Many of our students choose to double-major or minor in other programs at Luther. Due to the dance program's strong focus on anatomy and physiology, many of those students choose to double-major in dance and a science. Additionally, many science students attend dance classes to enhance their studies.
Post-graduation, these students may choose to begin a career in science or health. Three alumnae share their experiences with the Luther dance program and science.
The dance training that I received at Luther has been essential to my current success. Through the dance curriculum I studied developmental and movement patterns, and learned anatomy and physiology. I have continued the practice and study of efficient function of the body in my chiropractic practice.
As a chiropractor I look at a person’s movement patterns, their stress levels, and how they impact their health. Daily, I work with patients who need to relearn developmental movement patterns. Many need to learn how to move more efficiently and how to fall without injuring their body. When teaching my patients these things, the vast majority of knowledge that I draw on is from my dance training at Luther.
I am currently a Master of Science student in Occupational Therapy. The Movement Fundamentals curriculum prepared me extraordinarily well for this challenging program. I consistently receive feedback from professors and peers that my skills are above my level as a student. These skills, such as my understanding of body mechanics, were developed through dance at Luther. The tenets of the curriculum directly relate to the job requirements of an occupational therapist. I work with patients to increase their joint range of motion, improve their skeletal alignment, and set intentions in their thinking and behavior so they can more efficiently and wholly partake in meaningful, functional occupations. Each day, I come to better understand this discipline through the lens of Movement Fundamentals.
During the spring semester of my senior year, I was enrolled in both neuroscience and contact improvisation. One morning, I was taking notes on the auditory system in my neuroscience course. We learned how our ears swiftly transform vibrations into mechanical pulses, then into fluid waves and electrical signals. These signals ascend to our brain and assimilate with such precision that we can localize a sound’s source within two degrees of space. A true feat of physics and biology. That same afternoon in my contact improvisation class, we danced without sight. We found partners and blindfolds, and I entrusted my partner to guide my tour of the Center for the Arts with only auditory stimuli. She clapped, rustled her shirt, brushed the wall, and I danced. To my surprise, I moved with ease. One sense was diminished, but another was brilliantly alive. And I intimately experienced the biology I learned that morning.
Reflecting on my final semester at Luther, dance brought wholeness to my education. I witnessed the intersection of our biology and our humanity. My scientific knowledge provided insight into my movement patterns as I danced. Immersing myself in the dance ascribed intention to the biology I was learning. Contact improvisation had a profound impact on my interactions with myself, with others, and with our earth.