What is the best place to dance

Book review on "Dancing is the best medicine"

Nine chapters to make a whole nation dance. That is the goal of Julia Christensen and Dong-Seon Chang, both neuroscientists and avid dancers. The idea for this book came to them at a conference in Greece. For eight days, they exchanged ideas with other researchers about their shared passion, dancing, and the scientific perspective on it. This conference runs like a red thread through the plant.

The authors consider the phenomenon of dance from different perspectives: from the point of view of current (partly own) neuroscientific and medical research, but also from their experience and knowledge as active dancers. Time and again, personal anecdotes loosen up the research findings. In addition to the questions of why we dance at all and which processes take place in our body and brain, they address its social and emotional significance. In particular, they are interested in whether and how dancing increases physical and mental fitness and to what extent it can prevent or alleviate various diseases such as depression, back pain, dementia and Parkinson's. An extensive list of literature, subdivided into chapters, documents the argumentation, and the numerous examples and metaphors make it clear. For example, the authors compare the brain of a newborn with an Ikea shelf that has not yet been assembled: "Everything is already very close together, but it still has to be moved to its correct place and its later function."

This article is contained in Spectrum Compact, Dancing - Healthy Movement in Time

Survival thanks to "Highway to Hell"

In addition, we learn a lot of interesting and astonishing things, for example that there are special discos for seniors in Korea or which song is best suited as a clock for a chest compressions (it is actually »Highway to Hell«, but given the circumstances it is more advisable » Stayin 'Alive «). There are also flirting tips: women should ensure that their hips swing well when dancing, men watch their right (!) Knee. The book concludes with a "dance test" to find the right dance style for you.

The enthusiasm of the two scientists for dancing is always palpable, can be contagious and encourage people to try things out. What enriches the book on the one hand is also its greatest weakness. Every now and then a more critical look would have been desirable. Only twice do the authors suggest that dancing alone is not a miracle cure for diseases and that research into its effects on our bodies is still in its infancy. And statements like "Dancing can never do harm" withholding that it cannot do any harm not to dance if you are not enthusiastic about it. There are many other ways to move around, get in touch with others, and enjoy life that are just as good for our well-being and health.