Hélène Neveu Kringelbach is anthropologist, lecturer in African Studies at University College London. She has carried out fieldwork in Senegal, France and the UK. Her study of social mobility in Dakar, as seen through the lives and work of dancers and musicians, was published in 2013 as a prize-winning monograph, Dance Circles: Movement, Morality and Self-Fashioning in Urban Senegal (Berghahn Books, 2013). She is now working on an ethnographic study of binational and transnational families between Senegal and Europe. She is one of the project leaders in the Leverhulme-funded Oxford Diasporas Programme.
The overall aim of the research is to investigate the close links between music and dance in the brain and body using the tools of neuroscience and anthropology. Emerging research from both disciplines has started to explore the links but much remains to be explored. From an anthropological perspective, cross-cultural research has shown that in many societies there are no general terms for music and dance, rather people use words for specific performances involving dance and music. In yet other societies, the same word is used for music-making, singing and dancing. From a neuroscientific perspective, listening to music has been shown to engage the action systems of the brain, suggesting that music is preparing the body to dance. We propose to investigate these links further by organising a workshop with leading scholars to explore and bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on music and dance in the brain and body. Further, we propose to carry out anthropological fieldwork in Paris and to write up the results of neuroimaging research on groove, a highly pleasurable form of music setting the body in motion.