Neuroaesthetics and beyond: new horizons in applying the science of the brain to the art of dance

Emily S. Cross, Luca F. Ticini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Throughout history, dance has maintained a critical presence across all human cultures, defying barriers of class, race, and status. How dance has synergistically co-evolved with humans has fueled a rich debate on the function of art and the essence of aesthetic experience, engaging numerous artists, historians, philosophers, and scientists. While dance shares many features with other art forms, one attribute unique to dance is that it is most commonly expressed with the human body. Because of this, social scientists and neuroscientists are turning to dance and dancers to help answer questions of how the brain coordinates the body to perform complex, precise, and beautiful movements. In the present paper, we discuss how recent advances in neuroscientific methods provide the tools to advance our understanding of not only the cerebral phenomena associated with dance learning and observation but also the neural underpinnings of aesthetic appreciation associated with watching dance. We suggest that future work within the fields of dance neuroscience and neuroaesthetics have the potential to provide mutual benefits to both the scientific and artistic communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2011. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • dance
  • neuroscience
  • neuroimaging
  • neuroaesthetics


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