International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 15 Number 1

February 20, 2014

Engaging Families in Dance: An Investigation of Moving Parents and Children Together

Edward C. Warburton
University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Patricia Reedy
Luna Dance Institute, USA

Nancy Ng
Luna Dance Institute, USA

Citation: Warburton, E., Reedy, P., & Ng, N. (2014). Engaging families in dance: An investigation of moving parents and children together. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 15(Number 1). Retrieved [date] from
This article describes a relationship-based dance program, Moving Parents and Children Together, and summarizes a 3-year study of teacher practice and parent-child interactions. Our work focuses on "relational engagement" in dance, which entails a person's basic motivation to connect plus a psychological investment in building interpersonal skills. We adopt an action research perspective, take a mix-methodological approach, and report on the design and use of a new measurement tool. We find evidence that using an "engagement lens" to assess behavior influences positively dance instruction and personal teaching practice. We also find general positive change in parent and child average engagement scores in two areas, activity and interest. Case studies of immigrant and multi-generational families show positive growth in, and increasing selfawareness of, interpersonal attitudes and behaviors. Taken together, participants view MPACT as a powerful vehicle for growing and nurturing relationships.

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