The dancer as reflective practitioner

Evan Jones*, Mary Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The inextricably intimate relationships connecting the dancer, the dance and the self indicate that the practice of dance is inherently a reflective practice of feedback looping. Professional dancers are aware of this in continuing self-critical analyses and reflections for self-improvement, striving for the ever-elusive perfection in performance. The reflective nature of learning dance is, however, less apparent to the student of dance due to the traditional master/apprentice approach to dance training. By making explicit the essentially reflective sequence of processes through which the self becomes the dancer of the dance, the locus of control is shifted towards the dance student, thereby increasing the sense of autonomy and intrinsic motivation for exploration, discovery and improvement of her or his own practice. This study documents the implementation of the 4Rs approach to reflective practice in a university dance training context. Data include reflective observations of dance lessons, and teacher and student reflections on the reflective approach taken in these lessons. Insider and outsider perspectives from students, the dance teacher and external researchers are taken to provide a nuanced understanding of the value of corporeal, visual and verbal reflection in dance for improved performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Reflective Learning in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationA Systematic Approach Using Pedagogic Patterns
EditorsMary Elizabeth Ryan
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319092713
ISBN (Print)9783319092706
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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