Community University Dance
Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of engaging in the arts through dance in creating a sense of community and in the reframing of personal identity in two community-based programs, both in collaboration with a university. In the first, developed in 2005, program participants are residents of subsidized housing complexes for senior citizens (largely first generation immigrants to Canada with varying degrees of English language proficiency), and students and/or recent graduates of the B.A. Dance program at the University of Calgary. In the second, participants have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Through arts based inquiry, we are researching the process of knowledge transmission from a research-intensive university to the local community involving faculty members and students working off campus with diverse populations. This university-community partnership, led by Anne Flynn and Lisa Doolittle, studies the impact of participating in dance classes on these two populations, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of engaging in the arts in creating a sense of community; develop research-focused evaluation tools; and identify effective strategies for program design, operation and management. Lead partners are Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Alex Seniors’ Health Centre, and the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge.