Exploring identities in dance

Proceedings from the 13th World Congress of Dance and the Child International
by Charlotte Svendler Nielsen & Susan R. Koff

The 13th World Congress of Dance and the Child International (daCi) was held 5–10 July 2015 in Copenhagen Denmark hosted by the Dance Halls, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and the Danish National School of Performing Arts.

The World Congress explored the theme of identity in dance as it is experienced in formal, non-formal and informal settings of education. The program included a variety of activities and presentation formats such as Nordic Dance Flavour workshops, invited keynotes, Creative Meeting Points, Twin Labs, Youth Forums, Professional Forums, papers, panels, roundtables, research and dance workshops, project dialogues, lecture sharing, performances of young people and professional companies.

Dance is part of four recognised artistic areas within arts education, which is acknowledged as a key area within UNESCO’s 21st Century Skills. Dance education, in particular, puts an emphasis on the role of the body in artistic processes, and the body is in current research in educational studies, psychology and neurophysiology highlighted as being the ‘place’ where experiences, cognition and identity processes are grounded. A person’s identity is multi-faceted and believed to be constantly developing in intertwinement with embodied and cultural experiences, social relations and the various situations that the human being experiences. This understanding of identity formed the base for the Congress presentations to explore:

How can we comprehend and describe identity in the 21st Century?

What kinds of identity are experienced and expressed in dance practice of young people around the world today?
What role does dance play for young people to define and perceive their own and others’ identities?
How do professionals working with dance and young people comprehend and articulate their own professional identity?
Following the event, authors of papers, panels, and project dialogues were invited to submit their contributions for these proceedings, the second that are hosted online by Ausdance. The submissions are organised into the themes of the congress program: Embodiment, Empowerment, Assessment, and Education. In addition, there are a few special papers: two papers that report research as recipients of the Across Borders Research Fund from daCi, and one Roundtable report that followed a keynote and the Youth Forums report.

We appreciate the support of all those who made these proceedings a possibility and hope that you will enjoy reading. Please click here to read the proceedings. 

Susan R. Koff and Associate Professor
Charlotte Svendler Nielsen, 
Co-Editors and co-chairs of the Congress committee for papers, panels, and project dialogues.