Digital technologies and dance: Developing connections between artistic practice, pedagogy, and future higher education curricular practices




Alpert, Valerie

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As digital literacy increases in the world and as educational institutions respond, changes are occurring across disciplines, including dance. This study examines the current status of integrated dance technology curricula at two universities and one community college in the United States, all of which have differing pedagogical and curricular methods for connecting and interweaving artistic dance practice and pedagogy with diverse aspects of technology. This dissertation research further addresses the experiences of those engaged in digital dance teaching, learning, and dance-making; identifies emerging themes of interdisciplinary education (as well as transformative and collaborative teaching, learning, and art-making) and; discusses how various faculty and students describe the construction of their identities within these shifting landscapes.

A conceptual framework of transformation and transformational learning emerges from the dissertation's collected data and includes information gathered from several educational theorists, dance artists, business practitioners, technology theorists and artists. This study also focuses on the lived experiences of thirty-one participants; using narratives of their experiences as students, educators, and artists engaging in digital dance practice as well as analysis of data that includes in-depth interviews, surveys, and informal conversations. The study reveals that digital transformation for each school was described as a creative process with no clear destination, and one that does not exist apart from the people who comprise the dance department culture. What is evident, as many participants suggested, is that the individuals interacting in the digital dance curriculum are still in the process of adapting, shifting, and making meaning of their experiences along the way.

Despite the challenges presented in this study, the majority of participants feel strongly that the integration of digital technologies into their dance practice is valuable in terms of their education or teaching, their artistic practice, and their sense of being and becoming in the world. Therefore, it is possible to imagine that as artists, educators, and students continue to engage in digital dance practices, the teaching and learning about the connections between body and machine will open new possibilities about how we sense potentialities for moving in this world and worlds to come.



Communication and the arts, Education, Artistic practice, Curricular practices, Dance, Digital technologies, Entrepreneurship, Pedagogy