Dr Peter Lovett and choreographer Ruth Mills are on a mission to get the whole country dancing.
The self-styled Doctor Dance brought his campaign to the Edinburgh International Science Festival last night, in an event that got the whole audience on their feet, grooving away and discovering the emotion in motion.
“Dance is a form of communication where we reveal what is in our hearts”, said Lovett, when sharing the findings of his research on the connection between dance and feelings.
Along with another Science Festival speaker Prof. Richard Wiseman, the pair conducted an experiment where participants were shown the same sequence of dance steps but each time the dancer changed their emotional motivation from happy to sad or neutral. The participants were then asked to identify the emotion of the dance in both full light and darkness where small lights were attached to key joints of the body to show the movement.
Most people taking part in the experiment were able to correctly identify the intended emotion with only a slight reduction in accuracy once the lights were turned off. “In the darkness the form of the dance is gone but the emotion is still present,” said Lovett. Interestingly, the results showed that men were better at identifying sadness and neutral emotions in the dark compared to women. Doctor Dance put this down to the male systemising versus female empathising way of thinking.
Performers from the Dance House Community Company also showcased a piece they had been working on with Mills titled ‘Body Beats’, and shared their love of dance with the festival audience. If you missed it last night you can watch the company’s rehearsal online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxlHqXhg0XM&feature=player_embedded
For more information on Dr. Peter Lovett and his work at the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire, check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B10-qvlODwo