Community dance supports older adults’ successful aging, physical literacy, and embodiment: a case study
Community dance offers a physical, artistic, and social activity led by a dance artist, which encourages participation at any age or skill level. As Canada’s population ages, there is a need to understand programming which may be enjoyable and motivating to participate in and supports numerous aspects of older adults’ lives. Dancing has the potential to support many aspects of health, yet current literature focuses primarily on the physical health benefits of dancing. This thesis examined one specific dance class, striving to gain insight about the holistic benefits related to aging, experiences of physical activity, and embodiment that community dance may offer older adults. The first study included three semi-structured interviews with the dance instructor to explore their perspective on the impact participation in community dance class had on participants, and the pedagogical behaviors used to elicit those benefits when instructing the class. The second study included semi-structured interviews with five older adults to examine their experiences of participating in the community dance class. Collectively, interviews with both the instructor and dancers suggested dancing offered an opportunity for older adults to connect to their own embodiment. Social connection and music were perceived in both studies as essential to the dancing experience. Dance can support feelings of confidence when instructors intentionally strive for participants to experience success. The dance class also offered an opportunity for older adults to connect to their creativity and artistry. Artistry and creativity can positively contribute to one’s psychosocial experiences of physical activity and ability to connect with others. Overall, dancing offers a promising activity that supports older adults in numerous aspects of their lives. Policy that supports funding for and access to facilitates to offer community dance programming is needed.
Community dance, Older Adults, Embodiment, Physical literacy, Successful aging
Paglione, V. (2022). Community dance supports older adults’ successful aging, physical literacy, and embodiment: a case study (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.