MORE REASON TO SUPPORT THE ARTS! The facts for this info graphic were provided by an article that appeared in the Educational Researcher, the official journal of the American Educational Research Association. The study, “A Nonverbal Language for Imagining and Learning: Dance Education in K–12 Curriculum,” was conducted by JUDITH LYNNE HANNA, a senior research scholar in the Department of Dance and an affiliate in the Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland. While most people think of recreation, performance, play, and physical exercise, Hanna begins her study by establishing dance as an academic discipline.
She compares the communication of verbal and written language with the non-verbal communication of dance, movement, and body language. She studies the impact of dance on the brain drawing conclusions such as, “Physical activity sparks biological changes that encourage brain cells to bind to one another, which reflects the brain’s fundamental ability to adapt to challenges,” therefore, “Extended and/or deep learning in dance thus affects how well the brain processes other tasks.”
She relates the memory and knowledge required to learn dance choreography and patterns with the knowledge required to learn a set pattern that involves analogical and spatial abilities like that required in some mathematical equations. Her most explicit findings in the study support the idea that participation in dance can increase academic achievement and improve brain function.
Hanna’s study is available for free on certain college campuses and locations in the online version of the Educational Researcher here.