Shona graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Dance with a Bachelor of Dance in 1994. She went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) Psychology at Deakin University in 2000, and a MPsych/PhD (Industrial/Organisational Psychology) from the University of Melbourne in 2007. Her PhD comprised a case study of an effective contemporary dance education program and its participating youth. Shona has taught dance at Deakin University, the Victorian College of the Arts and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She has also been involved in a number of dance related research projects at Edith Cowan University, Australian Dance Theatre, and Flinders University.
This study looks at how incorporating a somatic approach into dance training can provide an aesthetic experience that engages the whole person and establishes the concepts of feeling and artistry as integrated components of dance education. The research advocates for somatic education to be a feature of dance pedagogy by assisting dancers to differentiate between the tone and texture of feelings on a phenomenological level.
Shona Erskine interviews Mark Gordon, director of the Australian Choreographic Centre, and Ruth Osborne, artistic director of the Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble in Canberra. This discussion of the program, indicates how this kind of project can have a direct influence on the community and the public perception of dance.