Inclusion and diversity in our choreographies and classrooms
Longley, Alys Megan
Dance is currently being implemented as a curriculum subject in primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand. This thesis aims to support and advocate for the inclusion of dance in the curriculum, by exploring practical methods of facilitating inclusive choreographic structures. The objectives of this research are formed within the key question: 'How can choreographic practice embrace the values of inclusion in dance education?' This study analysed a specific choreographic process and its resulting performance. Six participants with diverse dance experience were invited to take part in a study comprising twenty dance workshop sessions through July-November 2002. The methodology of this study works within a paradigm of kinaesthetic phenomenology (Kleinman, 1991), creating a performed as well as a written thesis, I have worked towards overcoming the inadequacy of the written word to translate the complexity and mystery of artistic, somatic, relational interactions and understanding. The central research fields that created the methodological framework of this study were arts in education (Eisner, 1998), dance as research method and articulation (Ellis, 2002, Brown, 1994, 2001) and writing as a method of inquiry (Richardson, 2000). A ten minute video documentary presents an alternative evocation of our process to its final stages with an emphasis on the lived qualities, dynamics, and relationships inherent in this project. This study highlights that inclusive choreographic process and practice places the community and safety of dance participants above the achievement of specific dance exercises. Starting points for teaching dance with a focus on participation and access emerged from the workshops through the four concepts of balance and support, awareness and initiation, moving without sight, and tuning scores. Outcomes of this study also include teaching strategies for facilitating dance with a focus on the unity and diversity of participants, and awareness of the value of somatic education in meeting the holistic aims of the New Zealand Dance Curriculum (2000). The wider implications of this study reinforce the unique place dance education occupies in promoting mental and physical health in schools through its potential as a holistic discipline. This thesis also provides a framework for using phenomenological methods of research between artistic, educational, and academic practices.
Advisor: Buck, Ralph
Degree Name: Master of Physical Education
Degree Discipline: Physical Education
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis