Conceptualizing Dance Literacy: A Critical Theoretical Perspective on Dance in School


  • Sofia Jussliin Åbo Akademi University


Dance literacy, bodily learning, literacy education, emancipation, Dance Literacy Model for Schools


Research on dance literacy has advanced
in the 21st century, with researchers
arguing that emphasis on students’
dance literacy can illuminate bodily
learning in school. Nevertheless, the
concept is often left undefined, and
there seems to be no clear consensus
on what dance literacy means for
bodily learning in school contexts. This
article examines previous literature to
provide a conceptual overview of dance
literacy, and discusses dance literacy
in school through a critical theoretical
lens. Discussing and reviewing the
previous literature on dance literacy
from an emancipatory approach, the
article proposes a Dance Literacy Model
for Schools within primary and secondary
education settings that do not teach
dance as a school subject. The model
comprises three dimensions of dance
literacy: dance as an art form and form
of expression, dance combined with
other literacies, and learning through
dance in different curricular areas.
The article concludes that education
in dance literacy can contribute
to students’ literacy education by
accentuating bodily learning in and
through dance while simultaneously
highlighting and appreciating the value
of dance itself.


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Author Biography

Sofia Jussliin, Åbo Akademi University

Sofia Jusslin, M.Ed., is a doctoral student
in education, focusing on Swedish and
literature education, in the Faculty of
Education and Welfare Studies at Åbo
Akademi University in Vaasa, Finland.
Jusslin is a certified primary school
teacher and subject teacher in mother
tongue (Swedish L1) and literature.
Her research interests include creative
dance integration, literacy education
and writing pedagogy on different
educational levels. She is currently
writing her doctoral thesis on the
integration of creative dance in the
context of mother tongue and literature
in primary education.