Video by Eugen Bilankov


Following is a collection of terms defined in relation to the context from which the guidebook was developed.

Anyone who contributes to the success of a project through their expertise, knowledge, funding and other resources. If your conditions allow, they may be part of your creative team, such as a visual designer, production manager or dramaturg. Or they may be a key person at the organisation you are working with or a teacher or social worker. The relationship you develop with your collaborators will have an impact on not only the outcome of your work, but also on the softs skills fostered and developed along the way.

There can be many identifiers for what creates a community, but often what orients a community is something that a group of people have in common. A community can be built from shared interests, cultural background, similar experiences, history, or locality, to name a few. It could be tangible or imagined.

Community engagement
Community engagement motivates groups of people to gather together, to connect, to have collective experiences and to participate in dance initiatives over a period of time.

Contemporary dance
Contemporary dance is a temporal organisation of bodies in time and space. It is the dance of the present, aimed at being relevant for the time we live in. An aspect often used in contemporary dance is guided improvisation. Within the context of this project, improvisation was used as an approach for artistic development and the discovery of the self and others as a pathway for soft skill development.

Dance artist
In the context of this project a dance artist is a professional dance practitioner with training and experience to work artistically in the field of dance. This can include creating dance works, choreographic approaches, as well as teaching dance. The artistic perspective is a starting point for the dance artist's choreographic work and dance teaching practice in different contexts, both with professional and non-professional dancers.

Being inclusive is an approach to proactively enable accessibility for all involved and to activate a feeling of belonging to all potential and actual participants. Being inclusive asks for vigilance in removing barriers and staying aware of what those barriers might be – institutional, environmental, cultural, social, and emotional, to name a few.

Leadership is the ability to guide by example and to inspire others, supporting and promoting change. Actions create conditions to enable soft skills to flourish. When you lead a dance class, rehearsal or participatory project, your leadership style may include aspects of the following roles:

  • Facilitator
    A facilitator brings and holds together a group, helping it meet its goals.
  • Guide
    A guide advises and steers towards a direction.
  • Teacher
    A professional with the training, experience and sensitivity necessary to create a supportive learning environment.
  • Choreographer
    A professional who composes and writes movement in space. A choreographer will lead physical exploration with dancers (both professional and non-professional), setting intention to activate movement in relation to space, sound, text, emotions and society.

Non-professional dancer
A person participating in a dance work, taking classes or otherwise engaged in dance activity, who does not consider dancing as their main profession. They may have dance experience, but dancing is not a career for them. They do it for their own pleasure and out of personal interest, and sometimes for health and fitness, as well.

For the purpose of this project, a participant is a person who takes part in the process and outcomes of a dance initiative, usually as part of a group. They often come with interest in dance, but without professional dance training.

Participatory dance
Participatory dance is understood in the context of this project as initiatives that enable people, mostly without a professional dance background, to actively participate in dancing led by a dance artist. Participatory dance values and emphasises the process that participants engage with, and inclusion is a fundamental value to the practice. Sometimes the participatory project aims to develop a performance shared with others, but it can also be an ongoing dance practice, class, or individual workshop that does not have a performance element.

People-centred / human-centred
In the context of this project people-centred practice puts the dance participant at the centre by considering their needs and desires, and then shaping the practice in response. This practice values what people bring to the dance initiative - their experience, their ideas, their personality, their background.

Practice is developed through multilayered applied knowledge, sometimes blended with intuitions and creativity. Within this project dance practice is an articulation of actions and movement proposals, generating shared experiences.

Socially engaged practice
A transformative and generative participatory practice, which enlarges what is possible in a territory or ecology. It supports processes of inclusion and cohesion, and is active in promoting aspects of social justice.