Muscle Memory is a Myth

Mike Dixon asked Deborah Bull: Where is the knowledge on how we walk and dance located? In the brain? In the spine? Or in the muscles?

Muscle memory doesn‘t exist, according to Deborah Bull, ex-Principal dancer with the Royal Ballet and currently artistic director of ROH2 at the Royal Opera House. Muscle memory was a subject she explored for her 2002 Dancer’s Body television series for BBC2. Such was the interest in her research and experience that after the series she was invited to deliver a Royal Institution lecture on the subject and recently she delivered a similar lecture in Cardiff. “I had a letter from Professor Stephen Tomlinson of the College of Medicine at the University of Wales.

He had seen the series and it changed the direction of his research. He invited me to deliver the lecture and I delivered it at the Weston Theatre as part of the opening celebrations of the Millennium Centre.“
If muscle memory does not exist then what do we mean when we refer to the phenomenon? “The only place memory exists is in the brain. I can guess what people might mean by muscle memory. One thing is proprioception, which is, literally, our sense of self; the information sent to the brain from sentry points‚ which exist at different sites around the body in the joints, tendons, muscles, skin and eyes. These messages form a ...

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Tanz August/September 2005
Rubrik: Forgotten Memories, Seite 40
von Mike Dixon