The Need For Culturally Relevant Dance Education

The Need For Culturally Relevant Dance Education
Nyama McCarthy-Brown
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There is a need for culturally relevant teaching in dance education. Many dance teachers have heard the buzz words "culturally relevant teaching methods." Yet these dance educators acknowledge that the "dance culture" is not always synonymous with "culturally relevant." This paper examines the issue of culturally relevant teaching methods in dance education and makes suggestions for development in this area. The author refiects on the impact traditional dance training and hierarchy can have on students. While many students of color adapt to and accept this system, there are countless others who are turned-off by the exclusive approach of their dance instructors, therefore never fulfilling their potential as dancers. What impact, then, does the traditional dance training process have on students of color, their artwork, and consequently their teaching methods? This article explores these issues and offers practical teaching strategies. In addition it presents questions for reflection on the classification of cultural "social dances."


McCarthy-Brown, Nyama. “The Need for Culturally Relevant Dance Education,” Journal of Dance Education Vol. 9, Iss. 4, 120-125 (2009).