• Becoming Undisciplined: Interdisciplinary Issues and Methods in Dance Studies Dissertations from 2007-2009

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Hilsendager, Sarah Chapman; Kahlich, Luke C.; Levitt, Laura, 1960-; Melzer, Patricia, 1970- (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      The purpose of this study is to begin to articulate the theoretical identity of the field of dance studies as an academic discipline and to produce a feminist intervention into the phenomena of disembodied scholarship, while asking questions about disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity within dance studies historically and today. My primary research questions are: What are dance studies research methods? And, which research methods, if any, are inherent to dance as an academic discipline? In order to answer these seemingly direct and simple questions, I also question the assumption that we know what dance studies research methods are. In Chapter 1 I first introduce and qualify myself as a dance artist and scholar, connecting my own experiences to my research; I narrate my research questions in detail and describe the significance, limitations, and scope of this project. In Chapters 2 and 3 I provide a history of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary origins of dance studies in higher education and situate that history within contemporary conversations in dance studies on disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. In Chapter 4 I offer an analysis of the National Dance Education Organization's (NDEO) Research Priorities for Dance Education: A Report to the Nation and The Dance Education Literature and Research descriptive index (DELRdi), an online searchable database that aims to document all literature and research in dance education (not dance studies) from 1926 to the present, as it relates to issues and methods in my own research. In Chapter 5 I identify and describe current research methods found in all dance studies dissertations granted from the 4 doctoral programs in Dance in the United States over a three-year period. This chapter begins to articulate the current theoretical identity of the field. I examine and report on current trends in dance studies research methods and draw comparisons across dance studies doctoral programs, setting the foundation for future discussion of dance studies research methods. In Chapter 6 I summarize the project and make suggestions for the future. A feminist lens is used throughout as a way of providing a feminist intervention into the phenomena of disembodied scholarship by asking questions about research methods (particularly the use of critical theory as a method for research and writing about dance) and if or how particular research methods lead to the production of embodied or disembodied scholarship.
    • Hanya Holm in America, 1931-1936: Dance, Culture and Community

      Bond, Karen E.; Kant, Marion; Kahlich, Luke C.; Dils, Ann (Temple University. Libraries, 2008)
      Though she is widely considered one of the "four pioneers" of American modern dance, German-American Hanya Holm (1893-1992) occupies a shadowy presence in dance history literature. She has often been described as someone who fell in love with America, purged her approach of Germanic elements, and emerged with a more universal one. Her "Americanization" has served as evidence of the Americanness of modern dance, thus eclipsing the German influence on modern dance. This dissertation challenges that narrative by casting new light on Holm's worldview and initial intentions in the New World, and by articulating the specifics of the first five years of her American career. In contrast to previous histories, I propose that Holm did not come to the U.S. to forge an independent career as a choreographer; rather, she came as a missionary for Mary Wigman and her Tanz-Gemeinschaft (dance cultural community). To Wigman and Holm, dance was not only an art form; it was a way of life, a revolt against bourgeois sterility and modern alienation, and a utopian communal vision, even a religion. Artistic expression was only one aspect of modern dance's larger purpose. The transformation of social life was equally important, and Holm was a fervent believer in the need for a widespread amateur dance culture. This study uses a historical methodology and accesses traces of the past such as lectures, school reports, promotional material, newspaper articles, personal notebooks, correspondence, photographs, and other material--much of it discussed here for the first time. These sources provide evidence for new descriptions and interpretations of Holm's migration from Germany to the U.S. and from German dance to American dance. I examine cultural contexts that informed Holm's beliefs, such as early twentieth century German life reform and body culture; provide a sustained analysis of the curriculum of the New York Wigman School of the Dance; and consider how the politicization of dance in the 1930s--in both Germany and the U.S.--affected Holm and her work.

      Bond, Karen E.; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Yalowitz, William C.; Giguere, Miriam (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      This dissertation research examines students’ lived experiences of dance improvisation in a 2014 Hampshire College course titled “Community Crossovers: Dance in the Community” taught by the author. Research methodology is informed by the hermeneutic phenomenology of educational philosopher Max van Manen, dance education research grounded in phenomenological methods by Karen Bond and Susan W. Stinson, among others, and researchers and writers of classroom action research. Sources of qualitative data include students’ reflective writings about their experiences of three selected dance improvisations—Human Puzzle, Mirror, and Approach/Avoid—in both college and community settings. Additional sources contextualizing students’ experiential meanings include course entry questionnaires, videotaped college and community dance sessions, written pedagogical and phenomenological reflections of both the researcher and a teaching assistant, and class discussions. Our Massachusetts community partners were the Treehouse Foundation, Easthampton and the Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, South Hadley. Student lived experience writings were coded over several cycles to identify categories of meaning in each of the three improvisations at both college and community sites, and these were analyzed for themes across four modes of student participation: self, partner, group and movement (an aesthetic mode). Findings revealed bodily-affective-social-aesthetic meaning making that foregrounds relationality, or connection, through embodied experiences. Students’ descriptions of connection can be understood as qualitatively distinct kinds of felt intersubjectivity: two-person, merged, and other-first. Findings are placed in conversation with literature from dance, community-based education, philosophy, and critical pedagogy.
    • "The Proof is in The Pudding": An Examination of How Stated Values of Cultural Diversity are Implemented

      Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Hilsendager, Sarah Chapman; Sloan, Roberta; Cutler, William W. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      In the study, the curricula of three selected dance departments in the United States, whose stated missions embrace cultural diversity, are examined. The primary research question is: Do the curricula of selected dance departments in the United States reflect the values of cultural diversity or pluralism as explicitly expressed in their mission statement? Through random online sample of thirty-nine mission statements from non-conservatory-based dance departments that grant degrees in the field of dance was collected. Although the use of the term diversity expanded greatly throughout the late 20th century, a delimitation of this study was to focus on cultural diversity as it relates to race and ethnicity. Mission statements are part of most dance departments' rationale and communication of values. Since dance departments are a part of larger institutions, it can be assumed that their missions are consistent with the focus of those organizations. As a primary outcome of organizational and of strategic planning, these statements are designed to differentiate one college or university from others. They are an articulation of the specific vision and long-term goals of a college or university, or more specifically in the case of this study, a dance department. Because one cannot assume a college or university's interest or commitment to cultural diversity, this study identified departments with a stated interest in cultural diversity from which to assess how such interest and commitment translates to curriculum; no direct conclusions about the home institution's implicit approach to cultural diversity was made. Future dance educators, dance artists, community artists, and arts administrators, as well as dance historians and scholars, are educated in the dance departments of colleges and universities throughout the United States. Thus, these departments have a large impact on the way dance is experienced throughout our society. Through an analysis of primary data, I examined the ways in which selected dance departments fulfill, or do not fulfill, their stated missions of cultural diversity. The methodology included a document analysis of the following primary source documents: mission statements, audition requirements, sequential department curriculum, required course readings, and demographics of faculty and students. Additionally, all teaching faculty and senior undergraduates from the selected dance departments were given a questionnaire to complete. The educational and performance background of faculty members, along with their areas of expertise, was the focus of the faculty questionnaire. In an effort to understand if student goals are aligned with the mission of the department, the student questionnaire included questions that asked seniors what type of positions they were interested in pursuing after graduation, and whether or not they felt they were prepared to enter the workforce given their course of study. The questions of how student goals are connected to working in culturally diverse communities of the 21st century, and if so, how the curriculum was designed to met the goals of students, were also explored. Finally, a field observation was included to provide context for each of theses institutions. This examination of three selected dance departments in terms of culturally diverse curricular offerings provides dance educators in higher education with examples of how selected dance departments carry out their stated missions. In this study dance departments that have developed strategies and mechanisms to implement their stated missions of cultural diversity throughout their curriculum are highlighted. Additionally, I encourage departments that have not been able to transmit their commitment to cultural diversity to department curriculum to do so, offering them tangible strategies which they can implement.
    • Towards the Construction of a National Dance Education Policy in Jamaica:Public Education Curriculum and Ownership

      Bond, Karen E.; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Gross, Steven Jay; Giguere, Miriam (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand --Confucius (551 - 479 BC) Fundamentally about "doing," Dance is a strong element of Jamaican social and cultural expression. This dissertation is based on the premise that in order to fully educate Jamaica's children and to accomplish "National Outcome 2: World Class Education and Training" of the Jamaican National Development Plan for 2030 (Planning Institute of Jamaica [PIOJ], 2009, p. xvi), Dance should be an integral part of Jamaica's educational curriculum. This study draws on multiple perspectives and sources (autobiographical, critical, historical, socio-cultural, and political) to construct an advocacy platform for the establishment of Dance in Jamaican schools. For the past three decades, Dance educators in Jamaica have developed Dance curricula for public educational institutions, but there is still a need to justify the validity of Dance as part of the general school curriculum and the advantage of its institutionalization to the wider society. Assuming that the objective of our schools is to provide holistic education, then it seems a common sense proposition that every child should be given the opportunity to participate in a dance program. Dance allows children to appreciate rich and diverse cultures, beliefs, and societies. It involves the "whole child" while developing dexterity, intuition, sensitivity, reasoning, memory, and imagination. Assuming that Dance is afforded the opportunity to educate, then research should be conducted to inform curriculum development and decision makers. Five research questions guided the inquiry: (a) What are the historical underpinnings of Dance in Jamaican society that inform the role of Dance in the educational system; in what ways did Dance individuals, groups, institutions and or companies shape the Dance culture in post-colonial Jamaica (1962 - 2009)? (b) In what ways can children in early childhood, primary and secondary educational institutions in Jamaica benefit from the inclusion of Dance Education in the formal school curriculum? (c) How do education stakeholders in Jamaica view the need for a national policy for Dance Education in Jamaica? (d) What factors have prevented the development of a national policy for Dance Education in Jamaica? (e) In reviewing post-Independence Government legislature and policies for education and culture (1962 - 2009), what is needed to support the development of a national policy for Dance Education? The evolution of Jamaican dance education history since Independence in 1962 is both a point of departure and an anchor to broach other themes for discussion: shifting educational philosophies and Dance as a phenomenon of cultural and aesthetic dimensions. Findings of the study strengthen the premise that for every child to be afforded the benefits of Dance Education, Dance should be included in the formal curriculum of public schools as a matter of policy. Such a policy should address major issues like curriculum revision and teacher education, making Dance an essential part of the early childhood through secondary education core curriculum. Jamaica's children need opportunities to communicate in their own unique voice--they need to `own' the Dance. This research has generated a framework towards development of an initial concept paper for policy development in Jamaica. The study is limited to Jamaica, but findings may have implications for the Caribbean region.