Academic journal article Review of Artistic Education

2. on the Educational Potential of Folk Dance

Academic journal article Review of Artistic Education

2. on the Educational Potential of Folk Dance

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Folk dance, also known as traditional dance, ethnic dance, or folk choreography, joins musical folklore and literary folklore to complete the major field of folklore, thus being a distinct third component of this field. Due to the fact that it is a collective creation, folk dance, through syncretic acts developed in the context of dance movement, highlights the common, representative aspects of the character and personality of the individuals from the community in which it appears and develops. Compared to other forms of cultural and artistic manifestation, folk dance is the one that appears most frequently at the level of a community's social life, for which it fulfils certain ceremonial, ritual, or entertainment functions, as a means of communication for the transmission or approval of norms, and for the expression of feelings, states, beliefs, etc. The study of folk dance is the object of the scientific discipline known as Ethnochoreology.

As a recognition of the spiritual and educational values that have been encompassed by folk dance, the Romanian traditional school has given it special attention. Never absent from the program of school festivities, folk dance accompanied the educational reforms made by Spiru Haret through the laws for the organization of secondary and higher education (1898), respectively professional education (1899). Practiced at the gatherings the teachers had the duty to organize through the school institutions, folk dance was also a context for educating the adults. Folk dance's quality of being a bond between the school and the community's social life was thoroughly used in that period, when dancing in the village was "alive" and the Romanian education was just settling on modern principles.

Nowadays, although the contexts of community-organized folk dance have lost a great deal, in terms of frequency, content, and intensity, folk dance is still a frequent activity in Romanian schools. Here, activities that include folk dance are organized as part of the non-formal education, in both formal education institutions, and non-formal ones (such as children clubs), or as part of the formal education done in interdisciplinary contexts, in integrated forms, or as disciplines in the secondary education choreography institutions, and, sporadically, in higher education choreography (or sports) institutions. An example that might give the measure of the frequency of folk dance activities in primary and secondary education is provided by the results of a study I did in 2013, which surveyed teachers in Iaşi county on the topic of the opportunity of featuring folk dance as a study discipline in primary education; 44,14 % of the interviewed answered affirmatively to the question "do you organize folk dance activities with your students? ".

This result shows that, in Iaşi county, there are at least 2500 teachers that organize folk dance activities with primary education students. Based on the experience I have acquired in over 20 years of educational and artistic activity in the field of folk dance, I believe that the aforementioned number may be considered representative for any of the large counties in Romania. Back to the study I have previously mentioned, the respondents' motivation was argued by their intention to satisfy some of the educational needs of knowing the culturaltraditional heritage and value, needs that have a permanent character in the context of the educational partnership school - family - community. However, this study also showed that, in most cases, the objectives of the educational activities that include folk dance and that are coordinated by teachers aim at creating performances, the artistic (and, implicitly, educational) value of which greatly depends on the spare time the teachers and the students have at their disposal, but especially on the knowledges, abilities, and skills in the field of folk choreography the teacher has. …

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