Luther sophomore Grinager selected to research how dance affects the body and brain

The dance program at Luther College focuses on learning about the body and developing movement practices to prepare students for careers in their chosen fields. Abigail Grinager, Luther sophomore of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was selected to research new perspectives on dance within interdisciplinary endeavors.  

Grinager, the daughter of Donn and Kristin Grinager of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a 2016 graduate of Washington High School and is majoring in psychology and dance.

"At Luther, we have a unique dance program that focuses on how to use your own body to create movement and dance in ways that enhance your mind, body and spirit. Dance can improve healing in many different ways. I am particularly interested in how dance and movement can be used as therapy in general but, specifically people with Parkinson's disease," said Grinager.

She is working with Jane Hawley, Luther professor of dance, on her project, "Thinking Through the Body: New Perspectives on Dance for Interdisciplinary Endeavors."

Hawley is a founding member of the Movement Fundamentals curriculum at Luther. The program focuses on facilitating a creative environment that promotes various practices within dancing. Traditionally, dance therapy focuses on integrating emotional, cognitive, physical and social aspects in order to create a holistic experience for its participants.

The group's collaboration is one of 26 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars Program and Dean's Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther's academic core.

The results of the project will be presented at Luther's Student Research Symposium in 2018.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.