We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dance and learning

How could dance be used as a means to learn important social issues? This was a question raised in my mind on the occasion of my visit to a good friend of mine who is an awesome dancer and dance instructor. Is dance instructor and choreographer same? I am not sure, so avoiding the term.

Dancing or any form of art is an expression of freedom to express emotions. People dance to celebrate, to socialize, to perform. Could dance be used in another form to teach relevant social issues? A human being can possess six intelligence, out of which sense of dance in musical term is one. While I got to witness the training session where my friend trained his students I went through several questions. I would classify them as follows.

1. Dance and its history.
2. Dance and its training
3. Dance and its improvisations (Research in dance)
4. Dance and its social impact
5. Technology and dance.

Dance and its history.
What is the origin of dance and its timeline?
Why do people dance?
What are different types of dances that are performed in different cultures?
What is the contribution of India towards dance?

Dance and its training

How does training of different dances compare for example Salsa vs Bharatnatyam?
What is the difficulty level of learning each?
How can a trainer use cognitive psychology related material for more effective training?
How does dancing compare with playing an instrument? For example say learning to play guitar vs learning to dance?
Can anybody dance? What role does physical parameters like weight, height, bone density etc play in a dancers skills?
Do there exist specific tools to assist learn dance movements faster? Like can a device like foot massager be used to help feet move in a more better manner by providing supportive moves? Or could such a device be manufactured which would be trained to give your body parts synchronize movements in a given specific manner to train your muscles movements?
What role could technology play in making learning fast? Could youtube vidoes have an alternative in terms of learning steps? Could there exist better means to remember steps?

Dance and its improvements

How are new dance steps invented? For example how has dance transformed itself in time?
How much combination of different dance items could be made to propose a fusion or such genre of dance? What is the threshold?
What kid of formal research gets done in the universities which offer "Fine and performing Arts" degrees? Are there conferences to judge the quality of research?

Dance and its social impact.

Could dance be used as a means to teach socially relevant lessons to masses?
Girls love dancing. Girls play an important role in any family as the same girl goes on to become a wife and a mother. But mostly girls tend to avoid serious topics like politics and socially relevant subjects and are a lot ignorant about these issues.
Could dance be used like street plays to portray such messages in an effective manner?
How would a dance on a topic like environment friendliness look and feel like?

Technology and dance

What are the different changes in dance due to technology. For example electric guitar sounds and arouses different feelings than acoustic guitar. How it has influenced dance?
What role does technology like Video sharing plays in spread of dance culture?
Can small children be made to learn dance in an effective manner by using a virtual trainer, for example a video of trainer instead of a live trainer?
Can dance moves be improved by using devices which assist you in learning faster, for example say you strap a motion restriction device to your legs and hands, neck or whatever body part that moves. You configure this device for restrictive movements and the device provides you a feedback like your hand turned 10 degree more than your configured movement. Training your brain with the help of a device.
What other scope does exist to train your mind using cognitive psychology techniques, for effective fast training for your body parts?

I guess there are too many open questions here which could be easily thought upon for coming up with a better and improvised style. Learning is so much fun, if you could apply to set patterns of asking questions to different types of learning. Dance is just one of that.

1 comment:

  1. Mrunal, Awesome column! I will test all your questions in my salsa dance class tonight at Palomar!! I am also fascinated by how people learn to dance, and especially UCSC international engineering students, whom I've attempted to teach. brilliant people, most of whom have very little neuronal connection between feet and brains.

    One of my dance teachers did a masters on Dance Education at Stanford University and wrote a paper on the high correlation between Engineering students and social dance.
    Also fascinating to see how "Dancing With The Stars" is about how people LEARN to dance, and has been AMerica's most popular TV show. The whole learning process is what makes it so human and relatable.
    I am fascinated with how people have different learning styles and while I learn dance best with certain techniques, other people have differeing techniques that work best. adn perhaps it is because dance is so PHYSICAL, that we immediately see the results of learning in one's movements.
    Also culturally, so much of who we are, how we feel, and our cultural values are expressed in dance, starting with the music, but expressing in solo and social dancing. Such important and high quality parts of our life.
    Many thanks for writing these questions, much to ponder and pursue