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Book Chapter

Human flourishing through dance practice


Vartanian,  Meghedi
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Vartanian, M., Khorsandi, S., Sancho Escanero, L., Acedo-Carmona, C., & Christensen, J. F. (2022). Human flourishing through dance practice. In T. Chemi, E. Brattico, L. O. Fjorback, & L. Harmat (Eds.), Arts and Mindfulness Education for Human Flourishing. London: Routledge.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-4434-E
Happy and self-actualised individuals experience three vital components in their life: hedonia, eudemonia and agency. Dance practice is a context where these three components of a flourishing life can be experienced regularly through the learning experiences that dance practice affords, promoting both self-actualisation and prosocial behaviour. Dance has several physical and psychological health benefits, and it fosters the development of self-discipline, self-awareness, self-respect and respect for others. These “secondary effects” of dance practice for the individual also translate into benefits for the group and for society at large. The purpose of this chapter will be specifically to focus on the following components of prosocial behaviour that are nurtured in a dance class: a) life skill (problem-solving, self-awareness, agency and deferring gratification), b) empathy (through a non-judgemental mindset, avoiding framing, labelling and stigmatizing) and c) theory of mind (the ability to see the stand point of the other).