The Neuroscience Of Dance With Sophia Selene Martins

GUEST CONVERSATIONS

May 21, 2021

PTR 78 | Neuroscience Of Dance

 

There is so much more to dancing than beautiful movements performed on stage. For some, it is healing and even science. Sophia Selene Martins has the research to back this up. She is an international neuroscientist, dancer, performer, and dance teacher, who, through her neuroscience of dance project and dance integrated healing method, provides neurocognitive and dance healing tools. In this episode, Susanne Puerschel talks to her about the things she learned from the neuroscience perspective about using dance for mental well-being and healing purposes. She highlights the importance of embracing arts as potential sources of information about human nature and the human brain, encouraging the community to step outside of the box and demand change. Join Sophia in this conversation and open your eyes to a world where art and science can co-exist and why we should start integrating this fact into our lives.

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The Neuroscience Of Dance With Sophia Selene Martins

Our special guest is Sophia Selene. She is an international neuroscientist, dancer, performer, and dance teacher. She has done her post-graduate studies in Neuroscience, where she conducted a research thesis on the brain mechanism beyond dance. Her research has been published in the Dance Data Cognition and Multimodal Communication Routledge volume and presented at various international conferences and summits.

She trained in dance therapy and somatic practices. She has a double degree in Psychology and Forensic Psychology and worked as a mental health practitioner for four years. Through her neuroscience of dance project and dance integrated healing method, she provides neurocognitive and dance healing tools. She has been helping dancers and dance teachers all over the world with the following key aspects, coping with injuries, neurological recovery, improving class environments and teaching techniques. Also, overcoming struggles like memory equilibrium and learning difficulties, improving mental well-being, improving dance skills and using dance for healing purposes.

She still takes part in research, conducts the Dance Is Medicine podcast, occasionally teaches cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging research methods. At a personal level, she can never sit still. She is a cat and coffee addict, loves to play the piano, and writes poetry. She is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. She is from a mixed background and actively supports the Black Lives Matter movement. She is dyslexic and emphasizes neurodiversity in every teaching. This was a beautiful introduction to a beautiful human being. I cannot wait to share this with you. Sophia has a podcast. Please tag her, tag me, tag the show. Whatever your biggest takeaway is, share it with us so we can provide more value upon those takeaways for you.

Sophia, welcome to the show. I am grateful that you are here. We are going to have a magnificent conversation.

Thank you.

Let me start with some fire-cracker questions to break the ice, to loosen up and maybe to learn something besides what we are doing as a business. You said in your bio that you love coffee. What is your favorite coffee?

Mocha. Chocolate and coffee are my two favorite things. When I discovered that is a thing, we mix chocolate and coffee. It’s my favorite.

How much coffee do you have a day?

I have been trying to cut down but 2 or 3 coffees a day.

Do you have a favorite coffee shop you go to?

It’s quite hard to say because I keep moving around. I always have to find my new coffee shop. Here in the Netherlands, I haven’t been able to find anything because it has been cold since I arrived. Hopefully, I can explore it later.

The knowledge is there. People just need to be willing to open their minds and step outside the box. Click To Tweet

Where were you born? Where do you live?

I was born in Portugal, Lisbon. My hometown is called Sintra, which is a small little village. It has a lot of history, culture, palaces, and castles. It’s quite a fairy tale place. I live in the Netherlands.

Do you have a favorite childhood memory that keeps popping up in your head?

Yes, I have. It was the first time I ever saw a piano and I was amazed by it. A piano is one of my passions. I remember seeing a grand piano and I was fascinated by it. I remember because my grandmother used to go to this place and her friend had this massive piano. I used to go there all the time and play around. I didn’t know what I was playing. I played with the keys and being fascinated by the sound. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old.

Thank you for sharing that. A favorite book that you would always fall back to if you would ever have the time?

