As we all learn to dance with power

For student centred dance education at a BA level

By Peter Mills


Peter Mills is a choreographer, dancer, artistic-researcher and dance and choreography educator. Working professionally since 2009 Peter has established their practice and work within the field of dance. Being invited in the teaching and leading of workshops, classes and courses at a university level as an artist. Peter’s work and focus situates itself around power and ethical practices in dance. Having struggled with and situated themself within dance because of a learning difficulty, dyslexia. Peter articulates perspectives undervalued as regarding skill, knowledge, intelligence and ability. Providing a unique approach to dance, choreography and pedagogy.


Dance is a diverse practice caught in a history of centralisation, therefore, how can we situate an understanding of the field and its needs through the needs of students. This text considers if student centred education is the answer.


This text is a speculation on student centred teaching and learning methods, dances’ inherent diversity of practice and potential applications for student centred education in dance. Speaking from my experience as a dance professional, artist, researcher and educator, I will describe what a potential student centred education could look like for teachers and students, reasons a student centred dance education could be useful, the context from which I speak about education, why dance could be specifically benefiting from diversification, and what research is needed. I will mainly focus upon the primary understanding I have at this moment.

What is dance

Through writing this text I have had to question some assumptions I have about dance within my teaching and practice. A good way to describe it is in my preparation for a new class in improvisation, I am inspired by Bell hooks. Hooks speaks about encouraging critical thinking within a class, she writes about starting a conversation with the new student with a question  (hooks, 2010, p 20). What question could I ask my students to involve them in the production of knowledge and to become a part of the community of learning. Perhaps “How do you recognise dance as dance? What is it, how does it feel, when do you know a thing is dance?”

I want to ask this question because for me it directly relates dance and its practice to society, education and getting a job in dance. Because ultimately I believe we know a dance to be a dance when it is recognised personally, and by a community, or institution. So then the skill to work professionally in dance is the ability to associate your value or ability with an understanding of dance. To legitimise to yourself, a community or institution that something is worth considering as dance. You become a skilled advocate of dance practically, theoretically and/or politically. 

This is essentially what we practise in improvisation, connecting our personal sense and value of dance to and with others’ sense and value of dance. We dance, reflect and dance again. Together as individuals within a community one forms a dance practice. A practice which does not begin and end in the classroom, the dance studio, but through all our influences and communities we belong to.

A long slow continuous practice of relating to dance throughout our life. Which is why in this text I will centre the student and their dance. Because their dance is their relationship to dance; we all more or less have one and it is the foundation of our understanding, knowledge and practice, before we enter an education and after we leave an education. Especially if you wish to make dance your business, career or life.

What is a student centred education, and specifically in dance education

A student centred education is an education which is developed and shaped by the students themselves. Situating the students practice and understanding of dance as a place of initiation, analysis and development. Through discussion in class with teachers and peers, students will begin to identify and further their understanding of their dance practice and how it is situated in society. Ultimately the student gains adaptive skills in formulating and reformulating their practice as needed, for a career in dance, for having a sustainable dance practice in society.

The role of the teacher shifts from one which teaches knowledge and skills to becoming a collaborator and facilitator. Shifting the emphasis of a teachers’ skills from their experience and personal career, their aesthetic, value and appreciation. Towards a teaching which uses skills as a co-researcher, facilitator, coach, supervisor and mentor. Now I will outline these roles.

As a co-researcher the teacher assumes they can not know everything about dance especially experientially, not to mention the specificity of different dance knowledge. Instead the teacher takes the role of an experienced practitioner co-researching together with the students participating in and alongside the student in the students’ investigations of the students dance, both practically and theoretically. An example I can give from my own work is within an improvisation course with first year BA pedagogy students following a choreography course within which the students share solo’s they have choreographed. The course takes one of the students solo choreographic projects as a starting point for the improvisation class. Using the students’ work and interest so that the teacher and student together can continue and develop the investigation. Together as a group with the students’ work and ideas, their research, at the centre of the learning situation.

