Fives Ideas for an Interdisciplinary Research Paper:
-The psychology and application of empowerment through dance. Why DOES dancing make us feel empowered? This truly interests me because I personally feel very empowered when I dance. There are many different reasons that I can explain, but I want to know scientifically speaking what the reason is for WHY dance can be empowering. By this, I would be able to come up with best practices for applying dance empowerment. The disciplines would include dance, social work, and psychology.
-Comparing the empowerment of performers vs. audience members. As we know, the performers of a piece of theatre, song, and dance have a very different experience than the audience members watching it. Both can be empowering for different people or in different situations. I would compare and contrast the feelings of empowerment through the same piece, for the audience member and performer to get a better understanding of how and maybe why this form of empowerment works, and when is the best time to use it. This would include music, theatre, or dance and social work, psychology, and maybe social justice.
-How does music improve learning? You constantly hear on the radio or TV that playing music improves test stores. Learning songs help memory… why is that when we are also constantly told one side of the brain is creative and the other numerically smart? What is the proof and how can we use that to better our music, education, and music education? The disciplines for this would be music, education, and neuroscience/psychology.
-What are the best practices for cross-cultural dance exploration? Is it possible to truly understand or “dance” the dances of other cultures? What would be the barriers to learning dances from around the world, and how could we apply them in culturally sensitive ways? Is there a way to make World Dance classes more interactive? The disciplines for this would be anthropology, dance, and social justice/work.
-Ableism in dance/theatre. I would study how the current dance/theatre world is inclusive and neglectful of people who are disabled. Hopefully, I would be able to challenge the pieces that are ableist, and create a manual for dance studios, companies, etc to model when trying to be more inclusive. This would combine social work and dance/theatre.
Five Ideas for an Applied Project:
-Organizing and Directing a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues. This play tackles important issues regarding violence against women, feminity, and challenging gender norms. This will use the disciplines theatre and social work.
–Empowering Youth Through Movement course. I will help to run the workshop for the Empowering Youth Through Movement course that I created alongside social work Prof. David Lynch and IDS alum Marina Phillips.I will be able to document the journey of creating the course, running the course, and passing the course on for future courses. The disciplines this will include is education, dance, and social work.
-Empowerment Dance Class- many people feel empowered by dancing but why? Is there more than one way to dance for empowerment? Can you actually train someone to be empowered by dance? These are the questions I have. Using dance and social work/psychology techniques, I would create and run a dance class (similar to zumba, without latin influences as I am not trained that way) that focuses more on the empowerment behind the dance, than the dance itself. The mission would be to get the dancers to love themselves and their bodies, or the way they feel when they dance.
-World Dance Tourism Program- someday, I would love to work for a nonprofit. I am very passionate about the importance of cultural exchange through fair-trade learning opportunities. I would love to create a program that providers dancers from around the world the opportunity to travel to countries, learning their heritage, cultural, and dances. This would give dancers the experience to recognize different forms of World Dance as an experience unlike the dance world in America. And it would allow for cultural exchange, which is incredibly important in breaking down stereotypes and helping to find the universal oneness within us all.
-Emotion Improv- create a course based on theatre improv and empowerment that would allow students to express themselves while being faced with important social questions and constructs. This would require me to pull from Social Work, theatre, and education.