Dance studies in Years 11 and 12: Why girls elect to dance at school

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Council for Health Physical Education & Recreation Inc


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Biomedical and Sports Science




Embrey, L., & Rose, E. (2002). Dance studies in Years 11 and 12: why girls elect to dance at school. ACHPER Australia Healthy Lifestyles Journal, 49(3-4), 32. Available here.


Provision is made in state-based education curricular in Australia for the inclusion of dance in either Health and Physical Education or the Performing Arts. This study, using interviews with 38 Year 11 and 12 girls in two metropolitan Western Australian high schools, explored what prompts students to participate in Dance Studies as an elective and the meanings they attach to their participation. Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed that the girls formed two broad groups. The largest group was designated "Dancers" and was made up of girls who had begun dancing when they were "little" or infants. They were articulate, passionate about dance and enjoyed the support of their parents. The second group was the "Participants" for whom the choice of dance was based on time tabling expediency and their perceptions that dance was the best option amongst a number of less desirable subjects. The implications of dance as a worthwhile physical activity for Girls are considered, noting similarities with sport in terms of time demands, shared experiences in performances such as•... the Rock Eisteddfod and the need for guidance in the transition to post school dance opportunities.