Alexandra Cunningham L&S Social Sciences
Dance as a Tool for Building Healthy Communities
Research across artistic disciplines has demonstrated that participation in the arts has a profound positive impact on the life of an individual, and on communities at large. An ecological public health model even enlists access to the arts as a core factor in shaping an individuals response to their social determinants of health. The art form of ballet, however, is working against a 400-year history of exclusionary practices and elitism that challenges the its relevancy and solvency in contemporary society. Increasingly, ballet companies are designing programming to be accessible to more diverse populations, including neurodiverse communities; however, this is an understudied field. My research aims to fill this gap in knowledge with a specific focus on dance programs designed for neurodiverse communities. The goal of my research is to create a framework of practices, interventions, and strategies that can be adopted by ballet companies to increase accessibility of the art form and contribute to broader research about dance as a tool in building healthy cities.