Over the course of the Empowering Dance project, there were several transnational meetings that brought together the partners, staff members and dance artists from each of the five organizations. The gatherings were focused on sharing tools and to look at one’s practices anew through the lens of soft skills development. Accompanying those meetings was an expert from the Italian team who conducted interviews and brought new language and awareness to the project participants, such as the European Qualification Framework, as a guide for identifying soft skills within the dance practices of the 5 case studies.
What emerged from the exchanges and analysis was the identification of several ways in which contemporary dance could support the development of quite a large variety of soft skills, such as:
- the ability to reflect upon oneself
- effectively manage time and information
- to work with others in a constructive way
- remain resilient
- manage one’s own learning
- the ability to cope with uncertainty and complexity
- learning to learn
- support for one’s own physical and emotional well-being
- maintaining physical and mental health
- the ability to lead a health-conscious, future-oriented life, empathizing and managing conflict in an inclusive and supportive context.
Overall, the journey underlined how the practice of dance (not necessarily on a professional level) could be helpful to boost resilience and resist increasing levels of uncertainty and stress, helping to develop strong personal, social and learning skills in order to successfully navigate personal lives, social encounters and careers.
During the project meetings, the ongoing collection of evidence was shared with the project participants to encourage the dance artists to value themselves beyond performance and empowering them to recognise their skills and the transferability of those skills to participants. Knowing more about what is possible and what can manifest in the case study participants, was crucial to support and develop learning and teaching practices that foster soft skill development and peer-training between the artists involved.