Monday, February 27, 2006

Modern Dance is the new Xanax

Abstract of a study found here:

The study investigated the effects of modern dance on anxiety. State anxiety was assessed before and after a 3-mo. education programme, using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The target group followed a class in modern dance. Control groups were (1) a physical education group to control for the effects of exercise, (2) a music group to control for aesthetic sensitivity training, and (3) a mathematics group. Several concomitant variables were measured: age, sex, attitude towards dance, and previous experience in sport, dance, and relaxation. Dance training significantly reduced anxiety, but no control activities did so. Examination of the concomitant variables showed that the result could not be accounted for by any obvious artifacts.

Though this study apparently focuses on the effects of bringing dance to nondancers (I don't have access to the full text), the implications speak to one of the reasons why "dancer" is as much an identity as a profession. I and many dancers I know will talk of dance as our therapy, our refuge, our safety net. And the idea of giving it up (a suggestion frequently and cavalierly made by some nondancing others in our lives) provokes feelings akin to withdrawal.

This is not a new study (1984) so perhaps it's time for it to be revisited: let modern dance take its rightful place with yoga, meditation, etc., as a mind-body healing technique.

Amen, sistah!
I enjoyed this post and have posted on the subject at my blog.
I thought you might like to be aware of this online resource group:

Healing Dance Network - a web between the various healing dance studies,
theories, practitioners and proponents through which to find, share and
expand knowledge and understanding into the possibilities and realities of
healing through dance. I am hoping you will let us know about your own
search and findings and how we might work together to bring our learning

Laurie -

[if the links do not take you to the web pages, please cut or copy and paste
them into your web browser]

Please feel free to distribute this information to any whom you think might
be interested.
Very nice project. Best regards. Please find any time to visit my site.
I had always known it was a touchy subject when someone mentioned giving up dance, but I could never put the feeling into words. Thank you for clarifying that it is related to dance serving as an identity and the feeling is withdrawl.
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You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.
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