That’s a difficult one because I have so many. Maybe I will refer to one I’ve read, The Feeling of What Happens. It is about consciousness and has a lot of neuroscientific philosophical knowledge. It’s a mix of a lot of different perspectives. It makes you analyze who you are, your mind and your body. It makes an introspecting to who you are as yourself and for the person. Also, The Body Keeps the Score, all the way through. I have other books. I like poetry as well but it’s more of Portuguese authors because I did Portuguese Literature at school. In a lot of the books, I can say my favorite is Blindness. It’s from a Portuguese author. I do have a lot of favorite poetry books but they are all Portuguese antidotes. If people are interested, a lot of these are translated, so you can find them on Amazon.

When you’re tired, your body has nothing left, you want to go sit on the couch and watch a movie, what’s your favorite comfort food?

Chocolate all the way. I’m addicted to chocolate. It’s insane.

You gave the whole world permission to eat chocolate. Let’s jump into who you are. There are all of these titles and achievements that you already have gained in your short life. I would love to know how did you get to dancing? What did this journey look like for you to go and then study Neuroscience?

I’ve always been a shy person, introverted but I always loved dancing. I started dancing when I was 21, which is quite late. I started doing it because I needed some kind of a hobby to cope with my mental health and this is what I picked. This is how I started my journey in dance and it became something more serious. I was performing. I became a teacher. I was always interested in movements from the neuroscientific point of view. How do we produce movements? What’s the impact of the movement in the brain? How do we do all the skill movement that we do? How does this happen?

When I started studying Neuroscience at a university, I had the opportunity to start studying dance because it happens that a supervisor there studies dance. The first week of uni, when everyone is still figuring out what to do, I was at his office like, “Can you be my supervisor?” I’m like, “I already picked my supervisor.” He’s one of the most amazing people I know. He has helped me because he always believed in me and always supported me. He has a brilliant mind when it comes to research. It was helpful to have that support and having him share his insight with me.

PTR 78 | Neuroscience Of Dance

Neuroscience Of Dance: It’s important that we start embracing arts as potential sources of information about human nature and the human brain.

 

Tell me a little bit more about what you learned. We’re in the infant stages where we are looking at a dance and the science of it, looking at the science of our brain and what it does to dance. Talk to us a little bit about your findings. You don’t have to share anything that you don’t want to share but, “Where I came from to talk about these things.” What does that have to do with arts and science? It’s not an advantage. It doesn’t work. We are truly in the beginning stages of proving that was not the case. Dance is everywhere and in everything that we are doing and it is important to find a correlation so we can become better at teaching dance. We can become better on stage. We can become better at how we are structuring the organization.

In terms of knowledge, I will get my hands in everything I can when it comes to dancing. I have been trying as well to go more from another level like using dance from another lens like Philosophy or the fields that are not strict and measurable such as science. For me, all the knowledge that I know that is out there, I’m pretty sure I haven’t studied everything that is out there. From all the knowledge I have been gathering to research, reading, extensive writing and all my journey into here, there is so much out there already that it’s not being passed on to dancers.

For me as a dancer, what I have done, informed me and helped me. I find it’s unfair that dancers don’t have access to that. This is where I came up with a project, the Neuroscience of Dance to share it with dancers in a way that everybody can understand. As you said, it’s important that we start embracing Science as artists but also as scientists. It’s important that we start embracing arts as potential sources of information about human nature and the human brain.

It’s important to know because if we know how the brain processes, learns and produces dance, then we know how to overcome many struggles. Be it memory, attention, learning new movements or perfecting motor skills. That helps and what I focus on a lot is in the learning perspective but also the teaching perspective. How can we teach our students better? How can we include everybody, be inclusive and aware of neurodiversity and individual differences? How can we best be helpful to our students as teachers? That is from the teaching side.

I also have the other side, which goes away from cognition. It is more into, what’s the impact of dance on the brain? Why is it beneficial? How can dance be used as a healing and rehabilitation? I’m focused on that as well. The more I study dance, the more I see the benefits. I’m thinking, “Why isn’t this being used as it should be?” Why is that not being used at its fullest potential in the medical settings? We have come a long way since dance therapy was founded, but we are not there yet because dance therapy is seen as a complementary treatment. It’s not something that is as prescribed as you would imagine.

