Dr Peter Lovatt



This resource lists the 21 lectures in the Dance Psychology Lecture S

Podcasts for the 21 lectures will follow.

Lecture notes for some of the lectures are posted below

Lecture 2: Memory and Dance

Learning and remembering dance routines is a huge part of being a dancer. From learning sequences of new dance steps in dance classes to learning a full-length repertoire for a major performance dancers have to do something quite remarkable. They’re shown dances a couple of times and then they just have to remember it. But how do they do that? In this lecture we look at the structure of human memory to see what it can tell us about how dancers learn, remember and perform sequences of dance steps and we look at those things that can help dancers remember more and give better performances.  Three of the important elements for better memory and performance are how dancers think about the steps they have to learn, how they rehearse them in the studio and when they sleep. Get the lecture notes here

Lecture 5: Are humans born to dance?

In this lecture I look at research evidence from studies of very young babies and children in search of clues to help us decide whether dancing is an innate, biologically-driven, activity or whether we learn to dance because of our environmental influences.  I explore four main questions in this lecture: Are babies born with the ability to detect a rhythm? Do babies naturally make rhythmic movements when they hear a rhythmic sound? Can babies synchronise their movements to a rhythmic beat? And are babies preferences for certain sound patterns influenced by how they have moved their body? Get the lecture notes here

Lecture 10: Self-esteem and Recreational Dance

Does recreational dancing improve a person’s self-esteem? The Health Education Authority examined the link between participation in the arts and health. Their report, published by the Health Development Agency (2000), states inter alia that engaging in arts-based activities improved participants’ sense of wellbeing and self-esteem. The data they report seem compelling and conclusive. Across ninety projects 91% reported a development in people’s self-esteem and 82% reported increased confidence. From these data it would seem that participation in community arts-based projects (including dance activities) has a positive impact on people’s self-esteem and confidence.However, the data from scientific studies is less clear. Get the lecture notes here

Lecture 14: Dance, vertigo and Balance

How do dancers maintain their balance
? To have an understanding of how dancers achieve mastery of their balance and control of their spinning spatial orientation we’ll look at the basic mechanisms of the human balance system, we’ll look at those elements of dancer training which might help to develop better balance and control, we’ll look at the scientific evidence which has examined the hypothesis that dancers have better balance than non-dancers, and we’ll finish off by looking at some theories of why dancing might change the way we experience the world. Get the lecture notes here