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Art of Medicine

Personal Gestures: Three medical students reflect on why they dance

By Susan Green • Photos taken by Rob Strong during the Spring 2016 Dartmouth Dance Ensemble performance

Creativity is crucial to both choreography of movement and to designing novel scientific experiments. The skills that I've harnessed through dance directly impact my ability to excel in the lab.

—Kevin Shee (MD-PhD '21)

Geisel School of Medicine was an early adopter in using the arts and humanities to help medical students become empathic physicians. Beyond that, medical students who continue their lifelong involvement in the arts say it also gives them joy and keeps them both centered and invigorated.

Philip Montana ('18): Dance inspires me to think outside my comfort zone and create something new. When designing costumes the same is true—I try to invent a new article of clothing each time I work. Early in my second year, worried about grades, I tried to eliminate dance from my life. I was not happy. But when I started dancing again, it led to my highest set of exam grades. Sacrificing a few hours of study time for doing something you love is always worth it.

Kevin Shee (MD-PhD '21): Medicine can feel overwhelming and exhausting because of the amount of material we are required to learn. Dance is a way to reinvigorate myself. Creativity is crucial to both choreography of movement and to designing novel scientific experiments. The skills that I've harnessed through dance directly impact my ability to excel in the lab.

Lye-Yeng Wong ('18): Dance is the backbone of my life; it brings me a sense of joy and liberation that I have not found in anything else. With the rigors of medical school, it is comforting to know I can turn off the chatter and lists that fill my mind to move in a natural, freeing way that doesn't require cerebral effort—to express myself without having to find the perfect words.


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