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Transitions into and out from higher dance education

A few studies show that the dance students struggle with transition both in and out of higher dance education.


Transition into higher dance education

In regarding the entry of higher education institutions in dance, it is important to acknowledge that some students found their overall experience of dance at university at challenging, something that demanded a lot more of the students than their experiences with dance education prior to university.

Moreover, after the new experience at university level the general consensus amongst the students noted that they considered dance as an art form in a broader perspective. This even resulted in a process of transformative learning where they questioned and altered the way they would define the term ‘dance’ based on their new knowledge (Rimmer, 2017).

Transition out of higher dance education

In the study of the transition process between higher education in dance and the dance profession, the understanding of employability and views about dance futures were explored (Higdon & Stevens, 2017). Findings indicated that a key theme explicit in the data was that of journeying. Students referred to metaphors that related to journeys, travel, routes, roads and paths. In the beginning stage of the journey of getting to a university and in the liminal space of the first year, students focused solely on their dance experiences. By the final year, students perceived their dance futures as diverse journeys of continuous development. The journey out of university for final year students was powered by agency consisting of a passion for dance, self-reliance and continuous learning. The participants revealed an active determination to forge a future dance career whilst they recognized the obstacles; financial, emotional and physical (Higdon & Stevens, 2017).

Higdon, R. D., & Stevens, J. (2017). Redefining employability: student voices mapping their dance journeys and futures. Research in Dance Education, 18(3), 301-320.

Rimmer, R. (2017). Negotiating the rules of engagement: exploring perceptions of dance technique learning through Bourdieu’s concept of ‘doxa’. Research in Dance Education, 18(3), 221-236.


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