15 Reasons why all children should learn to dance

Ever since my post back in May about the Side-by-Side dance program in Utah, I’ve been thinking about dance education in schools and checking out various sources on the subject. Recently I read Judith Lynne Hanna’s 1999 book, Partnering Dance and Education. I really appreciated Hanna’s thorough analysis of the topic, as she explored the potential of dance education, discussed various models of teaching, and cited specific programs and research studies that helped to illustrate the ideas. Particularly I enjoyed her many reasons why learning dance is so valuable, including an entire chapter called “The Power of Dance Well Taught.”

I’d like to share here, straight from the book, 15 benefits of dance and dance education, as listed by Judith Lynne Hanna.

1) Dance education aids the development of kinesthetic intelligence.

2) Dance education creates opportunities for self-expression and communication within the constraints of the medium of the body.

3) Dance, whether representational, thematic, or abstract, is a repository of civilization that changes through time.

4) Dance education teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgments in the absence of rules, and higher-order thinking skills.

5) Dance provides an opportunity for students to recognize that there are multiple solutions to problems. (more…)

Advertisements

Non-review: Does a dance audience ever witness real emotion?

The other night I saw Faye Driscoll’s recent work, There is so much mad in me, at Dance Theater Workshop. While I do not wish to critique the work, I would definitely recommend seeing one of her shows in the future. After the show, I talked with one of my good friends who was a dancer in the piece. He was sharing his experience performing a particular part of the dance, a very dramatic and theatrical solo that included some audience interaction. And his description of the performer’s perspective reminded me of an ongoing discussion in dance theory about emotions in performance.

In the book The Performer-Audience Connection: Emotion to Metaphor in Dance and Society, Judith Lynne Hanna explores dancer perspectives and audience responses on conveying emotion in various forms of dance. To frame the discussion, she highlights particular dance theorists that continue to inform views of artists today.

(more…)