In the role of a facilitator the teacher operates as a guide for the group of students to orientate, organise and discuss. As in a meeting the facilitator holds the focus and direction of the meeting, keeps track of proposals and discussions, and ensures everyone is heard. As a facilitator the teacher can also distribute roles to the students such as secretary, vote counter, emotional facilitator and even the role of facilitator itself. Providing the students an additional awareness and skills for leadership and learning. Distributing the groups hierarchies for a student centred learning.

Teaching with the role of a coach can guide, support and feedback the students practice. Working and researching practically and theoretically with the student, both the teacher and student work to understand the students practices’ aesthetic value, societal and historical situatedness, how it relates to artistic research, and scientific research on safe and healthy practices. With this role facilitating a personal and practical teaching on a physical and theoretical level with great flexibility for a variety of practices and approaches. The teaching situation does not rely on the teacher having the skills and experiences of the students specific subject but the tools for assessing and supporting skill development and acquisition in the subject. Adjusting the emphasis in the practical learning of dance from mimicking the teacher to a centering of the students dance and practice.

As a supervisor the teacher is able to support the student on a structural level relating to the students project. Unlike the role of a coach, which is related to the practical work, the supervisor follows the students’ education by listening, guiding and helping the student direct their learning. In this role the teacher need not have specific dance practice but a good understanding of the educational structure and resources available to the student and how to manage and acquire them. Such as knowledge sources, material resources, and personnel. The role is that of an experienced researcher aiding the student in their own research. The supervisor also helps the student structure assessment, experimentation, feedback and examination. Such a role allows the student to centre their practice within the context of an education and educational institution.

In choreography a mentor is often used in place of a supervisor, so it is useful to denote a specific role a teacher can take. As a mentor the teacher would be chosen by the student for a specific need relating to their project. Generally the mentor would then follow the students’ work with an attention to a specific aspect they have experience of. The student would structure the work of the mentor and their focus. This could be established through contracts created between mentor and student (Ericson et al, 2019, p 13). In this role the teacher as a mentor shares their personal experience, values and knowledge, however, with the student determining how, and for how long they work together. This aids the student in situating their work, project and career within industry and society.

Rethinking the role of the teacher can cause us to feel that the teacher is no longer teaching. However, I would suggest student centred learning merely shifts what is being learnt. No longer do students learn through the dance practices of their teachers, they learn through their own. Through the curation, examination, research, experimentation and advocacy of their dance. The teacher is no longer the object of study the student is. This may sound unfair but I would argue the negotiations a dancer practices are constituted through their body. I merely suggest that the student need not first take on the negotiations that the teacher has articulated through their experiences of negotiating their own body and/or through the negotiations they have adopted, adapted or borrowed from a choreographer or dance technique. Student centre learning operates in a closer proximity to the students’ object of study, surely only benefiting their learning.

It is worth noting here that many educations are student-led with teachers already adopting these roles, however not always. There are many reasons we as dance educators revert back to ideas of knowledge being centred through our experience, even when we understand the benefits of centering the students’ knowledge. But the structure of the education itself must be reconsidered for how it supports the teacher in centering the students’ knowledge, namely by allowing the student and their needs to structure their education, which I hope to describe in the next section of this text. This means that the role of the student shifts from being the master’s apprentice to becoming an independent practitioner. The student is supported and empowered in their learning. The student gains a specific education, with a situated and articulated practice. A practice which is both robust in its application and flexible in its formation, as the student learns to both advocate for their dance and has the skills to develop and continue to develop their practice. Confidence with flexibility as opposed to confidence through mastery as determined by a centralised authority. The student manages their own confidence autonomously, with autonomous skills in ensuring support, resources and practices are established for their advocacy. An independent practice as they can advocate for the practice through with the skills acquired in their education.

How about the role of the student in a student centred education?

When trying to describe the experience of student centred learning from the perspective of the student I imagine flipped class-like situations, collective learning, and self-reflective practices. Let me outline them here.

