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VIDEO: Researchers recommend going to dance and music shows in order to improve our physical and emotional health

A pioneer research carried out by researchers from the University of Granada, in collaboration with the circus company Zen del Sur, shows that performing arts positively influence the spectator’s mood and self-esteem

Their work suggests that this kind of shows have a positive impact on the quality of life.


Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) belonging to the departmentof Sports and Physical Education, in collaboration with the contemporary circuscompany Zen del Sur (Zen of the South), have scientifically analyzed,for the first time in History, the emotional and physiological impact thatperforming arts (specifically a dance and music show) exert on the spectators.

For that, the authors designed an interventionprogram which consisted in going to a circus show with dance and live music anddoing a series of tests about the identification of dance and music expressivetechniques.

In a pioneer pilot study, the researchers haveproven that frequently going to shows of this kind can notably improve thepatients’ health and quality of life, since performing arts can help preventingemotional and cardiovascular diseases.

Their work reveals that including performingarts in our habits can be beneficial for our health, “not just as a means ofentertainment, but also as a tool that contributes to our emotional managementand well-being. Moreover, it contributes to the development of communicativeskills through the use of body language and its expressive techniques, unlikeother activities such as digital leisure or social networks”, Carlos López Aragón and Belén Rueda Villén, researchers from the UGR department of Sports and Physical Educationand authors of this work, explain.

The dancing researcher

In order to carry out their study, theresearchers made an experiment with some students from the UGR Faculty of Physical Education and SportSciences, who assisted as spectators to several shows of dance and music playedby the company Zen del Sur, pioneer in Spain for combining arts andscience. And it turns out that López Aragón, apart of being a UGR researcher, is also a dancer and musician atsaid company.

The participants were registered their heartrate (HR) and given a series of questionnaires for measuring their mood duringthe show.

The results proved that the subjects reacted todifferent scenes in the show both physiologically and emotionally, increasingtheir HR during the most tense moments of dancers and acrobats and reducing itin the moments when the music and the artists’ movements were performed at alower intensity and slower pace.

Co-relation between emotional and physiologicalimpact

“Our work has confirmed that a directco-relation between the emotional and the physiological impact exists, that isto say, between what the spectators affirm to have subjectively felt whilewatching the show (regardless of if they liked it or not) and what theobjective measure of their heart rate indicated us”, López and Rueda explain.

The results show differences between theself-esteem (,046) and the POMS (Profile of Mood States) factors of Tension(,058) and Fatigue (,000) of the participants, that is to say, a reduction ofthose emotional variables. Said reduction matches a drop in the HR duringspecific fragments of the performance and responds to the narrative intentionsof the artists, “since the show meant to describe a path to an emotional stateof calm and balance through the dialogue between music, movement and bodycontrol”. Accordingly, the emotions and feelings that the participantsexperienced and wrote down the most were Joy, Calm, Relax and Motivation.

The UGR researchers seem convinced of “thepossibility of modifying the spectator’s mood through dance and music. Thecontact with such artistic activities can positively influence our health.Science must take advantage of this resource and elaborate interventionprograms that help improving the people’s quality of life”, they say.

Although the researchers from the University of Granada warn about the necessity of furtherdelving into this line of research, they stress the necessity of the spectatorbeing an active element of the show instead of a passive one, “becauseperforming arts may be an amazing tool for creating healthy life habits”.

“In addition, the information and the feedbackthe spectators gave us about what they felt while watching the show and howthat affected them in an emotional way may help art companies improving thequality or communicative intention of their show”, they conclude.

Video made by the UGR Department of Scientific Culture (Unidad deCultura Científica, UCC) and the Communication Management Office (Oficinade Gestión de la Comunicación):




CarlosLópez Aragón

Departamento de Educación Física y Deportiva dela Universidad de Granada


Belén Rueda Villén

Departamento de Educación Física y Deportiva dela Universidad de Granada

Telephone: (+34) 958 246 642