Dance Experiences

General Learning Seventy-eight seventh-grade, Korean girls were the subjects of a doctoral dissertation done by J. Kim. She studied the effects of both creative dance and traditional dance on creative thinking and on critical thinking. This study suggests that how dance is taught determines the impact on students’ thinking skills. When dance is taught as a sequence of steps to be replicated, higher order thinking skills do not improve. However, when dance is taught as an exercise in creative problem-solving, student’ creative thinking skills improve. Kim, J. (1998). The effects of creative dance instruction on creative and critical thinking of seventh grade female students in Seoul, Korea. Unpublished dissertation, New York University.
General Learning The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) says there are five factors of creativity: fluency, originality, abstractness of titles, elaboration, and resistance to premature closure. S. Minton, in an unpublished manuscript, studying two hundred and eighty-six high school students who were enrolled in both dance and non-dance classes, says that three of those five – elaboration, originality, and abstractness of titles – correlated with higher levels of dance experience. Thus, the study suggests a possible relationship between dance and the kinds of creativity assessed on the TTCT. Minton, S (2000). Assessment of high school students’ creative thinking skills: a comparison of the effects of dance and non-dance classes. Unpublished manuscript, University of Northern Colorado.
General Learning J. Ross, studying sixty at-risk and incarcerated adolescents participating in jazz and hip-hop dance classes, writes a twofold paper. First, she presents an explanation of why dance is an effective medium for fostering self-perception in these kinds of adolescents. Secondly, she demonstrates to college students, who were participant observers, how dance can be used by amalgamating the dance itself, service, and research. Through the use of a number of qualitative methods, Ross understands and depicts what happens in a dance class. Ross, J. (2000, April). Art and community: creating knowledge through service in dance. Presented to the American Education Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
General Learning Researchers investigated the development of artistic skills in dance and music among students identified as economically disadvantaged and who were from diverse, urban backgrounds. They found that fostering artistic development leads at-risk students to becoming “psychologically healthy” adults. Also, students who developed their artistic skills tended to be more focused and disciplined in school and other areas of their lives. Oreck, B., Baum, S., and McCartney, H. Artistic talent development for urban youth: the promise and the challenge. National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
General Learning This study researched the effects of a program that combined creative movement with poetry on two boys with behavioral disorders. Investigators found the boys developed their critical thinking skills and verbal and physical communication skills, furthered their desire to participate in activities with others, and improved their motor and spatial skills. Mentzer, M.C. and Boswell, B.B. (1995). Effects of a movement poetry program on creativity of children with behavioral disorders. Impulse, 183-199.
General Learning Researcher Danielle Jay studied the impact of introducing a dance program to preschool children with disabilities. Grounding her study in Parson’s theory of aesthetic development, the researcher hoped to prove that 12 weeks of dance studies with this age group would measurably enhance each child’s creativity. Studying students’ scores on both pre- and post-instruction assessments, using the Torrence’s Thinking Creatively in Action and Movement test (TCAM), Jay found the post-test scores to be significantly higher for children participating in the dance program versus the control group of children who participated in an adapted physical education program. Students in the dance program scored higher on the imagination subscale, and this score was responsible for the difference between the two totals. The researcher concluded that dance programs built on theoretical models such as Parson’s theory of aesthetic development and Laban and Lawrence’s theories on motor elements could enhance creativity in preschool children with disabilities. Jay, D. (1991). Effect of a dance program on the creativity of preschool handicapped children. Adapted physical activity quarterly. v. 8, pp. 305-316.
General Learning Arts with the Brain in Mind devotes one chapter to kinesthetic arts and discusses how drama, dance, and recreation develops student comprehension. Jensen provides supporting research, graphs, figures and offers suggestions for the classroom that highlights the benefits of kinesthetic learning. Jensen, E. (2001). Arts with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
General Learning Seitz states, “Traditionally, while human movement was accorded a central position in early learning, it has not been granted a major role in mind and thought until fairly recently. Recent theory suggests dance originates in a discrete bodily-kinesthetic “intelligence,” that skilled movement is a form of thinking, and that movement is predominant in all forms of human intellective activity Seitz, J. (2002). Mind, dance, and pedagogy. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 36, 4., 37-42.
General Learning Preschool classes were divided into two instructional groups Russ, S. & Sacha, T. (2006). Effects of pretend imagery on learning dance in preschool children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33, 5, 341-345.
General Learning Authors offer ways to integrate dance into the multicultural (African and Native American cultures) early childhood classroom in the curriculum. Case studies discuss particular ways dance provided students opportunities to empathize across cultures and gave students the opportunity to recall and retain information at higher levels. Kuhlman, W. & Lutz, T. (2000). Learning about culture through dance in kindergarten classrooms. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28, 1, 35-40.
General Learning Stinton presents multiple perspectives on dance education including students Stinton, S. (1992). Reflections on student experience in dance education. Design for Arts in Education, 93, 5, 21-27.
General Learning The 1994 National Task Force on Dance Education report states, “Dance involves a way of knowing that is both intellectual and physical, intuitive and rational. When people create, perform or respond to dance, they engage in acts of observation, analysis, reflection, synthesis, inspiration, creation, transformation, interpretation, application and evaluation. An education without dance is an education that denies children and adults crucial tools for responding to the complexities of contemporary life (10).” Levine, M. (1995). Widening the Circle: Towards A New Vision for Dance Education. Dance/USA.
