This study aimed to identify the nature of instructional differences between beginning, intermediate and advanced contemporary dance classes. The study involved interviewing two dance instructors and observing their classes, as well as conducting focus group discussions to gain insight from students. Despite difficulties in comparing across three levels given that no single instructor was observed teaching all three levels, the mixed method comparison yielded some common themes at each dance level. Given that students at higher levels were more aware of and comfortable with their bodies, instructors moved through the class at a quicker pace. Students at each level were challenged in different ways whether it was in movement execution, feeling the movement or developing artistry in expression. While students at all levels were offered opportunities for improvisation, the nature of the constraints were very different, demanding increasing creativity and imagination at the higher levels. Both instructors were able to open space for self and student reflection in the classes they taught. While this contributed to students being aware of their responsibilities as dancers and as dance students. It was also evident that with increased proficiency, students at the intermediate level were more verbally articulate compared to beginning students. The advanced students were better equipped to implement feedback or new ideas quickly when compared to intermediate students.


Julie Carlson

Committee Member

Julie Kerr-Berry

Committee Member

Joshua Meyer

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Experiential Education


Allied Health and Nursing



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In Copyright