Strange encounters in times of distancing: Sustaining dialogue through integrating language and dance in primary education


  • Kaisa Korpinen University of Turku, Finland
  • Eeva Anttila University of Arts Helsinki, Finland


This article focuses on experiences of resuming contact instruction in a project that integrated language and dance in a Finnish primary school during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article aims to explore how it is possible to sustain dialogue in times of distancing. It turns these exceptional, messy conditions into an opportunity to reconfigure the practice of embodied language learning. Through performative writing, the article weaves together the experiences and observations of the first author, a dance teacher, and two school teachers, and presents their reflections of embodied pedagogical practice in a transformed school reality. The narrative focuses on events and encounters that deviated from customary classroom situations, and the challenges, difficulties, and possibilities that emerged in seeking to explore pedagogical practices that made it possible to sustain dialogue. The authors argue that dance and language integration was able to support dialogue in early language education even when touching was not possible, materials not available, and distancing changed normal practices. It engaged both pupils and teachers in exploring new ways of communicating and co-existing in strange, more-than-human relations. The authors conclude that integrating language and dance offers a pedagogical tool for sustaining dialogue in a complex and continuously changing world.

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Eeva Anttila, University of Arts Helsinki, Finland

Professor in dance pedagogy at Theatre Academy, University of Arts Helsinki, Finland



Hvordan sitere

Korpinen, K., & Anttila, E. (2022). Strange encounters in times of distancing: Sustaining dialogue through integrating language and dance in primary education. Journal for Research in Arts and Sports Education, 6(3).



Forskningsartikler: Temanummer

Emneord (Nøkkelord):

embodied language learning, early language education, dance education, embodied research, performative writing