Book Review: The Dance Cure

by Peter LovattHARPER ONE
reviewed by A. Perkins

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The Dance Cure: The Surprising Science to Being Smarter, Stronger, and Happier
By Peter Lovatt, PhD
HARPER ONE

THIS DEFTLY WRITTEN, entertaining book moves seamlessly from personal anecdote to thought-provoking examination of the plethora of studies on the pure power of dance. Peter Lovatt, a dance psychologist and former professional dancer, believes that when we change the way we move, we change the way we think. The most compelling aspects of his work center around these less predictable benefits of dancing. Sure, it’s excellent exercise, not least of all because people actually have fun while doing it, but it also has the added benefit of making us smarter and more creative.

Much research has been done on dance in the fields of neuroscience, biology, medicine, and anthropology, and the evidence is clear: The act of dancing fosters specific psychological and physiological changes that profoundly improve our human experience. More good news is that dance is accessible to everyone. Age is not an obstacle, nor is a perceived lack of rhythm or coordination. No training is necessary. You can dance sitting or even laying down. All that is really required is music, and even that is up for debate.

Lovatt’s passion for his subject is contagious, and his dance prescriptions fascinating. Do you want to feel fully alive? Try disco. More resilient? Cha-cha. More confident in your body? Belly dancing may be your medicine.

“Dancing,” Lovatt writes,“like thinking, allows us to flex muscles that transcend a purely physical realm—it affects our social, cognitive, and emotional health and means that, when we dance, we give a boost to all these aspects of our lives.” And while it might be a little while until we can all go line dancing at our favorite honky-tonk, there’s nothing stopping us from blasting some tunes (Lovatt lists his favorite dance music) and getting down with our own sweet selves.

Read our Book Talk on The Dance Cure: The Surprising Science to Being Smarter, Stronger, and Happier by Dr. Peter Lovatt


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DanceMental HealthBook Reviews

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