Best Practices Utilizing Dance as a Tool to Facilitate Peacebuilding

I'm sharing below some recent best practices identified amongst dance and movement arts professionals from recently conducted research consisting of interviews, panel discussions and secondary sources.

Best Practices and Other Considerations for Utilizing Dance as a Tool in Peace and Conflict Processes: Two Models

Below were the common models in which the takeaways were identified. This is not to say that these recommendations are mutually exclusive to one model or the other, in fact many are quite interchangeable, and in some definitions of Peacebuilding, the peacemaking and conflict resolution or conflict transformation model is considered a subset of the larger peacebuilding umbrella.

Peacebuilding: Has a primary focus on developing and supporting individual needs which extend to the larger community. Generally therapeutic in nature without a specific goal of addressing a particular conflict or providing conflict resolution in a direct manner. Generally done in an ongoing program, beneficial to all communities with the potential for or where there has been violence. Dance is often integrated with other performing art forms such as theater and visual arts and can be done alone or in conjunction with a targeted dance therapy program or a more traditional form of psychosocial support. Often in this primarily therapeutic or educational model, peacebuilding is not necessarily the primary or only goal.

Peacemaking & Conflict Resolution: Based on the principles of neuroscience and anthropology, practitioners use dance and movement often in conjunction with other multiple-disciplinary art forms as a way to ensure awareness and use of the kinetic physical and emotional responses as part of the conflict resolution and transformation process. Used in a conflict resolution or transformative conflict process, movement-based/dance activities are utilized explicitly as an aid in the mediation of conflict.

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