Out the box : flamenco as educational : a living theory study of dance in primary education.
This study arises out of my experiences of conducting flamenco dance workshops in a number of schools. During my visits I became concerned by what I observed happening in dance education at these schools. In discussion with the teachers I began to identify various challenges and constrains that had the effect of ‘boxing’ dance in the formal education curriculum. I became concerned with the effect these ‘boxes’ were having on dance education and I felt compelled to try and address some of the issues and challenges I observed. The diversity of cultures found in many urban schools that I visited, presents a tremendous challenge for educators wishing to include dance into their learning programmes. As a result dance is either not being offered at these schools or is approached in a tokenistic way. In many instances the teachers I spoke to were inadequately trained or ignorant of the requirements for dance in the formal curriculum. This study seeks to offer a way to address these issues. In my research, I have reflected on some of the educational and social factors that I believe are challenging dance education in these schools. I have conducted a Qualitative Action Research with an Auto Ethnographic, Self Study approach using the Living Theory Methodology as a point of departure. I have used my knowledge of flamenco and dance education to open the ‘flamenco box’ in order to introduce it to mainstream dance education in South Africa. I have come to term my approach ‘flamenco as educational’. In accordance with the Living Theory Methodology I include personal and educational aims and values and through rhythm and flamenco dance reflect on the interconnectedness of existence. I use critical reflection to engage with the issues I observed influencing dance education in a multicultural learning environment.