Jeff Meiners is a lecturer and researcher at the University of South Australia. He has taught extensively in schools, universities, as leader of a dance education team in London, and with Ausdance to support dance development. Jeff works with the National Advocates for Arts Education, government and education departments plus overseas projects and as movement director for children’s theatre. Jeff was the Australia Council Dance Board’s Community Representative (2002–7), 2009 Australian Dance Award winner for Outstanding Services to Dance Education and dance writer for the new Australian national curriculum’s Arts Shape paper. Jeff’s doctoral research focuses on dance in the primary school curriculum.
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.
Australians at the 2015 daCi Conference. News from Jeff Meiners about Australians at the 2015 Dance and the Child International Conference
Early childhood professional have long recognised that the arts offer very young children significant ways of knowing about themselves, others and the world.
In this paper Ann Kipling Brown presents an overview of the association and the place of performance at the triennial conferences. Following this discussion, three other daCi members, Kathy Vlassopoulos, Karen Bond and Jeff Meiners, whose work focuses on dance for young people, describe specific events and experiences they have created that reflect the aims of the association.
Firstly, Kathy Vlassopoulos describes the Children’s Dance Festival, held annually in Melbourne, Australia. The festival was initiated in1996 and creates a site-specific event that provides the opportunity for children to experience dance through a collaborative process with professional artists.
Secondly, Karen Bond gives an account of daCi’s 2nd Intergenerational Gathering, titled Out of many, we are One. Over an intensive three-day period, participants explored a progression of dancing and performing related to themes of self, community, and the future.
And thirdly, Jeff Meiners focuses on the creation of work for young children, spanning the years from birth to eight, and explores the nature of the work being created and the responses of the young children as active audience members.