By combining photography, narrative and poetic inquiry into an artistic reflective practice named photopoetics, I hope to show how the dance experience in one secondary school in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, may broaden our collective understanding of the ways that dance educates students in schools. Student experience is the authority that underpins this study, as student photographs, writing and interviews are integrated throughout the thesis. Photopoetics combines the visual imagery of photographs with the narrative poetics of student-generated text to represent student voice about the experience. Through integrating the use of digital cameras, editing and presentation software into the dance curriculum, students "see themselves while being seen" (Clarke, 2004) and collaborate to frame their own worlds as creative inquiry between peers. I investigate the pedagogical understanding of my dance studio classroom as a place of inclusion where students may find a hospitable place to take creative risks, to make discoveries about themselves and to transform personal understandings in educationally significant ways. As a teacher, I first began experimenting with dance and photography, and was intrigued with the meanings that students made from their creative work. Curious to discover where our photographic play might lead us and what might unfold in this new way of thinking about dance, I continued to develop my work with students as a pedagogical project and to think about it as research inquiry over the years between 2004 - 2012. The prospect of facilitating understanding about the dance education experience to the community of dance educators to which I also belong has been of fundamental importance in this process. By unveiling the qualities of the photopoetic experience in an artistically evocative way through the freshness of student voice, this thesis seeks to expand the understanding of what it means for students to dance in schools.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Snowber, Celeste
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