More and more studies prove that sometimes it’s more beneficial than normal rehabilitation techniques. How can we have the other aspects? When I was so focused on the healing properties of dance? How can it be used for rehabilitation? I have those on both sides. I focus on dancers, the structure of the dance, learning and teaching professional dancers. I am also performing dance. Dance is an art form that is on the stage but I also have the other side where dance is something that everyone can do and how can that be used? How can each person use that tool they have inside of them?

Dancers don’t have access to this knowledge. I want to challenge you on that sentence. We all have access to everything that we want to have access to. It’s a matter of, do we see it as valuable to us or not? How can we rephrase that statement if you were to agree and if you are looking at it from a different perspective? How can we, with what you are doing, make the proposition to the dancers valuable that they can’t help themselves but use this content, use what you are doing as something essential for their business? The understanding of showing up in a studio and standing in first position every morning is your first step to being a dancer.

There is so much more that plays into the complete circle of being a dancer. I find that knowledge about how our body and brain works are important. For example, they can look at your content, your research paper, work with you and that’s where the knowledge is. We can do a better job at saying, “There’s knowledge everywhere and you have access to it. You have to know that it’s there and you have to feel that it’s important.” I don’t want to put you on the spot here. I apologize. Does that make sense to you? How does that feel?

I completely agree with that. You mentioned something important, we have the knowledge but are you willing to access it? When it comes to dancers finding, whether it’s important or not, things have roots that come from a long history of body and mind division, and body and brain division. There are a lot of information about the anatomy of the dancers, the body and how different muscle groups work together. There are plenty of physiotherapy and all kinds of things when it comes to anatomy. When you start thinking about the mind and hear the Psychology of Dance and the brain, the Neuroscience of Dance is not seen as important. This comes from seeing dancers’ bodies as objects that need to be manipulated to be perfect.

The mental well-being, the mind that comes attached to it, is not being as valued. There are a lot of focus on our physical well-being but not on mental well-being. This is why the Psychology of Dance is also not popular. I have collaborated with a couple of dance psychologists that face this struggle. It comes to the other side, which is the Neuroscience of Dance like, “Why do I need to know how the brain works?” It’s because your brain is connected to how you move your arm. If you don’t have your proprioceptive sense, which is a sense that tells your brain that your body is connected to your brain. All of those things are connected.

When it comes to finding it, I do see that a lot of dance institutions, schools, teachers and dancers themselves are not aware of how important this is. Dancers are trained to be perfectionists, to be mentally, physically strong and sustain pain. Teachers have been trained to also do that to their students. I am saying this on a general level. I don’t want people to think that I’m here pointing fingers at anybody. Even in institutions, I have seen that.

It’s important to understand that not all scientists are trying to put Art in a box. Click To Tweet

Institutions and schools aren’t even looking at the Neuroscience of Dance yet. They are not even thinking about it. They are waiting for other things like mental well-being for dancers. There are a lot of that that’s happening thankfully, but when it comes to the Neuroscience of Dance, I can see there’s still a barrier between me and them. The importance of knowing not only the mechanism of the body but also the mechanisms of the brain in producing movement. How can we help dancers overcome struggles cognitively? A lot of the time, dancers get injuries because they are not learning the movement properly.

There is a gap between the way they learn and the way the school and the company teach because they don’t have enough proprioceptive awareness. They have no idea because what is proprioceptive awareness? How can you train proprioception? A lot of these are not understanding that when there are gaps in cognition and when we don’t address it, one, the dancer is going to take longer to learn. Second, they are more prone to injury.

Third, in their performance, they are going to struggle a lot. A lot of the struggles that dancers come to me with are easy to fix. They are struggling in their careers as dancers. I say, “Have you tried this?” They were like, “Here’s a solution for the thing I’ve been struggling with. All my life is a mess. I need to adjust the way I’m learning or the way I’m perceiving movement.” A lot of this comes back to the brain. I don’t think people understand that it comes from this history is a state of the science and art division, first of all, and the body and mind division.

