Empowering Dance - Developing Soft Skills is a European project cofounded by Erasmus+ in the strand of good practice exchange. This good practice exchange includes an action research on five case studies assembled by five partner organisations from Italy, Germany, France, Croatia and The Netherlands. The research revolves around the question if and how the practice of contemporary dance within our own organizations and practices helps people of all ages to acquire and develop soft skills.

According to The World Economic Forum - Future of Jobs report (2016), soft skills are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication and interaction with others. Complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, intercultural skills and teamwork are regarded as the most important skills required in our contemporary society and in the workplace of the future.

Knowledge that is specific to dance is often implied or “silent” knowledge, operating in the background and rarely named (in detail) for its unique impact and potential in diverse settings. Empowering Dance - Developing Soft Skills has identified, collected and articulated the implicit skills developed through dance practice by focusing on five examples of contemporary dance practices involving a community of non-professionals.

These five best practice case studies do not provide an analysis of the whole dance sector, but focus on contemporary dance practices led by artists who are specifically interested in building relations and are experienced with working with non-professionals. The practices vary in being an ongoing activity (weekly classes), a project based activity (for a certain amount of time) and an artistic led activity that has an outcome at the end (performance). All dance practices are mainly task and/or improvisation based.
The staff of the five European dance houses, a research expert from Bassano del Grappa, seven dance practitioners with their diverse practices, including focus groups of participants from their local communities, are involved in the project.

In all five case studies, evidence is found that these specific contemporary dance practices indeed support the participants to develop personal and interpersonal skills and that continuous contemporary dance practice helps people deal with change, build resilience, gain confidence and develop healthy interpersonal relationships.

We understand how to deal with differences, is one of many quotes you will find in the Findings section and refers to inclusion. I feel more confident, now that I see everybody taking risks, I want to do it as well, refers to risk taking and risk management, and When we dance together, the power of the group appears refers to cooperation and team work.

These are a small number of quotes from participants of the case studies. You are warmly invited to dive into the journey, the analysis and findings of the project as they open up ways to broaden contemporary dance practices and find ways to transfer knowledge onto other sectors.

This project involves five partners from across Europe:
Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Bassano Del Grappa;
La Briqueterie - CDC du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine;
K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan, Hamburg;
Dansateliers, Rotterdam;
Hrvatski institut za pokret i ples, Zagreb

and will run 2018 – 2020

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project website