Dance and Lead: An Artistic Journey to Leadership

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to understand how dance, dramaturgy, aesthetic, and somatic practices are manifested in the daily work of educational leaders in dance. The study explored the art of leadership by investigating the experiences of dance educational leaders. It examined how dance, dramaturgy, somatic practices, and aesthetic knowledge influenced their leadership development. The participants for the study have five or more years in educational leadership in dance, affiliation at a university, or affiliation with a leadership organization, and at least ten years of professional dance experience. Participants shared their experience through one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Observations of each of the participants were also conducted that demonstrated how dance, dramaturgy, aesthetics, or somatic practices could be applied to leadership. The findings indicated that leadership skills can be developed from dance experience. Based on the data from the interviews and observations, leadership is an art and knowledge and experience in dance can be applied to leadership and leadership education. Findings also revealed the importance of somatic practices and the importance of leaders being in touch with their bodies and practicing somatic or embodied practices. Dance forms and artistic methods are beneficial to leadership.


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