A lot of my focus is connecting those two points as well for dancers and accessing knowledge. There are these big things where I feel like some dancers want to access knowledge. Before they find me or they find someone in the field who is willing to sit and have sessions with them. Reading a neuroscientific article for someone who doesn’t have a neuroscientific background is difficult. Most of the time, you are following the brain structures and what they do because you have no idea. Sometimes articles can be complex even for me, so I can imagine someone going and trying to read them.

A lot of the time, we are trying to get information but all of this is encrypted in this academic language and scientific language. What I try to do is I’m giving the workshops everything that I know from research but in a way that can be easily understood. I even explain Neuroscience and the brain structures and having to connect in a fun and passionate way. I don’t make it boring and say, “This structure does this.” I make it fun and interesting because I want people to love and enjoy learning Neuroscience as much as I do. I see teachers, schools and dancers want to do better but they don’t know maybe where to get it exactly. There are a lot of times where dancers want it better but the school doesn’t want it better.

I had a student who was studying Psychology but she was trying to change the dance environment. She has been a dancer for a long time. She was in a dance school and she was like, “I’m tired of this environment. Everyone was tired. I want to change it. I’m going to write an article.” She needed my help. She was fed up. I said to her, “For you to make them hear you, you have to interrelate the mental well-being and the benefits of this and the benefits of having Neuroscience of Dance, Psychology to performance. You need to tell them that this will enhance performance.”

If they are focused on performance and attaining goals, it’s important to connect. We need to speak their language. A lot of the schools are focused on that. They completely oversee the masses as human beings that have so much to offer. I have never been to a dance school. I’m saying this in general from what I see, from the dancers that reach out to me, from the dancers that I have been coaching for the past years. This is always the same problem that comes over and over again.

They feel like their environments they are in are toxic. The schools are not tuned into these things yet. I’m more on the side of modern dance. When I was in Perth, Australia, they were so ahead of the game when it comes to teaching methods and doing exercises in classes that are dance but are related to dance, such as walking and being mindful of your walking. This is insane. The classes I used to attend there, I miss it so much. For me, it was such learning as well as a dancer and as a teacher because they are so ahead of the game. They completely teach the old teaching methods, at least on what I attended. I can’t speak for the entire country. What I’m trying to do is to introduce the old teaching methods. They are not inclusive. We are not including everybody. We are excluding people. We don’t have the perfect body. We have neurodiversity or neurodivergent. Those people need balance too. They have the right to become performers and dancers.

The knowledge is there. People need to be willing to open their minds, step outside the box. Nothing grows inside of a box. You need to step outside and get the resources. It has been hard to do that because my whole purpose is to share the knowledge with dancers. For me to do that, I need to be able to cooperate and to be where the dancers are. A lot of the institutions don’t want to open that box and grab the needles. They’ll be like, “Mental health? We can deal with that a little bit. Psychology? Yes. Neuroscience? What is this?” It’s such a new field and a new thing. They were like, “What is this neuroscience?”

It’s not new. We and I’m talking about the industry, think it’s new because they haven’t heard of it yet.

It’s new to the industry so they were like, “What is this neuroscience?” Sometimes it’s too complex. People don’t even want to try because the brain is too complex.

PTR 78 | Neuroscience Of Dance

Neuroscience Of Dance: The old teaching methods are not inclusive. We’re excluding people. We don’t have the perfect body. We have neurodiversity or neurodivergent.

 

Let’s dig into this a little bit because I’m seeing the same thing as when we are looking at coaches or anybody that is doing something outside of the dance box. It’s normal when change occurs. We have many voices in the industry and the community that is starting to say, “I found another way how we can make it easier. I have Science on my side to prove that what you are doing isn’t working. You are hurting the people. I have proved that if we are looking at the dancer as a whole and not a body that we are seeing so much, we could have different results. We would be able to set people up for success and for a career that is building.”

