Rebecca Barnstaple

I am a York Post Doctoral Fellow -

PhD Dance Studies & Neuroscience Graduate Program at York University in Toronto, Canada.

My research involves neurobioligical methods and models for dance, the development of therapeutic dance programs, and applications of dance that support health and well-being acros the lifespan.


What is it to dance?

The experience of dance constitutes the meanring of the world for the dancer. What the researcher seeks, what the dreamer longs for, what is sought by a person with desires, is found and experienced by the dancer in dancing. Dance is the limitless possibility of comprehending and communicating.

Rudolph Laban, The World of the Dancer (1920)


Research and Practice

I am interested in how dance engages, alters, and supports the development and expression of human capabilities.
From research into the neurobiological traces of engaging in dance to the creation and delivery of dance therapy based programs that address the needs of people across the entire lifespan, I have witnessed first-hand the power of dance to heal and transform us.


Biological models of dance

More than an ephemeral art, dance is a transformative practice that involves learning, attention, and skill.
We can see evidence of dance-based experiences in biological traces through posture, movement repertoire, motor schemas and neuroimaging.


Dance Therapy

I provide dance therapy based programs at Chigamik Community Health Centre in Midland, Ontario (and now virtually!). I trained at the National Centre for Dance Therapy in Montreal, graduating in 2015. 


Upcoming Events

  • Change the Pain
    Tue, Sept 22
    Sept 22, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
    Weekly movement experiences to support people living with chronic pain
  • Parkinson's dance and movement class
    Tue, Jul 28
    Jul 28, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
    The Virtual Version of Chigamik's dance based program for people with Parkinsons, family members and friends and anyone who'd like to get their move on with fun and creative prompts. LIVE from my kitchen via Zoom!

Contact Me

Thanks for your interest in my research.
Be in touch with any questions or comments regarding my work and publications. I’d love to hear from you.
Image credit Damian Siqueiros –