Partnering Dance and Education

Partnering Dance and Education

Intelligent Moves for Changing Times

Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics, 1999

CHAMPAIGN, IL–Can dance education help students develop their minds, emotions, and bodies?  What can be learned in, about, and through dance?  How can dance education contribute to the nation’s goals for public education? Drawing on decades of dancing, researching, writing, and teaching dance–in addition to working in the field of education–author Judith Lynne Hanna addresses these questions in Partnering Dance and Education: Intelligent Moves for Changing Times.

The book offers thought-provoking information and insights for university dance educators and their students; physical educators, dance specialists and other teachers, administrators, and policy makers in grades K-12; parents; dance studio owners and instructors; professional dancers; and dance lovers.

Hanna explains that verbal language and dance making call upon the same mental processes and use the same parts of the brain for conceptualization, creativity, and memory. Both have vocabulary, meaning with many symbolic devices and spheres, and grammar. Students further develop critical thinking skills when teachers ask them to discuss or write about why they select specific movements in time, space, and effort to convey ideas and feelings through their dances.

Many people have misconceptions about the art of dance, so Part I of Partnering Dance and Education explains key features of the discipline of dance and how it is a performing, liberal, physical, and applied art. Chapters cite the power of dance to benefit students in their personal, academic, and adult lives. Examples of alternative ways of offering dance education suggest its complexity. Part II describes how social, academic, and career skills can be taught through dance, addresses issues of gender and cultural diversity in dance education, and shows how dance can engage youngsters at risk of dropping out of school as well as help all youngsters deal with stress.


“An excellent and important book on the importance of the arts and particularly dance in the learning and culture of America.  A great deal of research, dedication, and intelligence went into this book.  So impressive, a great accomplishment, my admiration and congratulations to the author.”
Jacques d’Amboise
, former New York City Ballet danseur and founder of the National Dance Institute

“An excellent compendium of efforts in dance education in the United States and a persuasive brief in favor of the inclusion of dance in the education of every child.”
        Howard Gardner, professor in the Harvard University Graduate School of Education

“I am ecstatic since now I have the best of two worlds.  The oral traditions from the Elders in Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas, and Hanna’s new book.”
Chuck Davis
, artistic director of the African American Dance Ensemble

“This book fills many needs.  In general, many of us in the field are ‘old fashioned’ and the people we work with have ‘old fashioned’ ideas about dance.  This book not only brings us up to date, it gives numerous facts, some of which are reaffirming, others which are eye opening, and all of which are inspiring us to provide new and better dance education.  I will use the book to help establish certification for dance in the state of Alabama and to help integrate dance into our curriculum at the Liberal Arts College where I teach.”
        Diana F. Green, Director of Dance Program, Huntingdon College

“I believe this book should become mandatory reading for everyone who operates a dance studio, teaches in an academic setting or is in any fashion connected with the field of dance education today!  Hanna sets forth issues that are not being appropriately nor clearly addressed by most of our peers and does so in an informed manner that would aid them all to view the changing dance education agenda with less trepidation and better understanding.  I believe Partnering Dance and Education to be one of the most valuable dance books I’ve ever been privileged to read, bar none!”
Patricia A. Goulding
, Coordinator, National Dance Week, owner of Patti’s Place Dance Studio


“With its magical potential, dance can help meet the needs of individual youth as well as help nations reach their education goals….Dance is meritorious as an end unto itself and needs no outside excuse or pretext for its presence in school curricula. For this reason, dance warrants in-depth attention apart from its relationship to other education goals. Dance, however, can also facilitate learning other academic disciplines and life skills. Not only can students learn the discipline of dance, but they can also learn about dance and through dance. Through dance education students can discover and address personal and public concerns about health, gender, ethnicity, and their national identity.” (p. 2)

“Dance embodies the human imagination, records human achievement, and distinguishes us as human beings. Creating dance helps form human communities and cultures. Every flourishing culture and civilization has provided for its children the necessary formal instruction to create the arts and to understand their meanings.” (p. 5)

“Dance education in the schools is important because it develops kinesthetic intelligence. This intelligence is echoed in other aspects of students’ lives. Sometimes dance permits humans to express, communicate, and understand ideas, feelings, and things they could not say or understand in other ways. When students receive dance education, they learn information and ways of thinking that complement other subjects. The outcomes of dance education can contribute to education reform and the achievement of the National Education Goals as students learn in, about, and through dance.”  (p. 47)

“Dance education can prepare students with knowledge and skills applicable to academic and lifelong learning, quality of life, and success in the world of work—especially, if teachers help students make the transfer of learning. . . . In learning dance, students also learn about other subjects through dance. And in learning about another subject through dance, students learn about dance. Linkage to different domains of knowing fuels artistic creativity.The process is reciprocal and synergistic. Dance intelligence is multifaceted.” (p. 90)

“Dance does not exist as an isolated entity, but it is embedded in our culture and society. Students can learn in, about, and through dance. Dance can be an integral subject unto itself and also an academic, personal, interpersonal, citizenship, and workplace tutor. Beyond significant instruction in dance technique and creating dances is the goal of helping students make connections between and across subjects. Dance can be taught through an interdisciplinary lens. Books plus dance make learning doubly inscribed.

“Making connections through dance to other subjects and accomplishments can prepare students with knowledge and skills in dance that are applicable to other spheres of life. Dance education can promote cognitive learning, social relations, personal growth, citizenship responsibility, and aesthetic appreciation.

“Dance is a kind of intelligence and learning that can reinforce other kinds of intelligence, and dance is a means of acquiring knowledge.”  (pp. 107-108)


Why a Book on Dance Education?
You’re the Audience

Part I:  Understanding Dance Education

Chapter 1. Is Dance a Distinct Body of Knowledge?
Chapter 2. The Power of Dance Well Taught
Chapter 3. Survival of Dance Education
Chapter 4. Who Should Teach Dance?

Part II.  Learning In, About, and Through Dance

Chapter 5. Teaching Academic, Citizenship, and Workplace Skills Through Dance
Chapter 6. Dance Education for At-Risk Youth
Chapter 7. Children’s Dance at Play as a Teaching Tool
Chapter 8. National Identity and Cultural Diversity in Dance Education
Chapter 9. Dance Education and Gender
Chapter 10. Dance Education and Stress

Finale: Overcoming Obstacles and Moving Forward

Appendix 1. Discussion Questions
Appendix 2. Outline of National Dance Education Standards
Appendix 3. Dance Education Resources
References, Suggested Readings, Index

Published by Human Kinetics, 1999.   Order: 1(800) 747-4457, ISBN: 0-88011-511-4, Price: $30, Binding: Paper, Pages: 255, Item: BHANO511

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