General Learning Through research and case studies offered through Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times, Hanna argues dance education, “aids the development of kinesthetic intellegence intelligence; teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgements in the absense of rules, and higher-order thinking skills; connects to other knowledge and skills; is a discipline and can be interdisciplinary; and offers other potential benefits to the field.” Hanna, J. (1999). Partering Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
General Learning In 1997 Park investigated learning style preferences of 800 high school students in Los Angeles, California. She found students strongly preferred kinesthetic learning over the following styles: auditory, visual, tactile, group, and individual. Park, C. (1997). Learning style preferences of Asian American (Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese) students in secondary education. Equity and Excellence in Education, 30, 2, 68-77.
General Learning Sir Ken Robinson, author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, talks about creativity and helps to justify the role of movement in academia and in the world. Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA. Retrieved April 9, 2007 from (20 minutes).
General Learning Making connections between the body and the brain, Hannaford asserts the need to bridge teaching with the child’s physical development. She offers practical suggestions and experiential advice for working with young children. Hannaford, C. (1995). Smart moves: why learning is not all in your head. Salt Lake City, UT:Great River Books.
Mathematics Linnette Werner of the University of Minnesota sought the effects of integrated dance and math instruction on students’ attitudes toward and aptitudes of mathematics. Classroom teachers designed a program in which students worked with a dancer once a week in order to learn math concepts. The teachers predicted that the students who participated in the dance class would be more successful in and receptive to math lessons. Indeed, the students who received the dance training were more positive than those students who did not. Also, the dance students were more completely engaged in learning math and could more readily apply math skills to different subjects and in different contexts. Werner, L. (2001, October). Changing student attitudes toward math: using dance to teach math. The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.
Mathematics Math Dance treats dance and math as one discipline, offering teaching methods and exercises for the classroom, grades 4-12. Activities can also be found at [Retrieved March 6, 2006]. Kim, S., Schaffer, K., & Stern, E. (2001). Math Dance with Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern. Santa Cruz, CA: Schaffer, Stern, & Kim.
Mathematics Andrews discusses techniques to talk about objects and space (geometry) through movement and music in the primary classroom. Andrews, A. (1996). Developing spatial sense – a moving experience!. Teaching Children Mathematics. 2, 5, 290-293.
Reading and Language Arts In Seattle, Washington, Gilbert observed a group of third grade students who studied language arts concepts through dance activities. Those students increased their Metropolitan Achievement Test reading scores by 13% in half a year. Gilbert, A.G. (1977). Teaching the 3 Rs through movement experiences. New York: Macmillan.
Reading and Language Arts During playtime, students often took part in spinning, leaping, crawling, rolling, rocking, pointing, and marching. Resulting from these activities, Lyelle Palmer with Winona State University noted significant increases in attention span and reading skills. Palmer, L. (1980). Auditory discrimination development through vestibule-cochlear simulation. Academic Therapy, 55-68.
Reading and Language Arts Meta-analyzing seven research studies of 3,714 in the field of dance, M. Keinanen, L. Hetland, and E. Winner studied the relationship between dance instruction and reading and dance instruction and nonverbal reasoning. They found a small average correlation in the former and a much stronger one in the latter. Another important conclusion is that, overall, research in dance education research is limited, which means that their analysis was by no means exhaustive. In order to more fully study these relationships, the authors maintain, there must be more research in this field. Keinanen, M., L. Hetland, and E. Winner (2000, Fall). Teaching cognitive skills through dance: evidence for near but not far transfer. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 295-306.
Reading and Language Arts The goal of the Basic Reading through Dance (BRD) program is to use dance and movement to further students’ abilities to read. The Chicago Public Schools used the program in 1998-1999, with 176 of its students participating. In this program, students hear a sound or a word and, then, represent it, using their bodies. Researchers found that those students improved their scores on the Read America’s Phono-Graphix Test more so than the control group. Test results indicated that the participants were better able to match letters and words with their sounds. Rose, D. (1999, February). The impact of Whirlwind’s Basic Reading Through Dance program on first grade students’ basic reading skills: study II. Unpublished, 3-D Group.
Reading and Language Arts Professor of Dance Donna Davenport and Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Cheryl Forbes offer ways to integrate dance and writing to enrich both disciplines. Davenport and Forbes take a class from each other’s academic field to find cross-discipline connections. Davenport, D. & Forbes, C. (1997). Writing movement/dancing words: a collaborative pedagogy. Education, 118.
Reading and Language Arts Apol and Kambour discuss how dance and writing brought together successfully a group of elderly and high-school-age women through a 12-week program that used expressive dance and writing techniques to draw from personal narratives. Apol, L. & Kambour T. (1999). Telling stories through writing and dance: an intergenerational project. Language Arts, 77, 2, 106-117.
Reading and Language Arts Dowdy show how primary educational teaching methods have a positive influence on the adults who study them. According to the article Dowdy, K. (1999). Learning by moving: a kinesthetic approach to instruction. Journal of Teaching Academic Survival Skills, 1, 11
Science Offered to all 11th and 12th grade Minnesota students, the Arts High School is one of the most arts-centered secondary schools in the state. “ Hanna, J. (1999). Partering Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Social Studies According to Partnering Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times, “Dance can help prepare students for workplace and community life. Connections between dance education and citizenship develop through dance making and performing practices intended to promote creative problem solving, decision making, and risk taking (100).” Hanna, J. (1999). Partering Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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