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Neuroscience of dance

Neuroscientists at City have worked with the Jack Philp Company on new production Psychoacoustic


Academics from City University London have collaborated with a dance company to explore ideas from neuroscience in a new performance called Psychoacoustic.

The result of work between the Jack Philp Company and the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit at City University London, the performance aims to integrate scientific knowledge in the development of new choreography pieces to engage with the public.

The collaboration between City and the Jack Philp Company was started when the company were interested in delving further into the science behind how the body and brain responds to sounds around us.

Forming part of the Data Driven Performing Arts project, the creative and choreographic process was influenced by conversations between choreographer Jack Philp and City neuroscientists Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino, Professor Tina Forster and Dr Ansgar Endress.

Led by Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino, who’s work focuses on neuroaesthtics and embodiment mechanism in action perception and emotion recognition, the conversations were based on the neurocognitive mechanism of emotion perception and emotion understanding, and how we feel other’s emotions.

The City team then worked with the dancers in developing movements based on the bodily sensation of the felt emotion.  The performance is part of a continued collaboration with choreographers and artists to use science to create art.

Speaking about the performance, Dr Calvo-Merino, said:

“The aim behind this exciting collaboration with the Jack Philp Company was to integrate scientific knowledge from neuroscience in the development of new choreography pieces to engage with the audience in a particular manner. This new performance explores body and brain response to sounds around us through the collaborative force of science, music and dance.”

Jack Philp, the choreographer and founder of the company, said:

“Working with a team of consultant neuroscientists we are interested to delve further into the brain and body and see what can actually happen when we hear. Since the inception of Jack Philp Company in 2014 we have continually aimed to collaboratively merge and learn from different mediums. This piece is science doing dance and dance doing science. Something physical, something tested and something seen and heard.”

For more information about the performance, visit

Image credit: Alejandro Galvez-Pol

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