In a flipped class the student learns before class, via dance resources, online, in workshops, library etc. Accessing dance resources has been increasingly better and greater with the help of the internet. The students would be able to study steps and aspects of their dance alone. See this example from instagram (Whyte, G, 2022), one of many. Then the student can join a coaching, supervision, mentoring or co-researching session with a teacher for additional help and furthering of the study. 

The collective already central in dance practice would be strengthened and taken advantage of. With peer to peer learning, with the students teaching one another adopting one of the roles of a teacher as described above or in simply sharing with one another. Beginning with a simple study buddy system for a structure for sharing. Student centred learning need not isolate them as individuals. Student centred learning would make the most of the shared environment, sharing studios, ideas, research, and dances with each other. Even via video on the internet as seen above. 

A third major activity for the student would be reflection. Perhaps a journaling practice where they record, account for their studies and practice articulating themself in writing, visually or verbally. Learning to express themselve. But ultimately providing for themself a personalised text book for reference and reflection. These varying levels of reflection upon their own practice are inclusive of the personal practice level of the body all the way through to the meta contextual level of society. Affording deep learning and effective learning.

The student’s experience would be a continuous cycle of practice and research, collective sharing and influence, and with a continuous reflection, conversation  (hooks, 2010, p 43-47) for critical thinking (hooks, 2010, p 7-11). Above are just some examples, to give the ideas how playful and dynamic the experience of learning could be, a creative bustling of activity.

The student in a student centred education will need to define their dance practice, in relation to society and related dance practices and histories. To articulate their dance practice through practice, experimentation and advocacy. To do this they will need to structure their own learning from aim to experimentation and evaluation with moments for coaching, feedback, assessment and examination. 

  • Develop a practical structure for research, investigation and practice. Borrowing from forms already familiar to dance such as, studio practice, daily practice, choreographic, educational, and so on.
  • Structure in moments of experimentation, be they performances, workshops, gatherings, classes, tours etc. So the student may test and assess their work and progress. Which should be followed by moments of feedback, and periodical evaluation of general goals, aims, directions, structure and even topics.
  • With these structural elements relating to the final examination and completion of the education.

The students’ role in a largely student centred dance education would be quite a contrast to much dance education where students follow and do not need to make choices. This will surely cause conflict with students expecting to be taught or told how to dance. From personal experience I do not believe this would be such a conflict as I have seen students adapt to being more involved in knowledge creation. As the student is not being left alone to go figure dance out. Together with their teachers and peers they have the opportunity to discover what dance exists for them and other dances they may find useful. There is a lot of work and material in that, mapping, defining and articulating the practice they wish for, have and come from. 

The education may feel exposing as dance classes offeren allow for a type of anonymity, to be one within a crowd all doing the same steps in the same room. For the student it is a reorienting their work from attending and being as present and on board with the teaching as much as possible. To be one where the student must work to find out what they are bringing to class, to the education, to be creative with how they attend and are present. The student is seen and heard but not to be judged as the structure accepts and allows the students practice and goals. It challenges the student through coaching, assignments, and assessments to rigorously answer the aims of their practice through their own terms and their tests and experiments. With the education and teachers acting as a support and guidance in their ambition.

Perhaps however this is not enough for some as they only need and desire is to follow. Which of course should not be unacknowledged. I am speaking from the perspective of someone comfortable in situationations where I am exposed and asked to be creative. But it is worth noting that sooner or later one of the strengths and skills the student will need will be to creatively advocate for their dance practice, both theoretically and practically. With a dancer needing to advocate for the dance they wish to create in society or even being an advocate for themselves and their dance when searching and applying for jobs. Not to promote competition as a mode of learning, but for security in the strength of conviction for the dance they wish to practice. The education should challenge but also act as a caring environment to dare, test and try without fear of failure.

