1st Edition

Dancing Mind, Minding Dance Socially Relevant and Personally Resonant Dance Education

Edited By Doug Risner, Jennifer McNamara Copyright 2023

    Dancing Mind, Minding Dance encompasses a collection of pivotal texts published by scholar and researcher Doug Risner, whose work over the past three decades has emphasized the significance of social relevance and personal resonance in dance education. Drawing upon Risner’s breakthrough research and visionary scholarship, the book contextualizes critical issues of dance making in the rehearsal process, dance curriculum and pedagogy in 21st-century postsecondary dance education, the role of dance teaching artists in schools and community environments, and dance, gender, and sexual identity, especially the feminization of dance and the marginalization of males who dance.

    This book concludes with Risner’s prophetic vision for employing reflective practice in order to address social justice and inclusion and humanizing pedagogies in dance and dance education throughout all sectors of dance training and preparation. Beginning with his first book, Stigma and Perseverance in the Lives of Boys Who Dance (2009), Risner has distinguished himself as the leading education researcher, scholar, and practitioner to improve young dancers’ education and training and in humanistic ways. The book will appeal to dance educators and teachers, dance education scholars and researchers, choreographers, parents and care-givers of dance students, and those who work as teaching artists, arts administrators, private sector dance studio directors and teachers, as well as arts education researchers and scholars broadly. The chapters in this book, except for a few, were originally published in various Taylor & Francis journals.


    Susan W. Stinson


    Jennifer McNamara and Doug Risner

    Part I: Dance Making Pedagogies in the Rehearsal Process


    1. Exploring Dance Rehearsal: The Neglected Issues Revealed

    Doug Risner

    2. Voices Seldom Heard: The Dancer's Experience of the Choreographic Process

    Doug Risner

    3. Making Dance, Making Sense: Epistemology & Choreography

    Doug Risner

    Part II: Curriculum and Pedagogy in 21st Century Postsecondary Dance


    4. Dance Education Matters: Rebuilding Postsecondary Dance Education for Twenty-first Century Relevance and Resonance

    Doug Risner

    5. Weaving Social Foundations in Dance Pedagogy: A Pedagogy of Uncovering

    Sherrie Barr and Doug Risner

    6. Troubling Methods-Centered "Teacher Production": Social Foundations in Dance Education Teacher Preparation

    Doug Risner and Sherrie Barr

    7. Leadership Narratives in Postsecondary Dance Leadership: Voices, Values and Gender Variations

    Doug Risner and Pamela Musil

    Part III: The Role of Dance Teaching Artists in Dance Education


    8. Hybrid Lives of Teaching Artistry: A Survey of Teaching Artists in Dance

    Doug Risner

    9. The Credential Question: Attitudes of Dance and Theatre Teaching Artists

    Doug Risner and Mary Elizabeth Anderson

    10. Preparation, Policy and Workplace Challenges of Dance Teaching Artists in P-12 Schools: Perspectives from the Field

    Doug Risner, Sam Horning, and Bryant Henderson Shea

    Part IV: Dance, Gender, and Sexual Identity


    11. Rehearsing Masculinity: Challenging the "Boy Code" in Dance Education

    Doug Risner

    12. Bullying Victimization and Social Support of Adolescent Male Dance Students

    Doug Risner

    13. Gender Problems in Western Theatrical Dance: Little Girls, Big Sissies and the "Baryshnikov Complex"

    Doug Risner

    14. Men in Dance, Bridging the Gap Symposium: Gender Inequities in Dance Education: Asking New Questions

    Doug Risner

    Part V: Reflective Practice, Social Justice, and Humanizing Dance Pedagogy


    15. Motion and Marking in Reflective Practice: Artifacts, Autobiographical Narrative, and Sexuality

    Doug Risner

    16. Moving Social Justice in Dance Pedagogy: Possibilities, Fears and Challenges

    Doug Risner and Susan W. Stinson

    17. Activities for Humanizing Dance Pedagogy: Immersive Learning in Practice

    Doug Risner


    Nyama McCarthy Brown


    Doug Risner (PhD, MFA) is a distinguished faculty fellow and professor of Dance and directs the MA in Theatre and Dance: Teaching Artistry program in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. He conducts research in the sociology of dance training and education, gender in dance, curriculum theory and policy, social foundations of dance pedagogy, online learning, and web-based curriculum design. His books include Stigma and Perseverance in the Lives of Boys Who Dance (2009); Hybrid Lives of Teaching Artists in Dance and Theatre Arts: A Critical Reader (2014); Gender, Sexuality and Identity: Critical Issues in Dance Education (2015): Dance and Gender: An Evidence-Based Approach (2017); Dance, Professional Practice, and the Workplace (2020); and Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy (2020), which received the 2021 NDEO Ruth Lovell Murray Award for Dance Education and the 2021 Susan W. Stinson Book Award. His most recent edited volumes include Dancing Across the Lifespan: Negotiating Age, Place and Purpose (2022) with Pam Musil and Karen Schupp and Masculinity, Intersectionality and Identity: Why Boys (Don’t) Dance (2022) with Beccy Watson.

    Jennifer McNamara (MFA) is an assistant professor of Dance at Mercyhurst University, Erie, USA. Following a twenty-year career as a ballet dancer, she was an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, USA, and taught for New Dialect, Metro (Nashville) Parks and Recreation Dance Division, and the School of Nashville Ballet. A certified Pilates instructor, Jennifer explores the relationships between foundational and aesthetic movement choices; she is also an advocate for justice in dance education. She is a past recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship (Dance) from the Tennessee Arts Commission, has designed and built costumes, and has been published in Arts Education Policy Review and Masculinity, Intersectionality and Identity: Why Boys (Don’t) Dance, edited by Doug Risner and Beccy Watson. Jennifer earned her MFA in Dance from Hollins University, Roanoke, USA.