Susan R. Koff, EdD, is a clinical associate professor and director of the Dance Education Program in the Steinhardt School at New York University. She previously held positions at Teachers College, Columbia University, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, University of Denver, Pennsylvania State University, and the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Israel. Dr. Koff’s academic and service activities are in the area of dance education, within the United States and in an international arena. She currently serves as chair-elect of the board for Dance and the Child International (daCi).
Proceedings from the 13th World Congress of Dance and the Child International—exploring the theme of identity in dance as it is experienced in formal, non-formal and informal settings of education.
Dance is part of four recognised artistic areas within arts education, which is acknowledged as a key area within UNESCO’s 21st Century Skills. Dance education in particular puts an emphasis on the role of the body in artistic processes, and the body is in current research in educational studies, psychology and neurophysiology highlighted as being the ‘place’ where experiences, cognition and identity processes are grounded. A person’s identity is multi-faceted and believed to be constantly developing in intertwinement with embodied and cultural experiences, social relations and the various situations that the human being experiences.
Reports indicate that dance-learning experiences provided for young people in and outside schools impact positively upon young people’s learning in schools, as well as in pre-service and professional development programs for those who teach dance in various settings. Support of major dance organizations as well as the goals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) affirm the importance of dance education and encourage the research and practice to provide lifelong and intergenerational learning in, about and through dance education. This paper describes the results of a survey questionnaire, which captures the narratives and contexts from lived experiences of university students and graduates in formal, informal and non-formal settings and how those are experienced. This initial study confirmed the power of dance and the significance of dance in peoples’ lives as well as deficiencies in the provision of dance for many.