The Dance of Life
The chapter focuses on the particulars of a partnership amongst artists, an academic, audiences i.e. babies and family carers, and a performing arts centre’s staff, namely the commissioning Festival Director, offering a deep dive into the complexities of education and the performing arts. It introduces the concept of Dance Play, an original term coined by choreographer and dancer Sally Chance (Adelaide, Australia), describing a hybrid art form that encompasses the genres of dance, theatre, intentional play, song and music to create particular aesthetic, social, physical and emotional vocabularies for a specific audience – babies. Chance, in conversation with Professor Judith McLean (Brisbane, Australia), explores: the origins of dance play, its practical manifestation through a commissioned performance work for an early childhood festival Out of the Box (QPAC) entitled Nursery (2014, 2015), and the concomitant early developmental theories underpinning the form.
Throughout the chapter there is a polyphony of voices from the two worlds of education and theatre that together explore exciting developments happening in the nascent areas of performance for babies and early childhood. Dance play interrogates the nexus between audience as passive recipient and audience as active and discerning participant in support of Alison Gopnik’s claim that “babies and young children are like the R & D division of the human species” (Gopnik et al., The scientist in the crib: what early learning tells us. Harper Collins, New York, p vii, 2000). This chapter looks into the petri dish as a contribution to raising the criticality of arts based experiences for human development at the most formative period of development, early childhood.
KeywordsTeaching artist Dance play Aesthetic experience Babies Performance Matching Circle of security Holding space Brain based theory
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