Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Julia Britt, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Matthew Basham, Ph.D.


Dance is a language with a variety of structures communicating unique messages using the elements of dance and the products are lived experiences. Using the phenomenological theories of Husserl, the connections to dance of Sheets-Johnstone, and the cognitive studies of Piaget, the purpose of this study was to examine the reflective process as a participant, performer, and audience member within the elementary school dance class. The opinions and ideas of elementary students are not represented within current research and administrators do not consider the students’ voices when developing dance education programming. This phenomenological study describes the assimilation of the elements of dance after experiencing class as well as the cognitive, kinesthetic, and creative reflections of the dance classes in the words and artwork of the participants. All 20 participants are students at a public elementary school in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. The participants experienced dance classes, some completed video recorded interviews, and all created artwork. Through selective coding, the results indicated that elementary students have fun learning and imagining in the dance class environment; further results described happiness and relaxation with the dance class experience. These results will hopefully inspire administrators and policy makers to consider more dance education programming throughout the United States to meet the cognitive, kinesthetic, and creative needs of the elementary school students.