Dancing as Moments of Belonging: A Phenomenological Study Exploring Dancing as a Relevant Activity for Social and Cultural Sustainability in Early Childhood Education
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionGrindheim, M., & Grindheim, L. T. (2021). Dancing as moments of belonging: A phenomenological study exploring dancing as a relevant activity for social and cultural sustainability in early childhood education. Sustainability, 13(14), 8080. 10.3390/su13148080
Individuals’ capacities to contribute to more sustainable living are deeply influenced by their early life experiences. Hence, there is a need to discover which experiences are relevant to young children’s contemporary and future contributions to more sustainable living. Perceiving children as aesthetically oriented to the world and their sense of belonging as a core experience for social and cultural sustainability, and using the example of dancing, we investigate how such a sense of belonging can be supported through aesthetic first-person experiences. This article is therefore structured around the following research question: How can adults’ experiences of themselves, others and their sense of belonging—when dancing—inform explorations of ways to foster embodied and aesthetic belonging for social and cultural sustainability in early childhood education (ECE)? Drawing on a phenomenological study, we analyse interviews with four dancers, who differ in age, gender and dance genre. Our analysis reveals their experiences when dancing as being in a meditative state, having a sense of freedom and feeling body and mind as one, described as an overall “different”, resilient way of being and belonging in a social context. Our findings indicate that facilitating moments of sensible and bodily awareness can support a non-verbal understanding of oneself and others, as well as arguments for promoting aesthetic experiences while dancing as relevant to sustainable practices in ECE.