Session 8

What is the purpose of dance?

Dance “fulfills social, recreational, competitive, religious, therapeutic, and artistic functions” (Robinson & Randall, 2014, p.211). Therefore, dance serves many purposes that go above and beyond the other fundamental movement skills. Furthermore, dance can easily be integrated across curriculum due to its versatile nature. Dance in closely linked to cultural practices, is a partner to music, and is a form of emotional and artistic expression. The senses of sight, sound, and touch are all heavily engaged through the activity of dance. One of the wonderful things about dance is that it is very accessible for a wide range of abilities and interests. In many contexts, there is not a “right” way to dance, as it is based upon individual self-expression through movement. “Dance education is valued because it offers the student a different way of knowing, a means of thinking, and a form for expression and understanding of self and others, issues and events” (Robinson & Randall, 2014, p.211-212). When students are able to invent their own dance routines, they are given ownership over their own learning, empowering them within their physical literacy. Furthermore, this allows for creativity to play a large role in PE, which is an important skill that can often be overlooked in this area of learning. When educators use dance lessons to incorporate students’ cultural backgrounds, the purpose of dance becomes one of identity and community building. In my opinion, dance is the most versatile of the fundamental movement concepts in that it can create the most personal meaning, reaching the deepest levels of understanding and growth (of both self and others).

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