within their own classrooms. This is of particular interest to communities in which there is a community education program or a partnership between the parks and recreation department and the schools