Music and exercise, of course, can help you better understand your body. However, one well-known film demonstrates how strong that link may be.

Marta C. González appears in the video as a prima dancer with the New York Ballet in the 1960s. González, who died in 2019 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, is shown in the video reenacting what appears to be a Swan Lake dance while listening to music in her wheelchair.

González appeared to instantaneously detect an emotional and visceral link to the music she had danced to on stage, despite the effects of Alzheimer’s illness on her memory; the clip of her remembering the routine is bound to give you shivers.


The video was first released by the Asociación Msica para Despertar, a Spanish group that works with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to improve their mood and memory via music. However, celebrity fans such as Jennifer Garner, Antonio Banderas, and world-renowned choreographer Arlene Phillips have helped it go viral on the internet.

“Our intrinsic connection to music, dance, and the arts is fantastic,” González said in his Instagram post. “This former ballerina’s sense memory of Swan Lake simply melts my heart,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. “We appreciate your involvement in the Alzheimer’s war.”

Banderas posted the video on Facebook, hoping for “a well-deserved honour of innovation and devotion.”

González’s “glimpses of remembrance” throughout the film “broke her heart,” according to Phillips (renowned for choreographing many successful musicals, including Grease and The Wizard of Oz). “How priceless if music and dance can hold or restore memory,” she remarked.

Image 1

González may have remembered the Swan Lake dance from her youth because, while Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can cause irreversible memory loss, music can help restore memories.

Neuropsychologist Kristoffer Rhoads, PhD, explored the potential links between music and dancing and memory recall in a 2017 cover article for Dimensions, a journal published by the University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

According to Rhoads, the intricate cross-body motions of dance “first and foremost recruit and exercise the procedural memory system.” He defines procedural memory as long-term memory connected with learned movement sequences (consider motor abilities like walking, driving a car, riding a bike, etc.).

Furthermore, “it is the type of memory that lasts longer in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and it may benefit individuals in compensating for short-term memory impairments,” he said.

The relationship between music and memory is also examined in the 2014 film Alive Inside. “Music has more power to engage more parts of the brain than any other stimulation,” neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D., says in the documentary’s trailer.

“We have a portal to stimulate and reach someone who is normally unreachable by utilising music to engage certain neural pathways in the brains of dementia sufferers,” said Concetta Tomaino, co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function.