Please Wait a Moment

The Dancing Brain

Male and female dancers holding hands, looking happy, and dancing to woman playing a keyboard.

Professor: Dr. Rima Faber

Tuition: $550 member / $625 non-member

12 Weeks; 3 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

Jan. 29 - April 21, 2024

Register Here

Have you ever wondered about the science behind WHY we love dance so much? ⁠This course examines the mind in action as it orchestrates skilled movement and how it understands the kinesthetic, symbolic language of dance. Brain function is approached from inside the body as embodiment of thought as experienced in the 12 modes neuro-cognition: observation, engagement, high-level thinking, emotions, memory, imagination and imagery, learning, problem-solving, communication, and creativity. Research about thought processes in learning and performing dance encompasses a vision of dance as creative art, communication, education, and life. Theoretical knowledge is experienced in movement throughout the course. Kinesthetic understanding about how the brain functions while dancers create, perform, or teach dance helps to provides broader comprehension about how audiences perceive movement, how choreographers development ideas, and how students learn dance. EVERYONE who wants to know why we love dance should take the course.

Book Required: Thinking with the Dancing Brain, co-authored by Rima Faber and Sandra Cerny Minton.

Questions about this course? Send an email to

Past Student Testimonials

"This course was incredibly valuable in shedding light on the neurological aspects of both teaching and learning. The content was easily applied to my current teaching situations and provided information to help me improve as an educator."

"This course was challenging and made me think differently about some of the ways I plan and teach classes. The amount of information was somewhat overwhelming, but I plan to read back though the textbook and the recommended reading materials over the next couple of months to improve my understanding of some topics."

"This course strengthened my understanding of the multiple ways students learn. In addition it helped me understand my own process of learning and, in doing so, increased my empathy for my students' processes. I really enjoyed the assignments that challenged me to explore new ideas and reinforce new knowledge through movement activities."

"The subject of this course could not be more profoundly applicable for any teacher of any subject and the design of both the text and OPDI M123 are surprisingly effective training for movement instructors. I liked the interactivity, the most of any NDEO course I've had so far."

"As always, I most enjoyed the interaction with peers through the discussion board. It is so valuable to test your ideas with people who able to give constructive criticism and challenge our beliefs."

Professor Bio

Dr. Rima Faber, PhD, MA, BA - Rima returned to academia after a full career as performer, choreographer, director of several performing companies, and founder and director of the Primary Movers Dance School and Company (1979-2000). Her thesis focused on kinesthetic learning for primary school age children and centered on cutting edge research in cognitive and brain development. Her dissertation researched the philosophic and pedagogical principles of the National Standards for Dance Education. She taught in DC Public Schools from 1980-1997. In the mid- and late 1990s, Rima worked with National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on developing, facilitating, and implementing the national assessments in arts education. Rima is the founding President and Executive Director of the National Dance Education Organization, where she served as Program Director for 12 years. At NDEO, she chaired task forces to develop Standards for Dance in Early Childhood, and newStandards for Dance Education in the Arts. She served as Research Director in NDEO’s research initiative Research in Dance Education and co-editor for Priorities for Research in Dance Education: A Report to the Nation. She has presented her research regularly at conferences since 1996. In 2002, she received the NDEO Visionary Award, in 2004, was admitted into the American University Performing Arts Hall of Fame, and in 2006 received the MetroDC Dance Award for Excellence in Dance Education. She is currently teaching an online course on assessment for Rutgers University, is President of Capital Region Educators of Dance Organization (CREDO), and is on the Advisory Boards of Dance/Metro DC, Joy of Motion Dance Center, and the Dance Notation Bureau. She received a grant from Hands On Science to direct a dance integration program with Baltimore County Public Schools called “Science With Dance in Mind,” and has created a professional development program for CREDO that promotes the full depth, scope, and joy of dance education. Rima teaches OPDI-103: Foundations for Assessments in Dance and OPDI-123: The Dancing Brain.

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