Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 29: Shall We Dance?

First song, now dance. Bear with me as I explain how movement can tempt your muse out to play, or just help shake off any negativity or doubts you may still have about writing.

Although many writers wax poetic about dancing with or in their writing, I'm talking about the brain changes that occur when we move.

Dancing is used in psychotherapy, along with music, art and drama. (I also know of cancer survivors who use journaling as part of their journey, which suggests that writing may also effectively help relieve stress and work through grief.) No, I am not suggesting that writers need to see a therapist.

Dance is the most fundamental art form, based on its using the body as a "medium of direct expression and communication," according to Fabian Chyle's thesis on dance therapy available at 206/Applying%20Creativity-Thesis.pdf.

Dr. Peter Lovatt, as head of the University of Hertfordshire's Dance Psychology Lab, says that improvised dancing helps with divergent thinking, which is devising different answers for a problem. On the other end, structured dancing, such as ballet and ballroom, helps with convergent thinking. (This interview can be found at

Other studies show that dancing is more effective than reading or doing puzzles at keeping our brains limber.

Granted, I don't need an excuse to dance, but the brain power behind this type of movement offers one more reason to dance before I sit down to write.

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