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Dance & Science: Aska's journey

I am an international student working towards a Ph.D degree in Dance / Sports & Exercise Psychology - but I didn't always know that this was what I wanted to do or where I would end up. I completed a B.A. in International Liberal Studies (unrelated to Dance or Sports Science whatsoever) in Japan, and made a leap to California to do my M.F.A in Dance. It took some time for me to catch up with all of my peers who had completed a B.A. in Dance, but I successfully completed the programme with my newly aqcuired knowledge in the Eastern philosophy and Dance.

I asked myself: now what? The problem was that, through all the research that I had undergone for my Master's dissertation, I had developed a new (and very very intense) interest towards cognitive science. It was clear that Eastern philosophy has had an impact on the Western dance scene, but I wanted to know if all of those Eastern-influenced dance practices were actually "objectively" valid. When Japanese writings on Zen-Buddhism say that meditation can empty the mind and make way for 'true' movement to arise, it that provable? Does a meditative state REALLY allow the dancer to perform with "grace," like it says in these books? Can cognitive scientists support that claim?

I knew that it was going to be quite a challenge for me to newly learn about cognition and neuroscience at that stage, and I thought that furthering my research in that direction was going to be almost impossible. But then I thought to myself - I DID complete a Master's degree in Dance from scratch, didn't I? Who am I to say that a Ph.D in Dance Science is completely out of the question? So I searched for the perfect University that would allow the overly optimistic student that I was to continue my research, and while I searched, I enrolled in a Sports & Neuroscience course to prep my foundational knowledge for this research expedition.

That was when I found the University of Chichester - and my wonderful supervisors who warmly welcomed me into their programme. Since I started my research, the supervisory team has continuously provided me with an environment which both challenges and supports me to become a successful interdisciplinary researcher. Our work is always innovative and collaborative, constantly opening new doors to the potential of a scientific perspective on dance - or a dance-based methodology for science. Once again, I'm slowly moving towards realising my crazy dream: to become a researcher in fields that I never thought I would step into!

Check out the new BSc (Hons) and MSci (Hons) Dance Science.