Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Isaac Prilleltensky

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study had two purposes: (1) to understand how girls experience dance and (2) to examine the idea of using dance as a venue to promote psychological well—being and artistic growth in young children. Fifteen girls between the ages of 3 1/2 and 10 years old participated in a dance program offering dance warm ups, dance techniques, sequential dance steps, pantomime explorations, and creative dance. Methods of data collection included journal notes, video—taped observations, parental interviews, and children's self—reports, drawings, and interviews. The formative evaluation of this dance program indicated that the participants of this small rural community had happy dance experiences. Their levels of self-perception, self- concept, social skills, and motor skills remained high throughout the dance program. They smiled, laughed, and were attentive during the dance classes. The parental interviews and the journal entries indicate the girls enjoyed the dance classes. The girls‘ reports, drawings, and verbal responses confirm the parental and journal observations. In addition, several parents noticed an increase in the self-confidence and a decrease in the shyness of their daughters since they had taken the dance classes. Many parents also reported an increase in creativity and variety of dance movements expressed during their daughters‘ spontaneous dancing at home. These responses give some insight into the girls‘ dance experience. Furthermore, as no overall decreases were found in psychological well—being and as increases were found in artistic growth, I can conclude that these girls experienced a sense of well—being and growth throughout their participation in this dance program. Future studies could utilize a different qualitative methodology or experimental designs to further enhance and define the understanding of how children experience dance and how dance can play a role in the promotion of good health.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season