Socially constructed bodies in American dance classrooms.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jill I. Green, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This article explores body, power and pedagogical issues related to a study in dance education. The study investigated the body perceptions of participant student teachers in a somatics and creativity project within a university level instructional setting. During this project somatic (body-mind) practices were used to explore body perceptions and image. The students then created what they called an 'interactive movement performance', which explored the issues raised in class. It explored how these body perceptions are influenced by society and the dance world. During the project the participants were asked questions about previous experiences in dance education, and how they have learned to perceive their bodies in reference to a model weight and body ideal. The initial qualitative/postpositivist analysis, from class discussion, interviews, observation and document analysis, indicated that the participants' previous experiences in dance did reflect an emphasis on 'ideal body' myths in the dance world. Students also expressed the value of somatic practice as a tool for body awareness and consciousness of these socio-political issues in traditional dance education. The students tended to tie somatics to an inner authority that resists technologies of normalisation and dominant meaning systems in dance and society. Somatic practice facilitated a dialogue through which they realised and expressed the pressures to meet an imposed bodily standard. Further, it allowed them the space to explore a connection to their bodies rather than the disconnection that comes from attempting to meet standards of bodily ideals. This article focuses on the themes of pedagogy and power that emerged from the study.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2001
body image, dance education, dance pedagogy, body perceptions

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