What skills do we practice when we share a dance experience?
When we connect eyes, offer a hand, or balance together in a moment,
What is happening?
We are practising the skills of togetherness.
We are navigating the delicate balance between our own reality and that of others.
Dancing together brings people into the present moment, creating a shared experience for feeling part of a collective, a community:
What we practice physically becomes our skills mentally.
What we practice mentally shapes how we approach others in our environment.
How we recognize our own strengths, take care of others, deal with uncertainty and complexity and how we negotiate space are just some of the essential human skills, also known as soft skills, that we develop while dancing.
The more we embody these types of soft skills in dance, the stronger those skills can become.
Which soft skills do you foster for people in your dance practice?
Which soft skills do you take from dance into your daily life?
In this digital guidebook we share our findings, tools and examples to help you identify and articulate the knowledge and soft skills within your practice, bringing a new layer to the human and societal experience that dance generates.
Welcome to Empowering Dance.
Engaging with the Guidebook
Are you a dance artist, teacher or choreographer working in a participatory context? Do you offer workshops, classes or create work in a community engaged setting? Are you interested in expanding your practice outside the dance field?
This guidebook asks you to consciously engage with the soft skills already living in your dance practice. The aim of the guidebook is to equip you with tools to communicate what soft skills you use and how you develop them with dance participants, collaborators and potentially with employers and organisations, as well. It will support you in your choreographic, teaching and facilitation approaches, so you can also share your knowledge of soft skills with others. You will also find various mixed media contributions, which will accompany you visually as another layer of reflection on the topics.
The guidebook holds much layered information and is built thoroughly, so take your time engaging with it and come back to it on a regular basis to grasp what it can offer.
In this guidebook you will discover:
- what soft skills are
- how they uniquely develop in dance
- how to identify them in your own dance practice
- ways to develop soft skills with your participants and collaborators
- how to communicate your soft skill strengths with the potential to bring them into sectors outside of the dance field.
As you move through the guidebook you will find audio guides, reflective tasks, prompts and impulses. You can use these to discover new layers in your own dance practice and how you may further cultivate soft skills in others.
There is a progression from one chapter to the next, but you can also move around within the guidebook according to your individual interests and timing. You can engage with the guidebook on your own or with your colleagues and collaborators. We encourage you to engage with it on a computer, if possible, to see all the content in its intended form, but it is also accessible on your phone.
This guidebook can be a resource whether you are far along in your dance practice or just at the beginning of defining your own artistic and participatory approach. If you don’t identify as a dance artist, but are curious about how soft skills grow with and through the moving body, you are also welcome to engage with the guidebook.
We invite you to explore.
Origins of the Guidebook
The guidebook grew from the knowledge and evaluation of community engaged, participatory contemporary dance practices; practices that focused first on dance as an art form and on the shared artistic experience. Implicit in shared dance practices are learning processes that can emphasise or reinforce soft skills. The guidebook aims to help you to articulate this implicit potential and make it conscious and addressable. You can read more about the project that this guidebook grew from in the background section.
Central to our interest in producing this guidebook is to contribute to strengthening the social relevance and effectiveness of contemporary dance as an art form. We are also interested in opening the potential for new earning opportunities (within and outside of the dance sector) and showcasing participatory dance practices that value a people-centred approach through the engagement with soft skills.