The Impact of Engagement in Contemporary Dance on Well-Being Amongst Older Adults: An Arts-Informed Photo-Elicitation Study / Ita Ellis Martin-Wylie (2019)

The Impact of Engagement in Contemporary Dance on Well-Being Amongst Older Adults: An Arts-Informed Photo-Elicitation Study

Author: Ita Ellis Martin-Wylie

Course: MFA Dance Science

Year: 2019

Keywords: Contemporary dance, Exercise for older people, Older people, Well-being,

Abstract

Dancing is a popular activity for adults approaching, or in, retirement. Research has shown that dancing may have equal or greater effects on physical health compared to other physical activities (Fong Yan et al., 2018). Dancing also has positive effects on the psychological and social impacts of aging (Gouvêa, Antunes, Bortolozzi, Marques, & Bertolini, 2017; Hamacher, Hamacher, Rehfeld, Hökelmann, & Schega, 2015; Kattenstroth, Kalisch, Holt, Tegenthoff, & Dinse, 2013; Kosmat & Vranic, 2017). The present study used a novel approach to dance for health research – photo-self-elicitation interviewing within an arts-informed methodology – to explore how the physical, psychological, and social effects of participation in a creative
contemporary dance class impact subjective well-being amongst older adults.

Photo-self-elicitation interviews were used to gather different data than what could be elicited through verbal inquiry alone. The method encourages empathetic understanding of the participants’ lived experiences and values participant
perspectives by engaging them as co-researchers. Ten female dancers aged 66-77 years who attend the same weekly dance class participated in the study. After an initial one-to-one interview, each participant was provided with a disposable camera.

Over the following 1-4 weeks, each participant took 10-16 photographs that represent how they perceive dance classes to impact their well-being. The phototaking was followed by a second one-to-one interview during which the meanings of
the photographs and the participant’s relationship to dance and well-being were discussed. In order to accessibly communicate tacit knowledge of dancing to academic and public audiences, findings were disseminated through a photography exhibition in addition to this dissertation.
Thematic analysis of interview transcripts revealed social impacts: connecting to peers, family, friends, other generations, and other activities; physical impacts: physical self-efficacy and caring for the body; and psychological impacts: challenging perceptions, creative engagement, emotional vulnerability, negative affect, and positive affect. Results lead to speculation that dancing fosters shame resilience amongst older women by means of creative engagement.

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APA
Martin-Wylie, Ita Ellis. (2019). The Impact of Engagement in Contemporary Dance on Well-Being Amongst Older Adults: An Arts-Informed Photo-Elicitation Study (Masters’ theses). Retrieved https://researchonline.trinitylaban.ac.uk/oa/thesis/?p=1237