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Director: Nathalie Bibeau

Producer: Kensington Communications

Executive Producer: Robert Lang

Writer: Allen Booth

Genres: Documentary, Factual, Sports

52’ 4K

It may surprise you to learn that you are a dancer. In fact, we are all dancers. We are the dancing species.

Why We Dance is guided by scientists who are also dancers, and dancers who are also eager explorers of the nexus of movement and our deeper selves. Through their research and vision, the film reveals the evolutionary implications of dance through observation of kinetic animal species, experiments into human development and social behaviour, and a creative challenge for five professional dancers who attempt to use their artistry to connect with the natural world.

We watch as newborn babies interact with the world for the first time through movement. We travel to a French nature preserve to discover that for flamingos, dance-like behaviour is crucial to their survival. We go to a dance studio in Toronto to watch as young dancers attempt to connect with nature by embodying animals' patterns of movement. We go to Oxford University for a social experiment that proves that dancing together changes our brain chemistry. We go to MIT's high-tech movement lab where ballroom dancers use biofeedback to improve their technique and heal their injuries.

In a Toronto park we observe children as they develop the ability to dance to a beat, and discover that while our nearest relatives – the chimpanzees – lack this ability, surprisingly, some birds can groove with the best of us. This evolutionary puzzle is probed by a neurogeneticist who discovers the brain structure that makes beat-matching possible. In an African rainforest we broaden our definition of dance to include the "rain dance" of the chimpanzee, and with the help of a philosopher of dance, the role of movement in evolution is revealed.

On a beach in Toronto, an indigenous choreographer exposes the significance of dance for the survival of unique cultures, and broadens the definition of dance such that the line between dance and movement disappears. And in the end, our dancing philosopher entreats us to dance as a way of participating in our own evolution.

This film takes us into the beating heart of why we simply must dance.