Date of Award

7-21-2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

William J. Leary

Second Advisor

Richard Cohen

Third Advisor

Leah Kinniburgh

Abstract

The purpose of the research study was to examine the history and philosophy of certain very distinct dance degree programs. The dissertation is intended to serve as a resource to benefit faculty and administrators in American undergraduate and graduate level dance programs. The primary goal was to recognize emergent themes aimed at stronger outcomes for students seeking a career track in dance. Beginning with an overview of the historical development of dance and dance education in the United States, the study closely examined the current cultural, educational, and political structures, functions, and mechanisms which influence prevailing public views of this art form in mainstream American life. These views frame fundamental topics for the field of post-secondary dance education regarding curriculum, instruction, and definitions of professional career possibilities. These topics and their sub-topics contributed to the formulation of qualitative questions, which were devised to document perceptions, attitudes, opinions, and practices of the participants in the study. The participants consisted of faculty at eight targeted post-secondary institutions. A variety of instrumentation was employed in order to collect and record pertinent data. These included guided interviews and follow-up questions for selected individuals. Additional focused studies required oral interviews in person or via phone. As themes and patterns emerged, creative data displays were developed in order to facilitate systemic analysis. The findings of this research were reported in an objective voice, presenting and preserving the quantitative data gathered from the participants' words. The analysis and interpretation of this research was filtered through this researcher's specific lens, with the intention of discovering the effective principles and practices that the institutions utilize to impact individual students, the profession, and the dance community at large. It is further hoped that this study will serve as a catalyst for inter-academic dialogue, in order to strengthen and advocate for the integrity and position of dance education in American colleges and universities.

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