Author: Dr. Marc Richard
Download: full article (PDF)
"We must become better at identifying what students are actually learning in dance and describing how well they are learning it…Understanding what students are actually learning not only gives us ammunition for advocacy, but it also allows us to further our own thinking about what is worth knowing in dance and why. (Stinson, 2005, p. 220)"
Although dance has been a subject in the Ontario curricula for almost fourteen years, there seems to be very little creative dance taking place in elementary schools. In order to address this issue, we could look to places where dance is successfully embraced as an important site of embodied learning and find a means to animate these learning episodes for others in education. But how can we animate dance, as such an ephemeral art form? Recently, early childhood dance scholars (Sansom, 2011) and proponents of creative learning (Craft, Cremin & Burnard, 2008a) have begun to recognize the alignment between the principles and values of the Reggio schools with those of creative dance education and creative learning in general. Reggio-inspired pedagogical documentation might help animate the learning in creative dance, and as Hanna (1999, p. 59) recognizes, dance as a rich resource for embodied knowledge and transformation has been underutilized in our educational reforms. Making visible the many profound moments of bodily learning within a creative dance setting might help to broaden definitions of education and learning.