The Society for Dance Research concentrates on four areas of dance research: dance studies, dance performance, dance pedagogy education, and dance therapy.
Each of these areas is represented by one committee member who also functions as the contact person regarding all queries related to the specific area of research. The committee members are part of the Society's board and represent their ‘community’, initiate new projects, or take up current interdisciplinary issues.
In German-speaking countries, dance studies are still a young discipline. As a field at the intersection of theatre studies, literary studies, cultural studies, musicology, sociology and sport science, dance studies are characterized by a transdisciplinary openness. They are dedicated to the study of movement and body concepts (as the basic elements of dance in a broad sense) as well as the study of choreographic practices (as the organization of human and non-human bodies in time and space) from an aesthetic, praxeological, historiographical, socio-cultural and political perspective. The committee member representing the research area of dance studies within the gtf is available for all questions regarding university education as well as the application of dance studies in professional fields beyond the university, e.g. in theater/dramaturgy, cultural institutions, cultural management, journalism, archives and publishing houses), and contributes his/her expertise to the conceptualization of the annual research topics.
Unlike any other art form, dance touches upon the relationship between body and mind. In this way, the balancing act between sensuality, discipline, and continuity, the acting out of personal ideals and their boundaries constitutes a daily challenge for choreographic dance practices. For many dance practitioners, artistic practice means to raise questions instead of answering them and to deal constructively with the ambivalences and ambiguities that emerge in artistic processes. It is the interest in relevant contemporary issues that art shares with research and vice versa. When choreographers and dancers accept the challenge of expanding their artistic practice to include scholarly questions, they require approaches that are both process- and result-oriented. Here, research methods are required that include artistic procedures as an original way of generating and mediating knowledge – methods that enable dance practitioners to situate their work in a scholarly context without having to sideline or give up their artistic approach. It is the Society's aim to facilitate exchange, support, and networking among choreographers and dancers who are interested in interweaving artistic and scholarly methods.
Dance education is dedicated to issues of dance training, creation, and literacy. As a scientific discipline, dance education is concerned with the application and legitimization of dance in educational processes. It develops didactic concepts for dance dissemination that cater to different audiences, as well as it investigates learning and teaching processes in and through dance in different settings and learning environments.
Different dance styles and techniques are related to different educational concepts. In the framework of dance-pedagogical education concepts, dance constitutes a medium of aesthetic and cultural education. As a discipline, dance education is taught at schools of dance and art colleges as well as it forms part of the curriculum in teacher training and social and cultural pedagogy.
Dance-pedagogical research – as a recently established research field – mainly draws on methods from humanistic pedagogy and empirical social research. There are dance-pedagogical studies on impact research, process research, document analysis and evaluation studies about dance.
One aim of the Society for Dance Research is to stimulate dance-pedagogical discourse. In this way, the "Dance-pedagogical Research Day" provides a forum for exchange between scientists and practitioners.
Dance therapy is an artistic therapy method that operates at the interface of humanistic, psychodynamic and behavioral therapy methods and increasingly integrates neuroscientific research. Dance therapy research ranges between empirical and evidence-based research methods, which are increasingly oriented towards the standards applicable in medicine and psychology, as well as artistic/artistic-therapeutic and humanistic research methods. Dance is always the element that connects everything. Since the academicization of dance therapy in Germany is still under development, a large part of dance therapy research is carried out in related disciplines such as medicine, motology and psychomotor skills, neuroscience, psychology, rehabilitation science, sports science, and dance science.
Dance therapy in Germany is therefore transdisciplinary per se and is also strongly oriented towards international research. In order to pool all the strengths and avenues of dance therapy research, the gtf and its Advisory Board for Dance Therapy are significantly supporting the "Dance Therapy Research Day" conference series, which was launched in 2019 as the only genuinely dance therapy research conference in Germany to date. The Advisory Board for Dance Therapy welcomes all concerns, impulses and questions relating to the field of dance therapy research and sees itself as a contact point for networking dance therapy researchers and for promoting and making dance therapy research visible.