Empowering Dance - Developing Soft Skills is a new European project that aims to research if and how the practice of contemporary dance helps people of all ages to acquire and develop soft skills.

Over the course of 18 months, the project will offer a series of good-practice sharing meetings with the staff of five European dance houses, dance practitioners with diverse practices and their local communities. The outcome of the project will be a mapping of the potential of soft skill learning through contemporary dance practices.

Soft skills are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication, and interaction with others. Complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, intercultural skills and teamwork are regarded as the most important skills required in our contemporary society and in the workplace*.

This project aims to provide evidence on how the practice of contemporary dance helps personal and interpersonal development. The project is based on the idea that a continuous contemporary dance practice helps people deal with change, build resilience, gain confidence and develop healthier interpersonal relationships. However, there is little evidence to date recorded about the implicit but powerful skills of contemporary dance.

Knowledge that is specific to dance is often implied or “silent” knowledge, operating in the background and rarely named (in detail) for its unique impact and potential in diverse settings. This project will identify, collect and articulate the implicit skills developed through dance practice by focusing on five examples of contemporary dance practices involving a community of non-professionals.

In The Netherlands, the research will focus on the Movement Class programmes, organised by Dansateliers since 2012. These are a series of classes led by different choreographers and open to anyone interested in body awareness, choreography and dance.

In Italy, the research will focus on Dance Well, a process which has been promoting for over 5 years the regular practice of dance and the participation in dance events for people living with Parkinson's, their family members and members of the elderly community of the region.

In France, the research will be centred on the on-going artistic work of Jordi Galí, Artist-in-residence, involving a mixed group of non-professionals, including migrants and refugees.

In Germany, the project will look at the practice and legacy of the K3 Youth Dance Group. The K3 Youth Club, founded in 2007, is open to youth age 15 and older. Each season, in collaboration with experienced choreographers, the Youth Club develops a production that is presented on stage in professional conditions.

In Croatia the project will follow the impact of students of dance in a professional dance school that may be considering dance as a future career. For this project the Croatian partner chose to work with Škola suvremenog plesa Ana Maletić in Zagreb, Croatia's leading school of contemporary dance, with whom they have ongoing professional multi-layered partnerships.

A series of good-practice sharing meetings with the staff of five European dance houses, dance practitioners with diverse practices and their local communities are planned between January 2019 and January 2020 in different partners’ cities.

*According to The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report

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