Dance / Research

Interdisciplinary Lectures on the Aesthetics of Dance

presented by Julia F. Christensen and Edward Vessel on Thursday, 30 January 2020.

From flamenco to ballet, from hip hop to contemporary - how important is aesthetics in a dance? Join our four experts in dance and the brain for an afternoon of interdisciplinary dialogue around this question. You don’t need to be a dancer or scientist to participate in this event. Everyone is welcome!

Neuroscientific research into dance is only about 15 years old. Dance is as old as humanity. There is a lot we still do not know about why dance is so important to human societies. Is it due to the beauty and aesthetics that it transmits to us? Let’s discuss our different viewpoints.


5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • Luisa Sancho Escanero, Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company: Aesthetic Expectations on Dance
  • Edward Vessel, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics: Tracking Aesthetic Responses to Dance
  • Beatriz Calvo-Merino, City, University of London: Towards a Sensorimotor Approach of Performing Arts
  • Julia F. Christensen, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics: Expressivity Triumphs Aesthetics


This event will be held in English at our Institute, Grüneburgweg 14, Frankfurt am Main. Admission is free and possible from 4:30 p.m. Each talk will take app. 20 minutes with time for questions and answers.

For directions to our Institute, please see Contact and Directions

We kindly ask for registration in advance to


Luisa Sancho Escanero

Luisa has had international dance career, working with important contemporary choreographers. She is the artistic coordinator of the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company and representative of the director. She holds a Master in Theater Sciences and currently intending to pursue a PhD in Dance Sciences.

Edward Vessel

Ed is a neuroscientist and was the first to describe default-mode-network activity in the brain when we engage with artistic materials. He researches brain correlates of aesthetic experiences and has recently ventured into observer responses to dance moves.

Beatriz Calvo-Merino

Beatriz is a neuroscientist and was one of the first researchers to study what happens in the brain when we see dance, and how we are aesthetically moved by dance. She is particularly interested in how dance expertise affects the brain.

Julia F. Christensen

Julia is a former dancer and now psychologist/neuroscientist studying how dance expertise affects emotional sensitivity. She is the author of Tanzen ist die beste Medizin (dance is the best medicine).