In our increasingly complex and disturbed world it is clear that new methods are called for if we are to produce educated, well balanced young people who can take their rightful place as adults in society.

Dance and education is a partnership which is finding a growing number of advocates. An understanding and appreciation of the possibilities of this combination is now necessary for teachers who are not in the dance and physical education fields. All teachers need to be aware of the possibilities of this approach.

Dr Judith Lynne Hanna of the University of Maryland is both a dancer and an anthropologist whose research has taken her around the world. In her acknowledgements she wrote "To my friends in Africa, especially Nigeria and Uganda, thank you for opening my eyes to the potential of dance as a medium of education for young and old alike. It was here that I first witnessed dance education, dance in education, and the relationship of dance to other aspects of life."

Her book "Partnering Dance and Education (Human Kinetics 1999) lays out her far-reaching ideas and convictions on the subject of dance and its importance in the future of education. The book is clearly written with educators and dancers in mind and the examples are mainly of the system in the United States. But this is a book that anyone who has an interest in the subject will find illuminating.

She writes "Our approach is to integrate dance into other academic classes, another approach is to offer problem-centered curricula using dance as one way of knowing, teaching, and learning." "In dance education as is the case with most educational practices, rigorous empirical research has not been undertaken on cause-and-effect relationship between certain dance education practices and student outcomes. Few resources have been available for research in dance education and even fewer for systematic assessment."

Here in point form are Dr Lynne Hanna's main points with regard to Dance Education:-

1. Dance education aids the development of kinesthetic intelligence.
2. Dance education creates opportunities for self-expression and communication within the constraints of the medium of the body.
3. Dance, whether representational, thematic or abstract, is a repository of civilization that changes through time.
4. Dance education teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgements in the absence of rules, and higher-order thinking skills.
5. Dance provides an opportunity for students to recognize that there are multiple solutions to problems.
6. The study of dance fosters an individuals ability to better interpret interpersonal nonverbal communication.
7. Dance education provides a strong base from which to analyze and make informed judgements about corporeal images.
8. Learning the dances of other cultures helps students to develop an understanding and respect for them.
9. Through stimulating all the senses, dance goes beyond verbal language in engaging dancers and promoting the development of multi sensory beings.
10. Dance provides options to destructive alternatives in a world that is unpredictable and unsafe for children. It can empower the disempowered and disenfranchised.
11. Dance education prepares people for careers in dance and other fields, such as clinical psychology, chiropractor, anthropologist.
12.Dance enhances an individuals lifelong quality of life.
13. Participation in dance benefits our communities economically.
14. Dance education helps students develop physical fitness, appreciation of the body, concern for sound health practices and effective stress management approaches. Dance shares many of the health benefits of other athletics.

"Partnering Dance and Education" is a clearly written book which demands concentration but the reader will be well rewarded.

Author's Bio: 

Dzagbe Cudjoe is a Dance and Movement Therapist, Intuitive Counselor, Healer and Ethnologist with a keen interest in promoting Dance as a means of achieving Mind-Body-and-Spirit integration.She is the author of the manual "Dance to Health -Help Your Special Needs Child Through Inspirational Dance". available at Dance to Health She has just published a book of children's stories Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me.