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ERIC Number: EJ893284
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1357-3322
Body Learning: Examining the Processes of Skill Learning in Dance
Bailey, Richard; Pickard, Angela
Sport, Education and Society, v15 n3 p367-382 Aug 2010
This paper was stimulated by the authors' attempt to understand the process of skill learning in dance. Its stimulus was a period of fieldwork based at the Royal Ballet School in London, and subsequent discussions with the school's teachers and with academic colleagues about how it was that the young dancers developed their characteristic set of skills. The paper's focus and method is philosophical, although it draws on empirical data (albeit sparingly) where it is relevant to the discussion. Many accounts of skill learning are premised on the presumption that learners come to know about their environment by representing it in the mind and that such representation is a result of a computational process involving information received through the senses. This is the dominant position of researchers in the field. In this paper, we discuss weaknesses in this information processing theory, and explore the elements of a more satisfactory approach. The account offered here locates dance skills within the context of development, in which skills are incorporated in learners through practice and training in dance environments. Dreyfus' theory of expertise and Bourdieu's theory of practice offer insights into the practical mastery young dancers carry in their bodies, which cannot be accurately formulated in terms of a system of representations. Dancers, from this perspective, do not passively follow instructions, but actively engage in tasks involving characteristic ways of moving that are situated in the nexus of relations between people and the distinctive contexts of dance. The paper suggests that skill learning in dance (or indeed any domain) is not a matter of processing information, but is imminent in the active, perceptual engagement of learner and context. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)