Evidence That It Works
In a study of a diverse Kindergarten class, researchers found that learning cultural dance provided a means for students to become aware of similarities and differences, e.g., skin color and housing, between cultures, including their own. They also discussed the feelings expressed by dancers from another culture, and grew in their cultural understanding and respect.
Why Does It Matter?
The world is growing smaller and divisions between humans are disappearing rapidly. As a result, our schools, workforce, and communities are becoming more diverse, encouraging us to reach out to one another in friendship and understanding.
Studying and practicing dance forms that originate in other parts of the world can serve as a fun and motivating way for students to gain an understanding of the history, identities, and values of others. In addition, the universality of dance helps them to cultivate a positive view of humans, creating a world in which both our similarities and differences are valued.