Dancers don’t start dancing because they think they are going to make the big bucks and be successful. Dancers start dancing because they have to. It’s something in your soul that you have to do. It’s divinely given to them. That doesn’t mean that it has to end in heartbreak. With all the work that is coming up, we are seeking different ways of making it easier. However, let’s move into a little bit of why do you think there are so much pushback? We know that it’s unfamiliar and that it’s maybe overwhelming. There is another reason and I’m curious if you may bring it up. What do you think that other reason could be besides unawareness?

Suddenly people are saying, “Science is proving that you are doing this wrong.” It’s also this protective layer that the community has. When it comes to institutions it’s like, “What do you mean I’m doing something wrong?” People don’t want to see that they were doing something wrong. No one wants to admit that they were causing harm. I don’t think teachers intentionally aren’t inclusive. I don’t think people are doing it intentionally but it’s a hard slap to understand, “I have been discriminated.” In the workshops, when I mention all these things, people realized, “I have been doing this wrong.” People who are willing to learn and grow are like, “This workshop has been great. Now I can do better.”

A lot of people don’t want to accept that they have been doing it wrong. That is one big barrier. They don’t want to know what they should be doing because they don’t want to admit that they have been doing some harm. I don’t think many people intentionally doing harm. It’s about the willingness to grow and do better. Closing eyes and keep doing harm, those are bad. In terms of all the barriers, I wish people were super honest or that I could read their minds and connect with them.

I don’t want the Neuroscience of Dance because there are a lot of barriers that I don’t even know about. People hide their way. They may see a lot of information and walk away and they don’t want to dig more into it. I had people being defensive against me. It’s like, “What do you know?” This doesn’t happen often, thankfully. There are a lot of other layers, which at the beginning was hard. If you look at the history of Neuroscience, dance and even Science in general, in the beginning, it was hard because artists were seeing Science as something that is reductionist. It’s putting things in boxes and is objective.

An artist was concerned that science is going to ruin art but also from the side of science, they didn’t know how to analyze something. Especially, in dance, how do you analyze something personal and individual? It’s an experience that is happening at that moment where the action is the goal and the goal is the action. Everything is happening at the same time and you cannot measure it and its movements. Brain imaging techniques forget about them because most of them required to be static.

There were a lot of challenges, but from the art side, was this preoccupation? What are they analyzing? Do they get us? There are also these other concerns where there is Neuroscience of Dance and these studies. Do they get what dance is? What exactly are they studying? I know that some neuroscientists may not be careful, they may put dance in a box and the way they conduct studies is not the best. I want to also pass a message that a lot of neuroscientists are careful in how they do things. I was lucky to have somebody supervising me and teaching me all of these who were careful. It’s like, “Let’s think about every level of what we are analyzing.” It’s important to understand that not all scientists are trying to put Art in a box and study and say, “This is it.” Not everyone is trying to do that.

You are the Founder of Neuroscience of Dance. Talk to us, what are your programs?

I have constructed a couple of workshops and they are born as I go. The main workshop is Neuroscience of Dance, where I teach all the stages of learning dance, how can we learn better and teach better. That’s the main one and that’s how it started. From there, a lot of the topics, such as memory, became way too much to give one workshop without knowing other topics. I have specific topics such as memory skills and attention skills, where I focus more on each topic.

I also have the Dance Integrative Healing Methods, where I gathered all the healing properties of dance and all the good impact that dance has on the brain and the different aspects that contribute to it. I put it in methods where all the exercises that are based on that but also somatic practices, breathing techniques, and other areas that do not dance, but they provide to dance and the hidden properties of dance and what else will give the neuroscientific explanation. I go a lot into, “This is how the brain processes the self, dance and interaction with others.”

Each exercise is based on Neuroscience and I give explanations as well so people would understand, “This exercise is doing this to my brain.” They can picture it. I have those two levels of the Dance Integrated Healing Method but also the other one where there are various topics. I have a wellness program for dancers where I have four different workshops. The first one is about self-talk and self-comparison. Why do we do it? How can we stop? How can we be kinder to ourselves in the conversations we have with ourselves? How can we stop self-comparison?

