A Framework for Dance Research

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch


1. Background
Music and dance are both ancient and culturally universal, and form fundamental aspects of human experience. The two phenomena are closely intertwined, and in some cultures there is no linguistic differentiation between them. In Western traditions, however, music and dance have long been regarded as separate, though related, phenomena.
Music research has abounded in recent years, but systematic scientific research on dance is relatively new in most fields, and lacks a unifying framework. Consequently, there is often insufficient integration between dance and other relevant fields, e.g. groove. There is also great disparity in different areas of dance research, e.g. in the neuroscientific literature there is a wealth of research on dance training, but none on groove in dancers.
2. Aims
We present a framework for dance research, in which we delineate the field, and identify its constituent areas, as well as the relationships between dance and other fields. This will facilitate the categorisation of research, the identification of areas that have received insufficient attention to date, and aid in charting a systematic course for future research.
3. Main Contribution

Dance is culturally universal, multi-modal, and combines many different art forms. Dance research is therefore a fertile ground for cross-cultural, cross-modal, and interdisciplinary research. It is relevant to many fields, including: music; psychology; neuroscience; the performing arts; evolutionary biology; and anthropology.

Within these fields, dance research is relevant to specific areas including: improvisation; learning; memory; cognition; embodied cognition; whole body movement; prediction; aesthetics; joint action; action-perception links; sensorimotor coupling; social interaction; communication; social entrainment; therapy; and general well-being and health.

Almost all dance occurs to music, and rhythm is the most important aspect of music in this context. Listening to music often induces a desire to move, and if this is acted on, can result in dance. We therefore particularly highlight the relationships between music, groove, and dance.

4. Implications

Systematic, scientific research on music is well established, and has made significant contributions to music both within and outside of academia, for example practical results of performance research, or applications of music therapy. Despite the fact that dance is a similarly widespread and important phenomenon, dance research has lagged significantly behind music research.

With this framework, we hope to facilitate high quality dance research, and increase the perceived value of dance as an art form in modern western culture, as we have seen occurring thanks to music research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date27 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2023
Event17th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC): Loop - College of Art, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 24 Aug 202328 Aug 2023


Conference17th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC)
LocationCollege of Art, Nihon University
Internet address


  • Dance
  • Groove
  • Action-perception links
  • social interaction


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