The formation of interpersonal relationships in dance practice: A mixed-method study of two programmes

Susanne Ravn*, Karsten Elmose-Østerlund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Previous studies have described how dance practices encourage the development of interpersonal relationships. However, the possible connections between
the development of such relationships and the cooperative characteristics of the
dance practices have rarely been focused on. This article sets out to investigate:
a) the extent to which cooperative dance practices organised around a performance foster interpersonal relationships among the participants compared with
the fostering of interpersonal relationships in different sports activities, and b)
which cooperative aspects of such dance practices are of importance for the fostering of interpersonal relationships. We used a mixed-method approach, combining surveys, observations and interviews, to investigate two Danish dance
programmes. The descriptive comparison with members of sports clubs presents
strong indications that interpersonal relationships arose within a comparatively
short time period. Unexpectedly, the activities in the two dance programmes
were to a very large extent based on teacher-oriented methods. However, using
cooperative learning theory, we could point towards several constitutive elements of cooperative learning that are of importance in facilitating interpersonal
relationships. With minor differences between the two programmes, the professional dancers’ way of forming part of and facilitating the process of creating
a performance seemed to play a crucial role for ‘individual accountability’ and
‘promotive interaction’ between participants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Sport Studies Forum
Pages (from-to)201-226
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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