Lectures and seminars Brain and Culture lecture: Building the Scientific Evidence for Social Dance as Medicine

16-10-2023 3:00 pm Add to iCal

Speaker: Madeleine E. Hackney, Associate Professor of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology

Zoom Lecture

Everyone is welcome to attend online via Zoom

Click here for more information



  • To describe the context, the rules and the application of social dance in a rehabilitative scenario.
  • To present research supporting social dance as an effective rehabilitative approach for neurodegenerative conditions in older adults.
  • To discuss potential mechanisms underlying social dance's effects on motor, cognitive and psychosocial function in older adults with neurodegenerative disease.



Through history and across cultures, dance has played a role in healing and preventing illness. The 21st century has critical neurological problems to solve, e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease (PD), among others. Dance provides access to unique learning strategies that promote neuroplasticity to improve, perhaps even heal, these conditions. Dance’s therapeutic potential has been the subject of numerous clinical studies over the last decade with observed benefits in physical, cognitive, and emotional domains—particularly for neurodegenerative conditions. Sensory elements, e.g., touch, sound, and sight, contribute to this enjoyment and enhance the potential to acquire new, flexible ways of moving in an environment. Among dances, partnered or social dance, which involves a leader and follower, stands out as it is a cognitively demanding, mentally stimulating movement conversation, using a physical connection via the arms that enables a sophisticated, yet accessible tactile communication system that conveys motor intentions and goals between dancers


Gunnar Bjursell Affiliated to research