A student centred education doesn’t mean classes would not include the learning methods, tools, steps and styles students haven’t encountered before like practising a pirouette for example, but the exercise and route to learning that specific exercise would come from the students direction. Again demonstrating the need for the students education and course structure to be structured by the student themself.

While we consider these conflicts another concern is that student centred learning is needed but only once the students have some knowledge having had some amount of centralised learning. Firstly this is the narrow view of dance as we will see later, but it also potentially delegitimizes or undervalues, sometimes spoken as breaking down the practices a student comes with. Often the dance practices students arrive with have a specificity and origin manifested by any number of factors from specific geological location, cultural influences and crossovers to access or even non-contamination because of a lack of access. Lost if not valued. And I will argue there is a specificity even if unrecognisable by the limited sized educational staff who validate it or not. To delay student centred learning just prolongs the inevitable break from teacher led learning. Or at worse confuse things for the student. Where the student learns their creativity should be like the creativity of their teachers, always looking for confirmation if it’s correct or not. When a student’s own dance should only answer to itself and the desires of the student not those of the teacher. (Malabou, 2020, minute 23.30) The students themself have a multiplicity of archetypes and knowledge to negotiate in their creativity. The teacher will influence the student with their negotiations regardless, so there’s no need to frame the study primarily via the teachers negotiations.

The student’s role does change in a student centred education but where the student is practising the adoption of other values here the student learns to cultivate and strengthen their own values. It is already the centre of dance improvisation where the students learn to value and express their validity for their movement and activity within a given frame so as to cultivate creativity and a strong dance1. It is no great leap to envision the role of a student as fully involved in the creativity of their entire dance practice and education for it.

This is how a student centred learning in dance could look like but why could it be beneficial for dance and its role in society?

Why student centred dance education

As we have seen above there are a great number of ways we can create a student centred learning which increases and allows for a greater diversity of subject and students but why this is needed in dance?!, let me define them now. There are a number of reasons to consider why dance education could benefit from a student centred approach. Here I will speak about five I have recognised and articulated: 

  • diverse careers in dance, 
  • dances large diversity of application in society, 
  • increased diversity and a need for greater accessibility and democracy, 
  • a diverse target group for the education to compete with other educations at a low cost and 
  • for technologically diversity and to be future proof. 

What exactly one’s work will be within the dance field is uncertain through a combination of a great number of dancers wishing to participate in a historically small field and a diversity of new media forms (Nord plus research group, 2022). The small field and the large amount of interest to join has generated a field with institutions which are increasingly expansive in their ambition and yet do not meet the needs of all wishing to participate. This causes many to either quit and leave the field of dance or to create a specific niche for themselves within which to work. Work done within such a niche is generally considered a part of the free or freelance scene. Alongside this continuously adapting field is a general increase in access. Access through a greater diversity of media forms, such as technological changes. Diverse media forms provide further diversity through greater specificity in style, genre and aesthetic. As dance’s diversity of expression and where it can be accessed has increased so have career options in dance. The centralised model of dance conservatoire to dance company still exists but alongside it a large number of alternative careers and career paths now exist too. But there is by no means a single career or perhaps any economically sustainable careers one can take in dance. As an educator it is nearly impossible to prepare students for all careers a student should or could take. The diversity of a dancer’s careers is why dance education should also provide a diverse education.

Centralised education has marginalised forms of the expression which fall outside the conventions of concert dance or dance performance. Historically the focus has been towards students getting a career as a performer which leaves little space and support for dance which functions in society differently. Even though dance not performed is mostly still considered dance, education orientates its teaching towards dance which is performed. Dance is recognised as an experiential form for physical play, expression, reflection, communication and understanding and not only as a stage art even if it is an extremely important aspect in dance. With dance education rarely emphasising or specifically acknowledging other approaches to dancing. Assessment and practice are framed through performance based dance. Even in educations to become dance educators the assumption is for the students to teach dance which will be performed. Performance is but one example of the form dance can take and what an education can be centred around, however the forms dance take and could take are as diverse as the number of people who dance. A student centred education would better be equipped to support careers of any form. As a student centred learning centres the specific, nuanced and diversity of each student.

