This dissertation is a phenomenological study in which I endeavour to uncover the essence of what animates us beneath the dance by investigating the lived experiences of bodily perceptions generated while dancing. I present four perspectives to illuminate this essence. In my first perspective, I offer literature from a variety of phenomenologists, dancers and choreographers which substantiate vital and spiritual perceptions generated while dancing. In my second perspective, I conduct an autobiographical inquiry and recollect my childhood experiences of dance. In my third perspective, I present an historic narrative about the lives of my dance mentors Gertrud and Magda Hanova which is of significant historical importance for dance history to Vancouver. In my fourth perspective, looking through the lens of phenomenology and drawing on performative inquiry, I present textual reflections written by grade four students, which explore the children’s dancing experiences. In conclusion, I stress the need to return again and again to the dancing body in order to experience revitalization and renewal. I explore the significance of dance for teaching and learning and expand on how this study may inform education. This work is an invitation to celebrate returning to the dancing body and to honour the divinity of the dance in each person.
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Thesis advisor: Snowber, Celeste
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