Empowering Dance – The Soft Skills Teaching and Learning Approach
How can dance artists and teachers incorporate the teaching of soft skills in their professional practice? The European research project Empowering Dance – The Soft Skills Teaching and Learning Approach encourages dance artists – choreographers, dancers and dance teachers – to become aware of their knowledge and skills in teaching soft skills – also known as personal and social skills – to non-professional dancers and to actively apply them in their own professional practice.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills, also known as personal and social skills, help to see, listen and relate to oneself and the other with empathy and care. They include for example the ability to reflect on oneself, to work constructively with others, to empathize with and manage conflicts, and to lead a health-conscious life. This mostly implicit knowledge, which is internalized in the body, is often not used consciously. The active practice of contemporary dance has great potential in the promotion of these soft skills and help people in their personal life as well as on the job market in almost all areas. As a decisive part of personal and professional development, soft skills promote a dynamic development of the (working) world.
Learning soft skills through raving
In each local context of the partners involved, ED2 includes dance practices with non-professionals as case studies. These practices are led by dance artists/educators who are specifically experienced in working with non-professionals. In Rotterdam, dance artist Connor Schumacher will research this from the perspective of his rave-community. A group of non-professional dancers will participate in the focus group.
The other participating artists and partners are: Patricia Carolin Mai (K3 Hamburg, Germany), Giovanna Garzotto (CSC Bassano del Grappa, Italy), Elena Sgarbossa (CSC Bassano del Grappa, Italy) and Yaïr Barelli (La Briqueterie, France).
The project aims to develop a digital handbook that supports dance artists in designing their practices more articulately and with more awareness. It will help them define language, articulate their teaching approach, broaden their skills, competences and scope of working possibilities. It will also help them acquire new qualifications and apply with awareness their embodied knowledge that is too often operating in the background and rarely named in detail for its unique potential in diverse settings.
The project will take place from 2020-2022, and the research will be done within the local settings of all case studies and brought together during online or offline meetings with all partners.