There is an urgency to which systemic racism or colonialism, elitism and discrimination are being and must be adressed in dance. Historically professionalised dance has only been accessible to privileged white, rich, young, able bodied people. 

  • For example racism is caused through exclusionary values and practices that have and are used within dance as in the casting of white forms of dance as more superior, valuable or important. 
  • Ableism is ascribed to dance through a focus on physically demanding forms of dance being valued more over as dance.
  • Mental ableism is enforced in dance through an assumption a dancer must be adaptable, obedient and quick to memorise.
  • Classism is established within dance not being an option for many, with the economic insecurity because of low pay and short careers.
  • Ageism is a huge obstacle in dance. The assumption a dance career is short, causes a lack of generational crossover confounding the poor institutional memory of dance with its poor oral history. Devaluing the rich variety and longevity of dance experiences, only valuing young knowledge when they could easily live together.

This intersection of discrimination is renforced through centralist notions and understandings of dance. Definitions of dance which do not enable the pluralistic potential of dance, conditions which centre the white, young, well off, able dancer are exclusionary and do not promote diversity. With none of these conditions being central to what dance is and can be. A student centred education can provide a diversity of students with their specific approaches, abilities and conditions the possibility to fit within an education with an unfixed central ideal for what dance is and can be.

With university applicants’ background, experience and understanding of dance increasing in diversity and greater competition from similar educations, budgets and resources are stretched as the centralised model struggles to offer deep learning which is also diverse. It has been observed by Elmgren and Henriksson that higher education needs to accommodate a greater variation in what students have learnt before attending university (Elmgren, & Henriksson, 2018, p 14). As well as noticing an increase in people going to university and the subsequent increase of possible courses at a higher education level. Demanding a higher quality and broader education to be offered by programs for a diverse and specific education, one which can meet greater variation and support a diverse learning trajectory. Where centralised education and its centralised knowledge model needs many teachers for each specific subject with high levels of expertise, a student centred education focuses on tools for student-led learning and practice with co-researching, facilitation, coaching, supervision and mentoring which I described before does not need as many resources and teachers. Meaning a student centred model can only keep up with the increased diversity and competition but also needs a lot less resources and funding and can provide a diverse deep learning. 

Contributing to the diversification of dance are technological advances, developments in dance and dances’ recognition as an academic research subject. Centralised education focuses upon technologies, developments and research which is already established as knowledge, experienced and possible to be taught by an expert. However student centred education can be extremely adaptive with the education following trends and new interests picked up by and developed by the students themselves. Situating student centred education presently in the challenges, questions and changes happening in the dance field. The education is structured by the students’ interests and the problems they must overcome or encounter. The education provides them with the skills for adapting and changing their practice as the dance field changes. Student centred education provides a future proof skill base with the tools to continue and further the students’ knowledge as societies and their situation change.

Of these five potential reasons for why dance education would benefit from being student centred it is clear contextualisation, a description of why such an education is suitable in dance and further research is needed, all of which I hope to lay out in the remainder of this paper.

A brief contextualisation of this paper

To contextualise where I am writing from and specific considerations of the context. I am considering these issues in dance education whilst participating as a student in a course on teaching at higher education, HPU at Stockholm University of the Arts, SKH. Also in my experience leading eight and teaching on several courses on dance, choreography and dance improvisation at SKH. SKH’s education in dance is structured on four levels with three BA level programs, three MA level programs, phd research and professors research. Here I will describe each program and how it relates to student centred learning such as critical thinking and experimentation:

The BA in dance performance, with a focus upon performance for a career centrally in the freelance scene and generally considered as an education in contemporary dance. Albeit the education is generally quite student focused and with a lot of attention paid to critical thinking and experimentation.

