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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dance in education : a focus on aesthetic development Neale, Aileen Mary


This study focuses on aesthetic development, its nurture and assessment, in dance education. Observations, interviews, and examinations of student journals, were used to collect data for this multiple case study. Four classroom settings provided a picture of aesthetic growth representing a range of ages. The findings were examined in light of the symbolic theory of the arts developed by Suzanne Langer (1953), aesthetic learning through entry to the world of play described by Huizinga (1950), and the developmental aesthetic model of Malcolm Ross (1984). Significant descriptions voiced by the participants provide snapshots of student growth at various stages of development. The study concludes that the aesthetic experience, defined as the simultaneous engagement of intellect and emotions, is indeed evident in dance to both the dancer and the observer; it may be seen and recognized as a special quality which invariably draws the eye and focuses the viewer's attention. Opportunities for such engagement are carefully structured by effective teachers. While stages of aesthetic growth are evident, students of al l ages grow aesthetically in individual ways; aesthetic understanding results from complex combinations of social, psychological, and experiential factors, as well as maturation.

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