Who’s Teaching Whom? A Dance Concert Exploring Teacher-Led, Student-Led, And Collaborative Choreographic Methods

Robin Marie Suing, University of Northern Colorado


The purpose of this study was to create a positive learning environment where students with a range of dance backgrounds can flourish. The goal was to discover the feeling responses of college students to teacher-led, student-led, and collaborative choreography to determine the importance of a balance between teacher-led and student-centered instruction. Information from this project will be used to inform curriculum planning in future dance courses. The following essential questions were used as a guide when assessing the qualitative and quantitative answers to the surveys and interview questions given to the participating students: Q1 What similarities and differences are found in the emotional responses to the different choreographic methods of teacher-led, student-led, and collaborative choreography? Q2 How did the emotional responses correlate with the students’ previous dance experience? Q3 How did students assess advantages to each choreographic method and how can that be transferred into the dance classroom? The research instruments used for this project included an entrance survey, three intermittent surveys, a post-survey, and several interviews from volunteers. There was a total of twenty participants who were all college students at a rural university in the Midwest of the United States. Several limitations of this study included an imbalance of the number of teacher-led versus student-led routines, time constraints, styles of dances in the performance, format of the collaborative dance process, and a limited number of intermittent surveys. In conclusion, the researcher found great significance in incorporating teacher-led student-centered methods after evaluating the participant responses. The participants were very receptive to learning from their peers, and in fact preferred the student-led method as they found the most inspiration and friendship nurturing through this method. However, participants were able to find benefits of all choreographic methods which shows the need for a balance of teacher-led and student-centered activities in curriculum planning.