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iDance Arizona

Regardless of geographical limitations, community partnerships can flourish through video conferencing technology (VC). The iDance community partnership focuses on university/K-12 collaboration and examines VC pedagogy for dance through design and implementation of a standards-based dance curriculum with K-12 students in Eloy, Arizona. This community partnership considers how VC supports both the creation of community and fosters flexible options for instruction in dance.  The partnership stresses the process of collaboration among students and teachers who, as a result of geographic limitation or other reason, are in need of improved access to dance instruction and resources.  iDance curricular collaborations build connections between pre-service dance education students and K-12 students and educators in the community and provide access, activate communication, and develop relationships among community partners.  iDance may serve as a catalyst for change in education, access to instructional resources, and innovation in interdisciplinary curricula and the arts. 



The project stemmed from a desire to meet the needs of students who feel compelled to dance but have no access to dance teachers where they live. In the rapidly growing Phoenix metropolitan area, university dance education certification programs are unable to train and graduate enough certified dance teachers for local professional teaching placements, so many rural schools are unable to hire a certified dance teacher. This community based research program provides rural students access to a dance teacher using innovations in (VC) technology. The program, iDance VC, offers the closest substitute for face-to-face instruction in dance technique, choreography, and performance. Specifically, the iDance program investigates issues surrounding the teaching of dance using a new hybrid pedagogy that combines traditional dance instruction with real-time VC dance instruction. 

Description of the Program

iDance is a community partnership which links university pre-service dance education students with public school teachers and their students using both VC and live delivery of dance instruction. The function of iDance Arizona is two-fold.  First, it is an ArtsBridge America community partnership where teachers and students receive dance instruction and create choreography and perform dances at no cost. Second, iDance is a practicum teaching opportunity for pre-service dance education students to practice their instructional skills, work collaboratively, and implement an innovative curriculum. The iDance partnership allows all participants to learn from each other, breaking down the barriers of inequity in order to open up access to resources and training.  


iDance instruction is aligned with university coursework and practicum requirements, which require meeting once a week for 12 weeks.  The iDance program serves 160 community students, 15 ASU pre-service dance education majors, and has actively contributed to the Arizona arts community. The iDance community partnership is aligned with ASU service and teaching initiatives, and in particular, the ArtsBridge America Scholar program. The iDance curricula support supports 21st Century Learning Skills of communication, collaboration, and creative thinking, as well as interdisciplinary instruction in the arts and state and national dance standards. iDance program philosophy is grounded in the value of student-centered instruction which fosters participant collaboration, self-expression, and celebration of dance for all in the community. 


Project Goals 

The goals of the iDance community partnership are: 

  • Improve student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools 

  • Assist every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, geographical location, or disability, in learning, creating and sharing dance 

  • Improve student academic achievement in core subjects through the use of interdisciplinary dance instruction delivered through VC technology

  • Support pre-service teacher education and the application of new VC instructional methodology 

  • Encourage the effective integration of technology enhanced dance curriculum development and to promote VC instructional methods that can be widely replicated

  • Broaden the students’ perspectives and afford them a new way to think, perceive and imagine 


Many rural Arizona school districts are unable to employ a professional dance educator due not only to the remote location of the school, but also to the financial limitations of the school. As a result, students in rural locations have limited resources and access to the arts. For example, most students in Eloy have never seen a live dance or theater performance. Supporting the belief that the arts are a matchless way of understanding, interpreting, expressing, and assessing knowledge, the four teachers from Eloy School District enrolled in the iDance program. Teachers Anderson, Sasser, Ruelas and Vo wanted to provide engaging and plentiful performing arts experiences for their students. These teachers expressed the desire for their students to be introduced to more ways of thinking and expressing their understanding, especially through using their bodies and beginning “to feel more comfortable in their own skin and to realize the potential they have in the physical artistic expression of dance.” (Anderson, personal reflection, 2006).

University Partners: Dr. Mila Parrish, Professor of Dance, Arizona State University and Department of Dance; Melanie Ohm, Director of Community Programs, ASU Herberger College of Fine Arts; ArtsBridge America Scholars Lindsey Bauer, Megan Fox, Elissa Moriarity, and twelve ASU Dance Education students

Community Partners: Dr. Jill Dingman, Pinal County Interactive Television Consortium; Linda Anderson, Victoria Ruelas, Robert Sasser, and Sakina Vo from the Eloy School District, in Arizona. 

Teacher Support Statement for iDanceAZ:

"Students seem to get more and more involved each week.  I have seen vast improvements in their  confidence, and they are much more eager to improvise.  Today when I said, ‘Stand up, we are going to dance,’ they all cheered!”" --Megan Fox

iDance Arizona Publication

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