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The ability to know where our own body and body parts are in space is often taken for granted, yet it is of fundamental importance for the majority of our everyday activities, let alone high performance activities such as dancing. This review focuses on the concept of self-localization, the monitoring of the space surrounding one's body, and the disruptions that occur in the presence of pain. A conceptual model is presented of the cortical body matrix with which to consider self-localization; also provided are its historical context, underlying assumptions, and current limitations. Issues described include the neurophysiological and behavioral background to the cortical body matrix model, its application to pain and performance, and the rapidly growing use of bodily illusions to investigate how it is that we know where we are, that we exist in a given location, and that we can interact with the space that surrounds us. Recent insights are drawn on from behavioral, clinical, neuroimaging, and physiological research. Spatial performance is discussed in people with and without pain and its relevance for prevention of injuries, the role of pain during performance, and pain education for dancers and their teachers.

Original publication




Journal article


J Dance Med Sci

Publication Date





24 - 35


Body Image, Dancing, Humans, Motor Activity, Orientation, Proprioception, Psychomotor Performance, Self Concept