Dance News

A New Study Says Dancing Is Awesome for Your Brain

Not that you needed another reason to dance, but here's a pretty nifty one: A study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience says getting your groove on might be good for your brain. Well, specifically for older peoples' brains. But the brain benefits of dance seem to be pretty impressive.


How'd the research team figure that out? They gathered a pool of test subjects in their 60s and 70s and divided it into three groups. One group began a walking regimen; one started a stretching routine; and one started taking dance lessons. (Specifically, country dance, in case you're wondering.)

After six months, the researchers found that members of the dancing group had better-looking "wiring" in the fornix, a part of the brain that's involved with processing speed and memory. The specifics of their findings are, unsurprisingly, a little technical, but if you're scientifically inclined, you can read the full study.

Here's where the fornix is, by the way.

Basically, because dance stimulated them cognitively and socially as well as physically, it boosted their brainpower more than other forms of exercise.

Dance: Good for your body, good for your soul, good for your noggin.

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Justin Boccitto relies on a grounded plié to create a smooth landing out of a turn. (photo by James Jin Photography, courtesy Boccitto)

You know that pirouette dream, when your placement is so perfect you can keep turning forever? That dream is the reality for highly technical tappers, who benefit from the decreased friction of their shoes. Get the placement right and, with a strong spot, they can pirouette for days.

But turning in tap shoes isn't all easy. In fact, those delightfully friction-free shoes bring their own set of challenges, and dancers can easily fall into the spinning-top trap by letting the turn control them, rather than the other way around. Here's how to harness your tap-turning potential.

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Showstopper's National Finals Opening Number Performance

Showstopper has been making its impact on the dance world since 1978. Before then, dancers didn't have a stage to perform on, the opportunity to learn from peers, or a competitive outlet like most sports. Debbie Roberts recognized this missing piece in the dance community and that is how America's first and longest running dance competition, Showstopper, was born. Debbie taught dance for over 26 years and owned and operated her own dance studio for 20 years. She is now the owner and National Director of Showstopper, along side her husband, Dave Roberts. Dancer, teacher, business owner, author, and mother, Debbie has made dance her life's career.

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Oh, hi, EVERYBODY. (Screenshots via YouTube)

Sometimes, you hear talk about an upcoming class video and it sounds too good to be real. Wait: Todrick Hall made a track featuring RuPaul, and then Todrick personally asked Brian Friedman to choreograph it, and then Brian got Maddie and Charlize and Jade and Kaycee and Sean and Gabe and Larsen and Bailey to come out for the class? I just...that can't be right. Can it?

It is right, friends. It is SO RIGHT.

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Dance News
A-DAM RIP-PON [clap, clap, clap clap clap] (with his equally gorgeous partner Jenna Johnson; Craig Sjodin/ABC)

Team USA is totally taking over "Dancing with the Stars" this season! Casting for the upcoming athletes-only "DWTS" cycle, which kicks off April 30, was just announced. And the roster includes a whole bunch of Olympic favorites—including not one, not two, but three figure-skating standouts.

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Dewan getting emotional in "A Little Dance" (via YouTube)

Given that we're still processing our own sadness about the recent dissolution of the couple formerly known as #TeamTatum, we can only imagine how many feelings Jenna Dewan must be feeling. But like all dancers, Dewan knows the best way to deal with big emotions is to dance through them.

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Popular

Winter is drawing to a close and you know what that means -- It's time to really kick this year into gear! Move U has done the research so you can find your best match, look good, and feel great this season with a twist unique to your team! Here are five looks to put your performance on the map in 2018.

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Cover Story
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

With several Shaping Sound tours and TV credits like "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars," and "Boardwalk Empire" to her name, you wouldn't expect Kate Harpootlian to be refreshingly down-to-earth. But that's exactly how she is: As soon as you start talking to the gifted dancer and choreographer, it becomes clear that she doesn't take herself too seriously. And she's happy to tell hilarious stories to prove it. (Ask her about the time she did a Mr. Peanut impression when Mia Michaels asked her to improvise, or the time she starred in a Japanese makeup commercial and had to do grand pliés wearing one pointe shoe and one flat shoe.)

That mixture of humor and grace is evident in Harpootlian's growing body of choreographic work. Her one-act show Better Late Than Never, for example, which premiered last summer, has a jazzy, West Side Story vibe, offsetting heavier moments with touches of whimsy. "There's always a balance in my work," Harpootlian says. "I want to use humor to balance out the darker aspects. It's like one of my friends once said: 'You make me laugh, and then you make me feel bad for laughing.' "

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NBC Universal

The news is out, and we couldn't be more excited: Olympic figure skater/performer of gorgeous Benji Schwimmer choreography/patron saint of sequins/all-around fabulous human Adam Rippon will appear on the upcoming athletes-only "Dancing with the Stars" cycle! Even better, he's been paired with one of our fave pros, Jenna Johnson—the ultimate #dreamteam.

Our Rippon obsession is so real. And that means that in the days since the "DWTS" cast announcement, our minds have been busy imagining all the routines we know Adam and Jenna could slay. Here are 5 numbers that'd totally impress the judges. ("DWTS" producers: You're welcome.)

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Ken Browar/Deborah Ory of NYC Dance Project, courtesy NYC Dance Project

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Fana Tesfagiorgis captivates audiences with her ethereal grace and powerful, commanding technique. A Madison, WI, native, she began training in ballet at Ballet Madison at age 5, and also studied at Interlochen Arts Academy during high school. Later, she graduated from the Ailey/Fordham program with a BFA in dance and a minor in journalism, and danced with companies including Ailey II, Continuum, Footprints, and Nimbus Dance Works. She joined AAADT in 2013. Catch her dancing with the company June 13–17 during its Lincoln Center season. —Courtney Bowers

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Dance News
Because who doesn't want their feet to look as gorgeous as Sara's? (Photo by Christopher Lane)

Ah, the quest for the perfect, foot-flattering, technique-enhancing pointe shoe: It can feel like a never-ending saga. Still on the hunt for that ideal pair? Then you won't want to miss The School at Steps' annual Pointe Shoe Workshop and Fair, happening this Sunday, April 22nd, at 6:30 pm in NYC.

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