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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

How does the brain see and experience dance? Performing arts have captured the attention of empirical aesthetics and neuroaesthetics. In this chapter, the author reviews studies from cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology that have contributed to our understanding of the brain mechanisms for dance perception. The author introduces the concept of sensorimotor aesthetics, the process whereby the observer evokes an internal simulation of the perceived action of a dance performance, during its emotional and aesthetic experience. The author proposes an embodied aesthetics framework, in which the perception of the dancer’s body, the dance movement, and the expressed emotion are significantly influenced by an observer’s prior experience. Finally, the author discusses potential avenues for enhancing interactions between the science and artistic communities in pursuit of a deeper understanding of the aesthetics of dance.

Keywords: Sensorimotor aesthetics, embodied aesthetics, dance, performing arts, body, movement, aesthetics

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