Science questions: Is dancing science?

What kind of science is dancing? Let’s think about this scientifically by asking questions and discovering answers.

Youth dancing at Clare County 4-H Lock-in. Photo by Michelle Stiglich.

Youth dancing at Clare County 4-H Lock-in. Photo by Michelle Stiglich.

Dancing is fun, but is it really science? Do I use mathematics as I dance? Do we use technology with dance? What kind of science is dancing? These are a few of the questions some youth asked during a Diversity Through Dance Michigan 4-H program when I mentioned science is everywhere, even in dancing. I explained to them to think about this scientifically by asking questions and discovering answers, and keeping in mind the eight scientific and engineering practices.

First, I explained to the youth there really is dance science. Did you know there are actually dance scientists? Science is everywhere and universities even offer college degrees in dance science. For example, the Department of Health and Kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University explains about dance scientists. They say dance scientists are professionals who are employed by dance companies and dance training facilities throughout the world to devise effective training programs as well as advise dancers regarding nutrition and injury prevention and care. They continue to say that dance scientists also become researchers, dance therapists and better informed dancers and teachers.

The youth started to make discoveries by asking questions. Do I use mathematics as I dance? The youth discovered they used lots of math in counting beats, measuring our dance area, measuring time and discovering how counting helped them with their dancing. Do we use technology with dance? The youth quickly discovered the use of technology in dance as technical difficulties arose with the sound board, microphone and computer. What kind of science is dancing? I had the youth discuss among themselves and answer the type of science they felt dancing was. Physical science was the answer they felt as a group was the most logical and had become inspired to do more research. These youth were becoming aware of science while doing something fun and good for their physical health! Discover your inner scientist to understand and enjoy everything around you.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has many 4-H science programming areas for youth to explore. Science is everywhere with many questions to ask and discoveries to be made. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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