Charlotte Svendler Nielsen, PhD, is Associate Professor, Head of Educational Studies at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and member of the research cluster ‘Embodiment, learning and social change’. She is also Project leader: Danish Ministry of Education’s qualitative part of the research project, ‘Learning through Movement’ (2013–2015); Leader: Danish part of the European UNESCO ‘Observatory for arts and cultural learning’; Program chair: 13th Dance and the Child International (daCi) World Congress (2015) and author of peer-reviewed articles in Danish, English and Spanish as well as co-editor of many books, including Dance Education around the World: Perspectives on Dance, Young People and Change (Routledge, 2015).
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.
Dance, Young People and Change brought together young people, parents, educators and others from around the world to share and consider the role of dance in young people’s lives. It provided critical evaluation and reflection on approaches to dance learning, teaching and curriculum for young people and offered opportunities to critique the relevance of dance for young people within education and community contexts.
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.