Saturday, March 24, 2018


Remaining objective is often hard for many of us in this world. Originally I thought my research would be heavily impacted by my viewpoint, which is what led me to the inquiry in the first place.

As the interviews have evolved from one subset to another I have discovered an ethnomethodology to be more prevalent in the actual process. Yes, my viewpoint is clear but it is ever changing based on the conversational analysis of how participants/respondents try to make sense of dance and its impact on mental readiness or how dance affects the brain. As interviewees try to determine the difference between two ways to phrase the topic of my inquiry they chat and have allowed me to pursue directions of interviewing I had not thought might be pertinent to my research.

I tend to see the world as a glass or bottle that is half full. Many of the people interviewed have helped me discover that I may actually be more an optimist than I let people see.

As my research delves into some aspects of education and is education the same as teaching and how do these differences or similarities impact the learning abilities of varying adult learners many of the respondents have asked me to let them take a moment to jot down questions I have posed and where those questions take them into topics they would like to explore after the interview.

Reading the dry material in the required and some of the recommended reading for these modules I had developed a fear of how uncooperative the participants might be. At this point in my process I am relieved, surprised, and excited to write that all respondents have said ,"do not hesitate to contact me again if you think of other questions developing from our chats." Every single participant has felt empowered by sharing their thoughts and felt surprised and honored that I would consider their opinions and observations as having any relevancy to any type of research.

I have five more interviews left and am finding I want more.

Who cares if I go over 400 words for this blog? Not me. Discovering positivity in the current climate around the globe is inspiring.

Allowing people to be themselves, feel valued, and contribute suggestions of avenues to follow whether those leads develop into strong themes or not is an easy thing to do. The fact respondents want to feel more a part of something in which they might have been hesitant to participate is mind boggling. Dance is so competitive and very "me" oriented. The aging often feel forgotten. Upon reflection should I have thought giving people within these populations would be so uplifting? I would probably say no.

Surprises. These are exciting and motivating!

I look forward to hearing how everyone else is doing and hope your experiences are even half as fulfilling as mine have been so far.


  1. Davis. This is an inspirational read, thank you. The discoveries you have already made through interview seem to have opened up possibilities and fed back into how you see yourself as well as provided a multitude of opportunity for the respondents. Thus, reiterating that experience is a shared one and life is always moving and changing through shared experience. That age doesn't define us. The ethnographic influence is interesting, the surprises that materialized through your own idea of your own 'self' and how the feedback questioned this also.
    Thank you for your return blog on 'improvisation' and the rather obscure line of my approach. My own background is now hugely improv based and positivist views have been dominant with structures codified dance practice. In nightclubs I have always felt like a duck out of water and usually felt uncomfortable in this free dance for fun environment, pointing at the handbags!! Some dance genres have relied on competition (in such a way as a Dance off, competing between two performers for one place) in improvisation type performances (such as tap) and the requirement to 'out do' the other person with faster footwork or sensational rhythms, etc. I am looking at all the alternative methods of improvisation that have come to be in many codified and non-codified dance genres and it is proving interesting if not challenging.
    The humanity without superiority, mm. That's a good question. Do you not feel that those needing superiordom (if thats a word) are the one's in need? That this stems from insecurity and self-doubt? That if we lived in a more inclusive accepting world we may not not need to position ourselves above or ahead of the rest?

    1. Dance offs were popular in swing and other social forms back in the mid 20th century and certainly have been vital to forms such as street dance and often in tap. Those dance-off situations may be different from the "competitions" studios attend and charge students far too much money for participation.

      My understanding or perspective is that dance-offs were not to see who was necessarily best but to help further the dance form and inspire more learning. If you are specifically interested in improvisation for tap I encourage you to read "Dance into Improv" by Barbara Duffy which is available on Amazon. This book was developed from her senior project in her undergraduate study and I have been told several exercises near the end of the book are relevant to other dance forms as well. I hope to purchase a copy soon so I can have her sign the book for me the next time we meet for dinner.

      If only people truly learned from history than perhaps superiority would not be a question in race, gender, orientation, religion, politics, and any other aspect of society. As the world becomes more inclusive the unfortunate result has been an upswing in hate from persons unwilling to expand their thoughts and tolerance.

      I have corresponded with a dance teacher who teaches in a country where competition is frowned upon. That instructor felt a certain amount of apathy might be developing due to the lack of striving to improve.

  2. Hey that is pretty neat I have been interviewing my students for years but I guess informally in general conversations I have found that the more that you know your students, and the people around you the more interesting the teaching gets. As far as teaching ant education, I personally think that teaching doesn't have to involve education so to say. for example, you could teach a child, or anyone I guess to drink from a glass, but to educate someone on the subject would entitle your own research, on what type of glass are they using? what are they drinking? and what would the queen do? etc. just thoughts you can ignore me completely if I am off the subject, nice post!

  3. Interesting.......However, giving a person a glass with any liquid in it does not mean they have been taught how to drink the liquid from the glass. Move the example to plie. A half bend of the knees is called what? The person leading a ballet class may use the vocabulary but if that and demonstrating the step is all the person leading the class does, this is instruction. A teacher explains why a half bend of the knees is important in ballet beyond an easy way to begin the warmup for ballet class. A person leading the same class who educates does not necessarily impart his or her own bias based on his or her research but adds additional explanation of things like how much weight your body puts on the knees and ankles in the half knee bend at the end of a small jump or a large jump and why the knees should be placed over the toes instead of over the arch or over the outside of the foot. Further explanation of the helpfulness of the half (small) knee bend at the beginning or end or stationary turns such as a pirouette would be giving an example of the further usage and implications of the importance of learning how to do a half knee bend properly. Again, this is fairly common knowledge from centuries of experiments by countless instructors/teachers/educators/students/performers to learn through the best way to execute such a simple step without causing great harm. Experiential learning process. Is it research or immersion or both?

    Back to the glass and any liquid. How did the liquid get into the glass? And why was a particular liquid chosen over any other? Let's use water for the example. Water is drank to help hydrate the body which is made of up what? Water? As to whether it is filtered, sparkling, still, or flavored, or has other additives for alleged health or other reasons that is more than giving instructions on how to get liquid from a glass into the mouth. The process of drinking requires more than transference from glass to mouth. What happens after the liquid enters the mouth? Does it go into the lungs? Preferably not. Directing the flow of liquid once inside the mouth is automatic?

    Understanding the students in the class is not and their personal experiences is not necessarily relevant to the teaching of a dance class. Does it impact how compassionate a leader of a class may choose to be or not to be when they have information shedding light on a student's recent life experiences that may impact how that student performs or fails in a class does not mean the leader of the class has become an educator. More food for thought.........

  4. In the "plie" analogy, are you not still describing "instruction"? education would be more along the lines of teaching the student to go and seek more information themselves about the plie, who invented it? what adaptations have been applied to it throughout history?, where those adaptations made by informed individuals, and agreed upon my international authorities, and institutions?

    I feel the interviews are a great way for a teacher to learn about his/her students. I feel that a good teacher needs to know the students, what their background is, and where they are coming from and where they would like to end up. Would not a good teacher needs to know how to choose which students to instruct, which students to teach, and which students to educate. If a student reveals to a teacher something personal that has happened to that student, I would think the best teachers would learn of a way to use that personal experience towards learning dance, whether it is a new acquired emotion for acting, a new analogy to describe the feeling, and/or character of the movement? etc.

    just ideas.