Dance Education in the United States
The Art of Dance
The art of dance uses movement to communicate meaning about the human experience. It is far more than exercise or entertainment. It is a powerful medium to express one's values, thoughts, and aspirations about the lives we live and the world in which we live.
Education in the Art of Dance
Education in the art of dance develops the knowledge and skills required to create, perform, and understand movement as a means of artistic communication. A comprehensive education includes improvisation, technique, choreography, performance, observation and analysis. Exposure to dance history and cultures, kinesiology and anatomy, and movement theories further enriches the dance educational experience.
Importance of Education in the Art of Dance
Education in the art of dance engages the artistic processes of creating, performing and critical analysis. These processes require students to read symbol systems, use critical thinking skills, excel in nonverbal reasoning and communication, exchange ideas, work cooperatively and collaboratively with others, and interact within a multicultural society. More comprehensively, education in the art of dance develops kinesthetic and spatial learning as well as intra- and interpersonal knowledge of self and others.
Arts research shows that students who study dance are more:
• Self-motivated, disciplined and focused in their everyday lives.
• Expressive in their communication of emotions, thoughts and feelings.
• Creative and imaginative.
• Able to critically analyze their own work and the work of others.
Evolution of Dance in U.S. Education
Historically, dance programs have been housed for many years under physical education departments in many educational institutions. To read about the transition of dance education from physical education to the arts, click here. Read more: Dance Education: Arts or PE
Additional Dance Education Resources
Photo credits from top: Photo by Scott Nilsson, courtesy of South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities; Photo courtesy of Arizona Dance Coalition.