The purpose of this study was to explore whether a choreography curriculum based on body image for high school female dancers would help students increase their positive body image and find a new appreciation for their bodies. This study also focused on the impact that reflection and creation have in this transformative curriculum design, along with instructional strategies that could foster a more positive body image culture in the dance classroom. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to answer the four essential questions of this study. Q1 How can choreography be used as a transformative process to help female high school dancers increase their positive body image? Q2 To what extent does reflection and creation help in the transformation ofhigh school female dancers’ body image? Q3 What other instructional practices influence students’ body image in thedance classroom? Q4 What changes occurred in the students’ perception of their own body imagefrom the start of the curriculum to its end? The research instruments included a pre- and post-test survey, weekly journal prompts, and an exit questionnaire. Twenty-two high school female dancers participated in this research, which took place over the course of eight weeks. The researcher guided participants through a choreography curriculum that included meditation, improvisation, journaling, and creation. Throughout the duration of the study, the researcher covered up the mirrors in the dance studio to encourage the participants to focus on how the movement felt in their bodies instead of how it looked in the mirror.
Using the choreographic method of theme and variation, each participant choreographed their own solo inspired by a body part that made them feel insecure. The researcher spoke in depth about the process of building a more positive relationship with our bodies, and prompted the students to create variations of their theme phrase based on the topics of discovery, appreciation and acceptance, trust, and finally love and kindness. There were some limitations to this study, including the small sample size of participants and potential researcher bias. The research instruments were designed by the researcher and not tested for validity and reliability, which is another limitation of this study. Findings suggested that the choreography curriculum used in this study, in conjunctionwith the instructional practices used, can positively influence an individual’s body image andlead to an increase in self-confidence. When careful consideration is used in terms of classroom environment and curriculum design, the dance classroom can be a space that fosters positive body image, promotes appreciation of our bodies, and inspires healthy self-talk amongst student dancers. Further research should be done on this subject to limit biases and determine consistency of the findings across different populations.
Body Image; Choreography; Dance Curriculum; Female; High School; Journal; Dance; Positive Body Image
Culver, Kelly, "Reflection, Creation, Transformation: Fostering a Positive Body Image in Female High School Dancers through a Creative Choreography Curriculum" (2021). Master's Theses. 222.