What part of the brain controls dancing functions?

Gary Wenk

The answer depends upon whether you are just learning to dance or you are a highly trained dancer. When you are just learning any new motor skill involving the performance of complex sequenced movements like dancing or talking or writing, etc., you use your primary motor cortex, your primary sensory cortex (in order to monitor how your muscles are moving) and two other regions of the brain called the caudate nucleus and thalamus. The role of the caudate and the thalamus is to help coordinate and smooth out the movements in response to how the movements feel to you. They also help you to speed up your movements as you become a better dancer. 

After you become a highly experienced dancer, another region of the brain usually takes over; it's called the cerebellum (or little brain). Whenever we perform a well-learned movement we access our cerebellum to retrieve the memory of how to move our muscles quickly, efficiently and without thinking. This is why thinking during dancing usually gets in the way of dancing well. Once you know the movements of the dance well, the cerebellum allows you to execute them without thinking about where to put your feet or what to do with your arms. 

Your signature is a nice example of how the cerebellum takes over well learned movements. When you sign your name you do not think about how to move your hand - you just do it quickly and each time it looks the same. If you try to write your name slowly you take control away from the cerebellum and your signature will look quite different. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.