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PHSE325 Dance and the Community

A critical examination of the concepts and issues of dance and community, particularly dance, in relation to healing, social, educational, political and artistic functions.

This paper will analyse the role of dance in the community. It will analyse the conceptual framework of community dance and explore the relationship between dance as an artistic, social, educational and therapeutic practice within various communities. The notion of 'community' will be unpacked, with a particular focus on specific communities in respect to their identity and needs and involving participatory field work. A particular focus of the paper will include the role of dance in communicating eco-socio-political community issues and culture.

Paper title Dance and the Community
Paper code PHSE325
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1400
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $969.22
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,368.00

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PHSE 235 or PHSE 326
PHSE 435, PHSE 555
Contact or
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Ali East

In addition to the lecturer, there are contributions from invited guest experts in the fields of disability culture, M?üori practices and environmental biology.

Participation is welcomed each year from the current Caroline Plummer Community Dance Fellow.
Paper Structure
Main topics include:
  • Definitions of community and community dance
  • An introduction to ethnographic methodologies and writing field notes
  • A study of the elderly community and the disabled community via participation in and design of dance sessions for these cohorts
  • A study of the role of dance as a political voice for community (culminating in a 2-day camp in the Catlins nature reserve)
Teaching Arrangements
The paper is designed as a weekly 2-hour lecture, plus a 2-hour situated learning experience in the form of interactive, participatory field work with specific sectors of the community, such as the elderly and the disabled.
A course reader will be provided, along with an extensive suggested reading list.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper the students will:
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of a conceptual framework of community dance
  • Comprehend the multiplicity of meanings and layers in the notion of community
  • Identify specific communities' expectations of dance and appreciate how dances serve different functions in different communities
  • Learn the rudiments of group ethnographic field work and performance ethnography and conduct an ethnographic interview
  • Advocate for participation in community dance events
  • Participate in community dance activity
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and values through expressive movement

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
P1 Friday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 15:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41