When I watch others dance I feel a visceral satisfaction which sometimes puzzles me.
This morning I read an article (thanks for the link, Lynn Viehl!) written by David Byrne of the Talking Heads and published in The Smithsonian online. The article is about how our brains process music, but the excerpt that hit home was:
"In a UCLA study, neurologists Istvan Molnar-Szakacs and Katie Overy watched brain scans to see which neurons fired while people and monkeys observed other people and monkeys perform specific actions or experience specific emotions. They determined that a set of neurons in the observer “mirrors” what they saw happening in the observed. If you are watching an athlete, for example, the neurons that are associated with the same muscles the athlete is using will fire. Our muscles don’t move, and sadly there’s no virtual workout or health benefit from watching other people exert themselves, but the neurons do act as if we are mimicking the observed. This mirror effect goes for emotional signals as well."
This neatly explains how I can feel the same joy from watching, as from doing.
What a marvelous gift!
The full article is HERE
Also, HERE is an article about wheelchair dancing. If my health issues were limited to my legs, it would be something I would pursue 100% as it is, I can do the arm movements! (but not the wheelies etc, because of the strain on the abdomen).
(image found HERE but unable to track down artist)