Research on the method ‘Dans in Samenhang’

Is the method still sufficient for all target groups, in all situations?

By: Ingeborg M. Bos
Position: Senior lecturer BA-DD, ArtEZ, Arnhem, The Netherlands

This is a short introduction to the research report Ingeborg M. Bos has written on behalf of Next Move. The research was commissioned by the ArtEZ BA dance in Education (BA DD). It focused on the Dutch situation only because during the first year of Next Move, all three involved countries emphasized on looking at the work field situations on a national level.

The complete report can be downloaded here


This is a short introduction to the research report Ingeborg M. Bos has written on behalf of Next Move. The research was commissioned by the ArtEZ BA Dance in Education (BA DD). It focused on the Dutch situation only because during the first year of Next Move, all three involved countries emphasized on looking at the work field situations on a national level.

The main goal of Next Move is: Redefining the profession of the dance and music teacher. The projects mission that lies at the base of this goal, is the wish to make dance and music education available for the whole of society; inclusion. Therefor it was the aim of Ingeborg M. Bos to investigate how a specific, learner centered dance method could have a positive influence on the quest for a more inclusive dance world.

Within Next Move, one of the three projects Intellectual Outputs was the development of a ‘Manual of Methods’, a database filled with methodical and didactical materials and products developed during the course of the project. It was evident for ArtEZ BA DD that the first step in creating this database was to take a close look at both the current Dutch work field they prepare their students for and at the most prominent method in their curriculum. The method ‘Dans in Samenhang’ has been taught and applied for more than a decade at the academy and the surrounding work field of its alumni. ArtEZ BA DD is very enthusiastic about the basic principles of this method and wanted to find out if Dutch dance teachers know and use the method and whether it is still up to date in the quickly changing work field, that demands a more inclusive look at dance education.

The research consisted of three surveys amongst alumni of ArtEZ BA DD, who were familiar with the method and amongst dance teachers and dance school owners/school leaders. Furthermore Ingeborg M. Bos interviewed several dance teachers who have different positions and work in various situations in the work field.    

The results

Specifically in amateur schools: looking at what dance styles and dance forms are taught, a strong broadening of choice can be seen. The diversity in dance classes is enormous in order to satisfy all the different goals, ambitions, wishes and possibilities of the dance pupils. Therefor this field requires both generalists as specialists.

In the work field in general: big changes can be seen. Looking at the profession of the dance teacher, there is a significant growth in new target groups to whom and new situations wherein dance is being taught and new ways of how dance is taught. Next to the more traditional field, dance teachers have found work in primary, secondary and vocational education and in community projects, for instance with elderly, refugees and people with different abilities. These changes require more skills on ‘new’ roles for the teacher, who now also needs to be a coach, choreographer, repetitor, entrepreneur and theory teacher.

Looking closer at how dance is being taught these days, one can see a growing interest in the use of the creative/expressive and the choreographic approach of the learner. Many teachers have integrated this in their classes or have created new groups. Many teachers would like in-service training to develop skills in different approaches, teacher roles and specific styles.

The method ‘Dance in Samenhang’ is broadly recognised, known and used in the field. There is no need for a sixth approach. The five recent approaches are sufficient to reach all target groups in all situations.

1 Dans in Samenhang, Vera Bergman, de Kunstconnectie, Utrecht, 2003

The complete report can be downloaded here

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