Dance as Education: Towards a National Dance Culture

Dance as Education: Towards a National Dance Culture

Dance as Education: Towards a National Dance Culture

Dance as Education: Towards a National Dance Culture

Synopsis

In this volume the author examines the place of dance in contemporary Britain. Doing so, he sets out to provide the historical, political and structural elements necessary to achieve a broad understanding of dance in society.

Excerpt

There is a great need for a broad and vital understanding of dance in our society; of dance seen as an artistic form of expression crossing all cultures with a long variegated past and a rich present. Strangely such a broad understanding is absent not only among the populace at large, but also among most arts teachers, and, it must be said, even among a significant number of dance teachers and dance practioners. This volume Dance as Education with its telling subtitle Towards a National Dance Culture sets out to provide the historical, political and structural elements necessary for such an understanding. It seeks to educate the reader not only about dance in the curriculum (though that is the major concern in two chapters of the book), but also about dance as an expressive and transformative energy throughout the whole of society. It is not a study made from a detached position; nor does it seek any kind of neutrality. It is an engaged study committed from the outset to the major premise that dance is a great art discipline which belongs to all people and should be made fully accessible to all people, a necessary element of the good society in the Athenian tradition, as defined by David Aspin in The Symbolic Order.

The need for such a volume is brought out by many of the facts and figures which Peter Brinson draws on. For example, from the Arts Council of Great Britain's total yearly budget of £200 million only £15 million are designated to dance. The bare figures alone dramatize an act of injustice. In our educational system, only 50 per cent of our schools actually offer dance to their pupils and in the majority of cases still exclude the male sex. But perhaps the most dramatic sign of gross misunderstanding in our times is the present Government's insistence that dance should be seen as a subordinate part of Physical Education. The only sustained references to dance in the National Curriculum documents are to be found in the HMI pamphlet Physical Education from 5 to 16. The absence of dance in that title is indicative of a gross act of intellectual suppression. For at least

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