Why do we like to dance?

In class we learned about how music effects our movements and personality. I thought it was really interesting to think about why we move certain ways to certain types of music and why our bodies dance. Why do we enjoy dancing and why do we even enjoy watching people dance? Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance are such popular shows, but why do people find it so entertaining? Is there scientific research behind why we watch these shows?

Scientists have done many studies about how our brain is effected by music. Synchronizing music and movement constitutes a double play in our minds. Music stimulates the pleasure parts of our brains, such as the orbitofrontal cortex and the ventral striatum. Music also effects the cerebellum and is involved in the coordination and timing of movement. This can kind of explain why we find dance so pleasurable.

There is also a lot of evidence that suggests we are attuned to the movement of other people’s bodies. The same parts of our brains are activated when we see someone else moving and when we are the ones moving. We are sensitive to this movement and have similar reaction to seeing these movements. Professional dancers’ brains are also more activated watching other people dance than people who do not dance. Evidence shows that humans like watching other people in motion and adding music to this equation just makes our brains even more heightened. Music can actually help movement skills and improve coordination and rhythm. For example, even fight scenes in movies are choreographed like dances and are even taught along with music. The beat and tempo of the music are very helpful in memorizing steps and body movement. Music also gives them pleasure from performing the movement and will increase the coordination of the movements between partners.

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