The Healing Power of Dance“Music is primal,” explains Art Sullivan, resident dance instructor at JF&CS. “It is the last memory there when all the others are gone. It resides in the same part of the brain as our primal fears. It triggers memories residing deep within the core of the brain.”

When music is combined with physical movement in the form of dance, studies have shown that it can have a positive, healthy effect on humans. Starting with the premise that the body, mind, and spirit are interconnected, dance can be an effective healing technique for people with developmental, medical, social, physical, and psychological impairments. It uses the body’s movement as a door to mental and physical well-being.

Art sets movement to music specifically selected depending on the make-up of his classes. “If I’m leading the elderly, I use music from the Great American Songbook because it is familiar to them and brings back happy memories. Similarly, if Alzheimer’s patients are involved, music from their youth can bring a very favorable response,” he adds.

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