The spotlight only becomes bigger when you share it. Click To Tweet

It is common in the dance community, especially we only see people’s lives through the internet because of the lockdown and we are always comparing. I have another workshop, which is on the sense of self and self-image and how movement relates to identity, how identity relates to movement, how we construct a sense of self and what dance has to do with this. Not just how to use creative movement to improve self-esteem and body image, but also how to stop the negativity in regards to body image that is in the dance community of affecting us.

That is a complete workshop for body image. There is the third workshop, which is Dance Integrated Healing Method. There is another workshop for stress and anxiety management. All of these are always from the Neuroscientific perspective because it’s my perspective. That was what I studied. I always give at the neurological level, what is stress, what is anxiety and what can we do to manage those two aspects. This is a wellness program that starts on the first three Saturdays of May 2021. There are different times. If people are interested, they have to go and check. I always have different workshops and different kinds of topics coming up. New topics all the time come up. The Body Image and the Sense of Self is a new topic. It’s something that I have been interested in. Everything that I started studying, I create a new workshop to share that knowledge.

You also have a Facebook group. Do you have a podcast of your own? What is it called?

The Dance is Medicine Podcast.

Subscribe to that podcast. I want to sum this up because you are good at looking at every single avenue and challenge that we are seeing in the dance world. For me, there are 7.8 billion dancers out there. Some pursue it as a career and some just dance in the living room, but we are all dancers. When I see all of what you are doing is the way you can show up as your best dancer, 20% happens in the studio and the other 80% is becoming and being the best dancer that it can be happens outside of the studio.

It happens with what you believe, what you think, what you put in your body, who you are surrounding yourself with, what content are you putting into your brain, how are you looking at yourself and what kind of knowledge do you acquire. There are many other things that come into the container of a dancer that has not been looked at for such a long time. We believe that creating muscles and getting people through each year of dance education is going to make them a dancer.

It makes them fit in that box that we have created for all of these decades and that box is falling apart because people in there are hurting. There are drastic leaders. There are so much abuse and misconduct happening. It’s time to get them off and dance. I wanted to say thank you for looking at all of these avenues on how we can make science more accessible to dance. Science is something in our hands. It’s proven. You cannot deny the facts of science. Turning a blind eye to it is saying yes to all the abuse that we are seeing in this industry.

When you say that people inside the box are falling, especially after the pandemic, dancers had enough. I had more dancers reaching out as soon as the pandemic started because they are fed up with all of these. If people, teachers and schools don’t keep up, they will fall apart. It’s up to them to start making a move. I’m a dancer myself. It is up to us to make the change as well. A lot of the time, people in my workshops ask, “I wish my teacher knew this. I wish they did this. I wish my school knew about this.” I say, “Speak up. Tell them, ‘There’s more out there. You should be looking what’s going on outside of here.’” It’s up to us to speak up and start demanding those resources, mental health support, and teaching methods change. Dance is demanding change as well.

The change as much as the answers we look on the outside to blame everything, the systems and the teachers, everything starts with us. If we don’t find that courage in ourselves to speak up, nobody around us is going to do it for us. This one is truly on us. Every single person who finds the courage to say no or to ask the question brings the entire industry closer to a complete renaissance. I am grateful to you. Thank you for coming on here. Thank you for doing the hard work because that is hard work.

Even though we are not in the business of convincing people, sometimes it seems like we are here to talk over and over again to show our points and say, “Science proves that this is not working the way you are doing it but yet, you are turning a blind eye and it can be exhausting.” I know from my own experience. The more I want to commend you and thank you for doing what you are doing. Anything that I have not mentioned that you would like to say as a closing?

I want to thank you for what you do as well. Shows like these are important. I’m happy to be here and that you invited me. Resources like these are important as well to make the change. I feel like I’m constantly proving myself, proving my work and convincing people. It becomes exhausting. It’s great to have to find like-minded people who are doing the same work. That’s what I love. When I find like-minded people, we collaborate through podcasts, doing workshops together and creating resources together. It makes you feel that you are not alone in the fight and you have people out there that are on the same path as you are. They are also pushing through and climbing the hill. It’s great to see the work that you do. People who work like this and push through are important. It makes me feel that I am not alone.

