Home > Uncategorized > Watching ballet makes your brain move

Watching ballet makes your brain move

    Throughout the years, anytime I watched a ballet recital, I actually felt like I was moving with the dancers. I always wondered why or how I had this feeling. Only by chance, I saw an article under the science section of The New York Times about this feeling.

Apparently, researchers did find that ballet lovers who watch ballet performances actually feel like they are dancing.  Researchers came to this conclusion by studying the brain activity of spectators who watch performances often.

The spectators showed muscle-specific responses in their brain as if they had been dancing all their lives. Researchers focused most of their time on the specific muscle called extensor carpi radialis. This connects the upper arm to the hand, which is the muscle ballet dancers usually rely on.

Researchers also focused on spectators of another type of dance performances. They focused on an Indian dance form. But when they studied the brain activity of these spectators they didn’t find any muscle response.

Loving ballet myself, I found this article very interesting. I really do feel like I’m also dancing when I watch a ballet performance and now I know why. My brain was “dancing” instead of my feet. Who else is a ballet lover in this class or is it just me? Does anyone feel like they are playing or dancing the sport or performance they watch?

  1. avtheo
    March 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    It is weird that you posted this because I always have that feeling that I am subconsciously doing the dance moves of the dancer I am watching. This blog post actually makes me feel so much less insecure because I honestly thought I was the only one who felt that way when I would watch any sort of dancing. Science has been creeping up on me like that a lot more recently, which is good because questions that I didn’t even know I was asking have been answered.
    I danced for 10 years before I quit. However, I still love watching dances and dances teams, especially capital funk. But I feel like my mind does other functions other than dancing with dancers. Whenever I listen to music I feel as if my brian has the same reaction to music and dances. In general, I believe the arts truly heightens our creativity and stimulates brain activity.

  2. March 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I always feel like I’m dancing when I watch a performance. I danced for 12 years and quit. That was the worst decision I have ever taken because I miss it. That’s why I always watch dance and talk about it. Haha.

  3. March 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    This is such a cool post. I did ballet when I was little, but I stopped when I was about 7. However one my favorite movies of all time is Center Stage, which follows a group of dancers in the American Ballet Academy. Everytime I watch the movie I feel like I am on stage doing the dance with the performers. I always just attributed it to the fact that I had seen the movie so many times I probably had the dance memorized, but this is a much more logical explanation. I also get this feeling when I watch swimming. I was a competitive swimmer for 11 years, having just stopped last year. Everytime I see swimming, either in person or on TV, I can literally feel my body going through the motions of the strokes. I think it would be interesting to see if this is more common in people who had played/done the sport/activity or if it is something that all people experience

  1. March 31, 2012 at 6:37 am

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