The three year BA program in dance pedagogy orientates itself around five dance genres, ballet, folk, jazz, modern, and street, for a career as an educator outside the governmental educational system. The education has a general focus upon leadership being led by the students interest, with a large part of the education being given to practice within their chosen genre and secondary genre. Although the education centralises the students interest within a genre there is space for student led work through an emphasis on critical thinking and experimentation.

The final BA is a dance pedagogy program of five years with the possibility of teaching at governmental educations. The five years see the students increase their criticality and experimentation, further as it continues on from many of the courses taught on the three year dance pedagogy program. Following the three BA’s SKH have three MA courses, choreography, contemporary dance didactics and new performative practices. All of which are very student led and offer many opportunities for critical thinking and experimentation. As of course do SKH’s Phds and professors research in choreography.

Even though I teach and work on all four levels of SKH’s education my main work and focus is on the BA three year dance pedagogy program. In general I see a lot of student-led practices in place. However the BA in dance performance attends to knowledge and practice in performing dance discounting nonperformance dance practices, and the pedagogy BA attends the teaching of nonperformance based dance but could also facilitate nonperformance based dance practices outside an educational setting. Through an education in facilitating dance. Guided by the needs and interests of students wishing to learn how to facilitate their dance practice in society. Affording a diversity of dances and still accommodating pedagogic practices but also choreography, leadership, instruction, coaching, facilitation, curation, programing and so on. All with a focus upon and education in facilitating dance oriented by the students interest, structuring of their course, projects and practice. With the education’s diversity being guided and led by the students through their projects and investigations they create. 

Also aiding as a preparatory education for the MA programs. Aiding the MA in choreography to shift the perception from being understood as an education in choreographic tools but for the development of choreographic tools. Bringing the education even more inline with the progress of SKH’s path to research. 

With this in mind I will now describe the dance and choreography context I am in.

Why dance is especially suitable to being a student centred education

A general concern with increasing democracy can be extrapolated from western dance history. Many accounts of choreography start with French king Louis XIV who commissioned the scribing and standardisation of dance, historically situating ballet as dances default. Modern dancers such as Isadora Duncan, Mary Wigman and Martha Graham challenged the centrism of ballet toward expression in dance. With the post-modern dance movement we see form challenged even further to include everyday movement, randomness and a lot more, with the aim of emancipating dance. Community dance focused upon a bottom up structuring of dance. Conceptual dance and expanded choreography reoriented dances product into objects, texts and other forms with greater accessibility. To add to history deconolist dance sees the recannonising dance from historically and systemically as only a white, rich, hetrosexual, young and western practice for increased diversity. All of which in their attendance to what dance is and can be have furthered the democratisation of dance after choreography’s initial authoritarian turn with Louis XIV.

Today choreography is understood as contradictory to the assumption that choreography determines exactly what will happen. As choreography merely informs and must be negotiated, assigning the dancer with power and as an emancipated subject. Yet still recognising the supportive capacity of choreography to draw attention to potential overlooked facts informing one’s behaviour, activity, and decisions. The choreographer situates the choreography as less important than dancer, audience or situation as to use the activity of choreographing to provide space for negotiation and reflection. Dancing and choreographic practices are more and more being considered as ethical practices to engage with power through negotiation, rebellion, self-determined order, specific approaches and direct action. As dance negotiates the breadth of choreographic influence and manifests in an infinitely demanding ethical practice within the collective. As it negotiates visual demonstrations, sensorial perception, object and material conditions, and physical, mental, emotional, socio-political values and conditions. As well slow choreography which operates not only within the time frame of choice making but over long periods of influence upon body, mind and collective. An individual criticality and collectively empowered practice of dance echoes the power dynamics associated with student centred learning. Increasing the validity for dance education to also be student centred.

With this in mind it only makes sense for dance education also to continue the development away from a historically centralised understanding of dance to a diverse understanding of dance. For dance to relinquish the idea that choreography is control and situate its education within an exemplary situation which practices diversification. To situate the practical learning of dance within an inter-subjective situation of learning. Where practices of autonomy and collaborative learning are embodied by an education to continue dances historical trajectory.