PTR 78 | Neuroscience Of Dance

Neuroscience Of Dance: It’s up to us to speak up and start demanding those resources, mental health support, and teaching methods change. Dance is demanding change as well.

 

Thank you. You are not alone. Do you know where I learned that concept? In entrepreneurship because entrepreneurs are lonely. I have been in these circles of masterclasses and masterminds where we all come together and we all struggle with the same things. By knowing that we are not alone, it makes us stronger. I found that we don’t have that. We don’t even think in dance, in neuroscience and in any industry to collaborate because everybody is afraid. They are taking something away that will challenge their existence. Here is our call to action on both of us. Collaborate, find communities, find people that you can talk to and talk with, be on each other’s podcasts, show each other off and polish each other’s crowns because that’s how we are all going to become stronger.

What if people are afraid to collaborate and promote others because it’s going to steal something from them? Not understanding that the spotlight only becomes bigger when you share it. Someone told me, “Someone doesn’t want to share the spotlights because they will have enough for themselves.” What if people are scared? That slows things down. We hear competing and stealing things from each other. If we all gather together, there is so much knowledge that I don’t know that someone can give me and I can give them back. I see other people in the field that compliment me and I compliment them. I don’t see them as competition and stealing my audience. A lot of the time, my audience appreciates me having other people with different knowledge. Students are excited every time I collaborate with somebody because there’s new knowledge coming in. It’s great.

Thank you for bringing that up. Everyone, thank you for reading. We will be back. I’m sending you so much love. Thank you for being here.

Thank you, everyone.

Resources for Sophia:

About Sophia Selene Martins

PTR 78 | Neuroscience Of Dance

Sophia Selene is an international neuroscientist, dancer, performer, and dance teacher.

She has done her postgraduate studies in neuroscience where she conducted a research thesis on the brain mechanisms beyond dance. Her research has been published in the “Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication” Routledge volume and presented at various international conferences/summits. She trained in dance therapy and somatic practices have a double degree in Psychology and Forensic Psychology and worked as a mental health practitioner for 4 years.

Through her Neuroscience of Dance project and Dance Integrated Healing Method, she provides neurocognitive and dance healing tools. She has been helping dancers and dance teachers all over the world for the past two years with the following key aspects: coping with injuries, neurological recovery, improving class environments and teaching techniques, overcoming struggles (memory, equilibrium, learning difficulties), improving mental well-being, improving dance skills, and using dance for healing purposes.

Currently, she still takes part in research, conducts the Dance is Medicine Podcast and occasionally teaches cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging research methods.

At a personal level, she can never sit still, she is a cat and coffee addict, loves to play the piano, and write poetry. She is part of the LGBTI1A+ community, she is from a mixed background and actively supports the BML movement, she is dyslexic and emphasises neurodiversity in every teaching.

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  — Susanne shares a quick thought that came to her after hearing a quote. Who told you that you are not deserving of what you want? She remembers how this feeling showed up in her life and how other people’s limiting thoughts would so easily be accepted as hers. Watch the episode here: Listen to the podcast here:   Who told you that you are not deserving of what you want? And I’m back. […]

February 11, 2022

February 10, 2022

February 8, 2022

Past Episodes 

There is a better way to pursue ballet at the professional level. Instead of dancers pushing beyond their body’s limits, there is a healthier way to train your body, your mind and your spirit to soar. To become the best at your craft, you must be healthy. The mentality of surviving to make a performance perfect is an old paradigm that needs to change. As athletes, dancers must thrive in order to shine and connect with their audience. This new approach, leads to fulfillment, strength and longevity. It allows you to give more of your heart and soul on stage, creating an unforgettable experience that moves your audience. And that’s the whole pointe. 

THE POINTE TO RISE MANIFESTO