Happy Thursday. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on The Dance Cure by Dr Peter Lovatt.
Humans are born to dance. And in today’s sedentary world, we would all benefit from doing more of it. Science shows that just ten minutes of dancing provides a thorough work out for the body and brain, raising the heartbeat to cause a release of feel-good endorphins, connecting us to our emotions and reducing our stress levels. Dancing quite simply makes us feel more alive.
Dr Peter Lovatt, a former professional dancer turned dance psychologist, has spent the past two decades studying why we dance and what it does for us, and is on a personal mission to make dancing as natural an activity in our daily lives as walking or drinking coffee.
Filled with fascinating case studies from his research as well as great stories from dance history, The Dance Cure will inspire even those who think they “can’t dance” to turn the music on, get up on the floor and dance themselves happy.
What Did I Think?
“Dance. v. intransitive. To leap, skip, hop, or glide with measured steps and rhythmical movements of the body, usually to the accompaniment of music, either by oneself, or with a partner or in a set.” – The Oxford English Dictionary
I love a good boogie, this has become slightly restricted to a kitchen disco as I’ve got older but I do love a bounce round to something upbeat. Spotting a book that delves not into the physical benefits of dancing but also the psychology and mental benefits really jumped out at me.
… do your body and mind a favour and dance.
Lovett’s first chapter gives his background from a bullied dyslexic boy of the 70s who preferred to dance than kick a ball around a pitch, through to his educational successes obtaining a degree, masters and doctorate. This guy showed real resilience and commitment to overcoming his past adversaries.
Self-consciousness holds us back from doing things that we have a natural urge to do.
Lovett looks into social dancing, the fad of flash mobs and the controversial rave scene – I found his section about electronic music really interesting. As a dance music lover, understanding how the bpm in a track is linked to heart rates and how DJs increase the bpm as their set or the evening goes on to give a crowd the natural high was fascinating. There are also so many real life stories Lovett recounts broke up the thought provoking factual narrative. My heart broke as I read about Sofia the dance dreamer.
Despite the book not being particularly long (Amazon quotes the e-book to be 160 pages), Lovatt packs a lot in. It felt a lot longer with the amount of material covered. I found The Dance Cure a great insight into the power of dance whether it’s public and spontaneous, a structured class or behind a closed door in private. As with all forms of exercise, dancing has multiple benefits but dance has that little bit more. I even got a new playlist out of it!
Dancing gives us a pulse; a spark of life.
Who Is Dr Peter Lovett
Dr Peter Lovatt is a Dance Psychologist. After working as a professional dancer in musical theatre, and overcoming a severe reading difficulty, he took degrees in Psychology, English and Neural Computation, combining a fascination with psychology and neuroscience with his passion for dance.
After 15 years of working as an academic, he set up the first Dance Psychology Lab in 2008, where he studied how movement affects social interactions, changes the way people think and solve problems, and enhances human experience.
Peter is a popular motivational speaker, inspiring audiences around the world to embrace the transformative power of dance. He is currently delivering a series of lectures on Dance Psychology at the Royal Ballet School.