Dance Science Symposium 2023
University of Massachusetts Amherst
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
Department of Music & Dance
The Dance Science Symposium 2023 will be held online via Zoom, 1:00 - 3:30pm on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
The Dance Science Symposium 2023 is an official research event of the National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab (Laboratory for the Scientific Study of Dance -LAB:SYNC) based at UMass Amherst.
About the Symposium
The Dance Science Symposium is an annual meeting that aims to bring together dancers and dance scientists to discuss critical and emerging research within the field of dance science and medicine. Grounded in the premise that science is not separate from art, the symposium features original research conducted by professional dancers who are simultaneously active in the field of dance science and medicine. The panel of speakers will reflect diversity in praxis and theory with respect to their dance training and performance histories, as well as in their respective areas of scientific inquiry and expertise. Presentations will address pertinent questions related to dance training and performance in research, as well as illustrate novel applications of dance-based practices or interventions in community contexts and/or clinical populations. The symposium will culminate in a panel discussion on the current state of research in dance science and medicine, with space for musings and insights as they relate to the next steps and evolutions for research in dance.
The Dance Science Symposia are hosted by LAB:SYNC (Director, Dr. Aston K. McCullough, Assistant Professor of Dance Science) and the Program in Dance (Director, Thomas Vacanti, Associate Professor of Dance) of the Department of Music & Dance, College of Humanities & Fine Arts, UMass Amherst.
Saturday, April 22, 2023, 1:00-3:30pm
Each 40-minute presentation will take place online via Zoom
Christina Hugenschmidt, PhD; Christina Soriano, MFA; Deepthi Thumuluri, MS
Wake Forest University, North Carolina
Constantina Theofanopoulou, PhD
City University of New York, Rockefeller University
Edna Carolina Orozco Velasquez, MA
Cenda University Corporation (Bogota, Colombia)
Past Dance Science Symposia Presentions
Dance Science Symposium 2022 Presentations (March 26)
Julia C. Basso, PhD
Presentation: Dance on the Brain: Enhancing Mental Health and Interpersonal Synchrony
Description: Dance evolved as a form of interpersonal coordination, which serves to connect the self to others. We will discuss The Synchronicity Hypothesis of Dance, which posits that we dance for the purpose of intrinsic reward, enhancing behavioral and neural synchrony in the process, leading to improved interpersonal communication.
Martha Waugh, MA
Western Sydney University
Presentation: Dance Self-efficacy in Older Adults
Description: For older adults, self-efficacy for dance – dance-related confidence – is likely to influence participation in dance programs. We explore individual factors expected to contribute to dance self-efficacy and discuss how measuring dance efficacy could inform dance program evaluation and design and improve understanding of dance-related health outcome variability.
Agnieszka Burzynska, PhD
Colorado State University
Presentation: The Dancing Brain: From Young Experts to Older Amateurs
Description: Dance participation and proficiency involves cognitive, social, and physical activity, all of which require neural processing and control. I will present data from two neuroimaging studies on dance. The first study aimed at identifying brain structural, functional, and cognitive correlates of professional dance training in young adults (Burzynska et al., 2015). The second study aimed at understanding whether 6-month exercise and dance training in older adults may elicit white matter plasticity (Burzynska et al., 2017, Mendez et al., 2021).
Dance Science Symposium 2021 Presentations:
Allison Seifert, PhD
Central Connecticut State University
Presentation: The Science and Application of Fitness in Dance
Description: This presentation will review the basic components of physical fitness and how its development positively impacts performance, injury risk, and support for a long and healthy career for dancers and performing artists.
Aviva Kornel, MFA
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance
Presentation: An Investigation into Duende and its Relationship to Flow among Professional Flamenco Performers
Description: This presentation will discuss the findings of Aviva’s graduate research. It will look at how professional flamenco dancers and musicians define duende and make sense of the experience. It will also examine how duende enhances performance and its relationship to a flow state.
Barry Parker, PhD
Presentation: The Importance of a Periodized Strength and Conditioning Program for Dancers
Description: In this talk, we will discuss the benefits of implementing a structured periodized strength and conditioning program in dancers. We will discuss current research and new data from our pilot study with collegiate dancers.
Jessica Sudock, PhD
Presentation with Barry Parker
Peggy Gould, MFA
Sarah Lawrence College
Presentation: Utilizing Functional Anatomy Concepts in Dance Training: Observations, Inspirations, & Notes from the Field
Description: The adage “knowledge is power” is potentially outmoded in its overly simple assertion and yet for dancing, it continues to hold some truth. When dance artists are provided with specific structural and functional information about anatomy in the context of movement, there is often notable improvement in technical capability and expansion of aesthetic range. This talk, intended for an audience of dancers, educators and scientists, provides an introduction including both anecdotal and practice-based examples.