Identity and Confidence

This week, we’re sharing a wonderful article exploring the intersection of dance, cultural and racial awareness, and self-esteem. The authors beautifully weave together results of a study on kindergarteners exposed to a year of diverse cultural dance experiences with anecdotes of their individual responses and learning connections. Find the article here!

“Dance is common to all humankind, regardless of culture. Thus, the marriage of dance and cultural teaching is natural, especially for young children, who learn best through participation, movement, and constructive practices.”

The children identified with the dancers they watched and asked important questions. Organically, they offered researchers opportunities to unpack and contribute positively to their developing understanding of race and self-awareness.  

At the same time that they learned about traditional West African and Native American dances, the students received lessons in body awareness and creative expression before learning dance steps. The children grew more confident and retained new information more easily and accurately.These developments were prominent for those considered “academically at-risk”.

“When dance is integrated into the curriculum, particularly when learning about other cultures, childrenbenefit in many ways: body awareness and control, personal confidence and esteem, and cultural understandingand respect.”

We loved that this case study so beautifully and sensitively investigated cultural identity and awareness through the lens of dance – and with amazing results! Do you have any stories of how new cultural experiences have impacted your child?


Lutz, Tamara; Kuhlman, Wilma D. (Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol.28, No.1, 2000). Learning About Culture Through Dance in Kindergarten Classrooms