Further research ideas

As these are ideas taken from my personal experience teaching and leading courses and participating in this course on higher education I see much room for specific research and articulation of these ideas. 

Most notably to research on the field of dance especially relating to dance as an industry. To map and survey careers in dance, accessibility, diversity and democracy in dance, the existing forms of dance, resources for dance education and the future of dance.

What careers are being gained from a dance education, what careers exist and what careers could exist? Are people working in dance solely as a form of art or are there other functions their work ecompasses such as social, community, mindful, health and care related, past time, spiritual, therapeutic, research based or online? How does dance situate itself as a sustainable job within a well rounded life?

In which ways does dance concern itself with accessibility, diversity and democracy? Are and how are people prioritising accessibility, diversity and democracy before the dance itself? Is the nature of the dance affected by concerns for and practices in accessibility, diversity and democracy?

Could dance be described as a health and wellbeing practice, as purely compositional, a performance or presentation, performative, physical, research and exploration, or a social activity? What kind of dance is considered professional and none professional? 

How is dance education being affected by changes in funding, enrollment, competition, employment opportunities after education, and has diversity of applicants increased or decreased?

How are advancements in technology affecting dance in society? How is artistic research shaping dance? How are the institutions of dance coping with development, trends and changes in dance? Is the dance industry and education well situated for unknowable changes in society?


Speculating upon student centred teaching and learning methods, dances’ inherent relationship to a diversity of practices and potential applications for student centred education in dance has provided me the belief there could be a vast array of advantages to considering such an educational approach. 

There is no one single career path in dance. Dance will benefit from greater accessibility, diversity and increased democracy. In dance education there needs to be space for an education which values dance in all its variety, not only as a form of performance or art. To remain relevant and sustainable dance education needs to diversify. And finally to future proof dance education it must be diverse and allow for further diversification. 

However much of dance is diverse and dance education student led, but there still remains ways in which student centred learning could be emphasised and strengthened. Dance classes are nowadays seen as optional for the student to use as they wish, however there is a limited number of classes which can be provided. There is a strong emphasis on student projects and assignments with teachers taking the roles I outlined above; however these are partially or heavily supplemented with lectures and conventional teaching situations. If student centred learning were to take a total effect upon all aspects of dance education, it would start with assignments for the student to orient their practice as central in their learning, and classes would be structured after the students needs and wants. And why structures which centre the student learning over the teacher’s knowledge are going to be key in supporting the teacher in a student focused education.

Dance is a kind of negotiation one makes alone or with others, there is no right or wrong way to negotiate, only more or less successful negotiations, as determined by each person involved in that negotiation. It may be that dance can not be a great political force in the world emancipating all who dance, but it may well provide the space for an education which situates the very personal and interpersonal nature of being a body and person in the world to be articulated, and renegotiated. As we all learn to dance with power.


Elmgren, M., & Henriksson, A. S. (2018). Academic Teaching. Utbildningshuset/Studentlitteratur.

 Ericson, A S., Grip, A,. Hedman, H,. Hillervik, A,. Johansson, E,. Mills, P,. Nyberg, L,. Persson, B,. Spencer,. & Tess, R,. (2019). Mentorship Toolbox for Artists. Milvus Artistic Research Center & SITE Stockholm.

Hooks, B. (2010). Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom. Routledge.

Malabou, C. (2020). Catherine Malabou on Philosophy and Anarchism: Alternative or Dilemma? 2020. youtube. Scottish Center for Continental Philosophy.

Nord plus research group. (2022). Research into the use of interactive technology in art and arts education. SKH.Whyte, G. (2022). TUTORIAL: forearm cartwheel.


1. (Malabou, 2020.) “Levinas says “I am responsible when I obey an order which I have never heard” this notion of obedience in the absence of an order… I am free when I obey an order that does not exist”  (minute 42.00.)