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1.d. Interactivity and social media 

Media advances have changed the ways in which dancers interact, communicate, teach and learn. Technology has helped transform the economy and forever changed our way of life. The growth of telecommunication, video sharing sites, and social media have exponentially increased the number of people interested in dance and dance education. Dance educators are conducting live webcasts of classroom activities and concerts or utilizing Twitter to promote, advocate, and communicate, thus expanding their viewership and increasing knowledge of dance. Social media’s immediate interactivity is similar to the improvisatory and ephemeral nature of dance.  Media resources link scholars to practitioners and professionals to children in a dynamic web of ideas. Social media applications such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, selfies, microblogs, and digital videos are ways we now connect, experience, and “live” in the world. With increasingly easy access to the internet and progressively more powerful “smart” devices in the hands of students and teachers alike, technology presents new ways for students to think about their learning, express their ideas, and problem solve. 


My research concentrates on finding better ways to connect, engage, inform, and empower students. When used appropriately, technology serves as a way to grant access to significant resources to expand world-view and to shape community. When used inappropriately, technology restricts creativity in favor of imitation and disembodied passive experiences (Parrish, 2007). Dance teachers and artists are recognizing the digital explosion through increased connectivity in all aspects of the profession, art making, instruction and performance (Parrish, 2007).  Dance scholars, however, are just beginning to understand the complex implications of technology use in dance education. There are different schools of thought as to the benefits of handheld devices, social media, online instruction, and interactive technology in the teaching and learning of dance. Some educators feel there is no place for technology in the dance studio, while others feel that technological tools should be embraced and brought into the dance classroom. Because a major direction of my research examines the cognition fostered in the union of technology and dance, I am examining applications and strategies for assessment, self-analysis, and video feedback in my training of pre-service and professional teachers. (Parrish, 2016; Parrish, 2017).

Dancers Connect Interactive (DCI)

Imagine parents moving the coffee table to create living room dance studios that encourage both playful, creative problem solving and togetherness through dance. Guided by a distance dance teacher, these families solve movement challenges such as traveling around their home using three different pathways or creating a “wiggle it” dance with their loved ones. This initiative, led by UNCG faculty Mila Parrish and supported by undergraduate researchers Magalli Morana and Yahira Robinson, aims to examine how social media can be used to teach dance and how such applications can be used to create community, and support family collaboration through movement.

Social media has transformed the way we think, the way we interact, and the way we learn. Instagram and Facebook have over 2.1 billion monthly users globally. Statista reports that as of January 2019, Instagram had one billion monthly users, and Facebook had more than double that amount. Social media capitalizes on the enormous potential created by connecting communities and linking individuals with shared interests and expertise. The wide range of benefits in education include improvement of communication and motivation (Eyrich, et al.,2008; Alt, D. 2015); more independent learning and heightened responsibility in students regarding their education and community (Parrish, 2008).

Partnering with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNCG), this newly proposed initiative, Dancers Connect Interactive (DCI) is a natural extension of the university’s longstanding community dance program, Dancers Connect (DC), and examines how instruction distributed via social media informs participants’ engagement in dance experiences and in DCI teachers’ instructional practice. DCI aims to assess and address the following questions:

(a) What are the advantages and limitations of using social media-distributed dance

instruction? (b) How will dance activities such as movement challenges, improvisation, and dance sharing be

supported and challenged in the social media environment? (c) How will the university dance students’ perceptions of teaching, collaboration, and

community evolve in the process?

The research team will develop and implement 16 short age-based dance activities to be distributed by DCI among the families of the more than 80 students participating in the program per semester. We are interested in how we can support interest in dance beyond performance preparation and encourage families to dance together. As described above, participating families will receive a short movement challenges through social media, complete the challenge, and then post solution to DC social media.

DCI is the extension of previous research and extends scholarly research in the application of distributed technologies for K-12 students and teachers. Mila Parrish’s publications have established that interactive distributed instruction can support creative teaching and participation in dance (Parrish, 2006). Parrish’s research into the pedagogy of play (Parrish, 2018) and the use of distributed instruction to reach students in rural communities revealed the potential of such applications to increase student-teacher connections, heighten access to resources, and reduce any sense of isolation (Parrish, 2008). Additionally, Parrish’s research considers the distributed lessons’ effectiveness as a practicum opportunity for pre-service dance students for content skills assessment, collaborative problem solving, reflective practice, and dance making (Parrish, 2008; Parrish, 2014).


List of Research Publications

Parrish, M. (2017). Flipped Assessment in the Choreographic Process.

Dance and the Child International Newsletter, Winter 2017 (December, 10, 2017).

List of Research Presentations

Cultivating Champions: develop leadership skills with technology            

Session lead Dr. Mila Parrish with Jen Florey and Amy Bramlette                                

NDEO Conference: Connections, Knowledge, and Leadership:

A new Era in Dance Education.  San Diego, Ca. Adjudicated. (November, 2018).

Advocating with our thumbs: BYOD to the dance class

DaCi and the Child International Panpapanpalya conference

Adelaide, Australia. Adjudicated. (July, 2018).

Keynote Address      

Topic: Flipped dance class technology and assessment

Keynote presentation at the Professional Teachers Conference in Provo Utah. (June, 2017).

Flipped dance class: Using handheld dance technology

Dance and the Child International Open Space conference  

Provo, Utah. Adjudicated. (July, 2017).

Advocating with our thumbs: BYOD to the dance class

Presenters: Dr. Mila Parrish and Amy Lang Crow

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education:

Speaking with Our Feet: Advocating, Analyzing, and Advancing Dance Education.

Arlington, VA. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2016)

Smartphones in the studio: Flipped assessment in the choreographic process:

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Co-Presenters Emily Enloe, Cathie Kasch, Amy Lang Crowe.      

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education:

Engaging in the Artistic Processes:  Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting.

Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2015)

Reaching Synthesis: Artistry and Assessment with Technology Apps

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Co- Presenters Emily Enloe and Erica Seninsky.

National Dance Education Conference. Focus on Dance Education:

Engaging in the Artistic Processes:  Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting.

Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (Oct, 2015)

Processes: Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting.

Session lead: Dr. Mila Parrish with Cathie Kasch, and UNCG Graduate Students

Jennifer Cheek and Amy Lang.

NDEO Conference. Focus on Dance Education: Engaging in the Artistic Processes:

Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting. Phoenix AZ. Adjudicated. (October, 2015).

Technology and teacher training.                                                                          

Dance and the Child International Conference: Cultures flex Unearthing Expressions

of the Dancing Child. Kingston, Jamaica. Adjudicated. (August, 2009).

Teaching dance with technology: a hands-on workshop                                   

Presenters: Dr. Mila Parrish and Cathie Kasch  

National Dance Education Conference– Take A Bite of the Apple-

Exploring Resources to Promote Best Practices.

New York, New York. Adjudicated. (June, 2009).

Integrating technology in dance instruction.                                                          

The Dance Research Society of Taiwan Annual Conference: 

A New Epoch of Dance Education. Taipei, Taiwan. Adjudicated. (December, 2008).

Technology in the dance education class.                                                         

International Dance and Technology Conference,

Tempe, Arizona. Adjudicated. (February, 1999).                                                                                                                     

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