The Biophysical and Emotional Effects of Dancing with a Partner


  • Emily Lobosco University of Florida



dancing, partner-work, touch, anxiety, brain, biometrics


The research on dance's emotional and biophysical effects on a person has expanded to include numerous studies. However, little evidence presents the correlation between dance partner-work – involving both  proximal and physical interaction – and the body's response. Recently, the limitations of engaging in partner-work due to COVID-19's social distancing measures created a heightened interest in this area of research. With this, an experimental study was conducted to explore potential correlations between partner dancing and the body. The main research question of this study asked how a dancer’s anxiety correlates with the degree of human connection throughout a choreographed duet. The methodology included recording biophysical data from two dancers as they performed a choreographed duet. Wearable technology measured each dancer's temperature, muscle contraction, heartbeat, electromyography, and spatial information. Brain function was also measured via a fourteen-channel EEG headset that allowed for whole-brain sensing. This data was recorded as the dancers moved together and independently from each other to compare the effects of varying degrees of contact on the body. To generate additional data, the anxiety levels of each subject were quantified through survey responses after they danced. Preliminary results support the assumption that proximal and physical interaction levels during dance directly impact a person's physical and emotional state. This study highlights the need and potential implications for additional research on brain-body responses to partner movement in dance. 


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