Dansations School of Dance and Acrobatics

Anya Taylor-Joy | From Ballet to Chess

Playing a young chess prodigy from the 1960’s is a tall task for any actor, however, according to Anya Taylor-Joy, she had already trained for this role. In a full video interview with Collider, about her role in The Queen’s Gambit, Taylor-Joy explains that her acting in the miniseries heavily leaned on her dance training, specifically ballet.

“My training as a dancer actually really helped me because I saw it as like dance choreography for your fingers, and I’m good at remembering steps.”

Dance Memory

The filming was a rigorous process, with much of the shots of the chess matches done in one take—there was no looking back to her script or diagrams of what chess move comes next, it had to be remembered perfectly, just like dance.

Within dance, each move is specifically choreographed to build from the previous move and carry forward the movement to create a whole piece or performance. Taylor-Joy used her ballet memory to make her role truly captivating and convincing.

Dance Improves Brain Health

Dance and memory go hand in hand. No matter the type of dance, if you are participating, you must recall what you have learned and implement what your memory recalls into movement. There is much research being done on the positive effects of dance and what it does to the brain. A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that dance can decidedly improve brain health.

Big Benefits for Young Minds

When a child starts dancing, especially in their formative years, namely four and under, the positive effects of what they learn echoes throughout their lives. Children’s brains develop better spatial reasoning, increased fine motor skills, increased memory, and dance can physiologically change their brain to function more globally. That is to say, use more parts of the brain at the same time, increasing functionality and creativity.   

It is Not Too Early, or Too Late to Start

Learning dance from a young age changes the way our brains work in a wonderful way. Whether, as an actor, using dance memory to memorize chess moves, or an athlete, being more aware of their body and how to use it in competition. At Dansations WNY, we work with children as young as 18 months, all the way to 18 years, and it is never too early to get your child involved in dance. If you are unsure, we have a five-week program to get to know our instructors and studio starting January 4th. If you are interested and have questions, fill out your information here, and we will gladly contact you with more information on how we can get your child involved.