Innovative Music Performance Allows Audience to See Real-Time Brain Activity of Dancers

There's a perennial sense of fascination with what goes through the mind of a gifted performer. At professor Anthony Brandt's innovative dance show "LiveWire," attendees needed not wonder.

That's because in this particular show, the performers wore EEG caps, which monitored their brain waves throughout the performance and even incorporated their neural activity into the visual elements of the show.

Presented by Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, the show, which the university has called the first of its kind, took place at the 2022 International Workshop on the Neural and Social Bases of the Creative Movement. The performers danced to music written by Brandt as part of the "creative experiment."

Anthony Brandt's LiveWire answers what exactly happens to a brain while in a state of dance.

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"This is a pioneering collaboration that is at the same time artwork and an experiment," Brandt explained. "On one side of the stage, the audience could see visualizations of the EEG data displayed on a monitor, while center stage music and dance illustrate the brain’s flexibility through sound and movement."

The term "LiveWire" was developed by fellow Rice University researcher and neuroscientist David Eagleman, who believed our brains are in a constant state of reinvention over time. To that end, further research will be done in the aftermath of "LiveWire" to explore how the performers' brains changed between their training and rehearsals versus their live performance, which will be analyzed in the coming months.

Tagsterms:Brain ActivityDance MusicEEG CapsBy Cameron Sunkel

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