The Transformative Nature of Greek Dancing: A Qualitative Inquiry of Adolescent Experience, Christina T. Callos
In this research I explored the experience of dance by studying 13 adolescents who were members of an ethnic performance group situated in a Greek Orthodox community. Using a hermeneutic and phenomenological approach, I explored the meaning teens made of this experience and the significance that dancing had for their lives and development. I drew on the literature of embodiment, self-development, positive psychology, and movement and dance and their relationship to self-knowledge. I conducted interviews and used video clips of performances to stimulate the participants’ recall of their dance experiences, and then transcribed and analyzed the data using van Manen’s (1990) three approaches—the wholistic, essential statements and detailed. The descriptions of the experience of dance coalesced around the following topics: (a) feelings and thoughts while performing, (b) the group experience, (c) the meaning of dance, (d) learnings and benefits of dance, and (e) transferability of learning. This research suggested that through ethnic dancing these adolescents experienced intense feelings of joy and passion, developed confidence, learned leadership skills, developed important interpersonal relationships, strengthened their ethnic identities, learned to work as a team, and transferred what they learned from dancing to other aspects of their lives. The study suggested possible implications for ethnic community youth programs and for educational policy in general.
Keywords: embodiment, somatics, dancing, Greek dance, ethnic identity, aesthetics, phenomenology, hermeneutics, stimulus recall, self-development, leadership, confidence, relationships, team work, adolescents, superordinary, peak experience, flow