Dance Learning and Situated Social Practice

Summer 2010

Giuliana Blasi : Sociology

Mentor: Ingrid Seyer-Ochi , Education

Dance Learning and Situated Social Practice" examines how social position, culture, and community influence learning processes and outcomes in youth dance programs. In this investigation, I ask: How do interactions between identity, culture, and community mediate students' learning experiences in dance programs across different genres? This summer, I will conduct an ethnographic case study at AileyCamp- a dance and youth development program for underprivileged middle school aged children. To focus on the sociocultural aspects of learning, I am using situated social practice theory as a conceptual
framework to describe how community practice mediates adolescents' experience of dance education.

With this research, I aim to contribute to pedagogical knowledge about how learning happens through situated social practice. I am interested in how dance or arts programs can address educational needs and challenges. By using dance education as case study that elaborates practice-based learning theories, I hope to develop a method to describe an "out-of-school" learning context in a manner that can critique and inform more general educational practices and trends. My findings will materialize in a Sociology senior honors thesis (Dance and Education minor), which will inform the second part of my project: the creation and implementation of a dance unit for my ongoing artistic residencies teaching dance in Berkeley and Oakland after school programs.