Research Topic

Dance and Aging

About this Research Topic

The World Health Organization estimates that 20% of world’s population will be over 60 years old in 2050. Consequently, the quality of life of the aging population has become an increasing concern. One essential aspect for positive aging is physical activity. The current research has shown that moderate physical activity levels that combine greater levels of physical, mental, and social demands are the most advantageous for enhancing older people’s physical performance. Yet the majority of older people, particularly women, do not meet the recommended amount of daily physical activity to sustain wellbeing. As a multitask activity with a strong social component, dance can have the capacity to attract both mature women and men to physical activity. In addition to improving both cognitive and sensorimotor performance, dance incorporates interesting and enjoyable ways to improve mental, social, and emotional well-being. Dance, thus, has the potential to enrich every area of life, contributing to health and better function of mature persons. Currently, many studies examining the health benefits of dance have focused on measuring isolated variables such as balance, motivation, memory, or self-expression. While providing instructive results, these studies can make only limited conclusions regarding the promise of dance to sustain positive aging. More research that empirically demonstrates the effects on the multitude functions of dance on the quality of life as well as lived experiences of wellbeing by older adults is needed.

While scientific evidence demonstrates dance as benefitting the health and well-being of older people, it can also isolate specific physical and emotional benefits out of their social context. While health outcomes are important, it is also crucial to consider how the aging body (and mind), when socially constructed as necessarily in decline, can be considered only as a burden to society. Therefore, it is essential to highlight how aesthetic, cultural, and social meanings enhance mature dancers’ life.

The goal of this Research Topic is to gather research that addresses, holistically, the multiple functions of dance on the quality of life of older people and/or, critically, the interrelated connections of physical, psychological, aesthetic, cultural, and social meanings of dancing for its participants. We are interested in studies that examine the multifaceted meanings and functions of different forms of dance and aging in the contemporary society. We particularly encourage theoretically and methodologically innovative approaches to dance and aging.

We welcome articles that deal with, but are not limited to, the following themes:

• Theoretical and/or methodological innovations to capture the physical, psychological, aesthetic, cultural, and social functions and meanings of dance and aging
• Interventions of specific dance forms and aging such as, but not limited to, ballet, ballroom dance, contemporary dance, cultural dance, dance exercise, folk dance, indigenous dance, line dance, or social dance
• Innovative and/or mixed method research on dance and aging
• Research combining physical, psychological, and social variables into their projects on dance and aging
• Aging, body image, and the ideal dancing body
• Lived experiences and embodiment of older dancers
• Dance therapy and mindfulness for older dancers with specific conditions
• Dance instruction for aging dancers
• History of dance and age
• Management, organization, and delivery of dance programs for older dancers
• Dance and ageism
• Dance performance and performativity by mature dancers
• Dance, aging, and theatre arts
• Dance retirement
• Cultural meanings and contexts of mature dancers
• Intersectionality, aging, and dance
• Alternative research representations on dance and aging


Keywords: aging, the body, culture, dance, experience


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The World Health Organization estimates that 20% of world’s population will be over 60 years old in 2050. Consequently, the quality of life of the aging population has become an increasing concern. One essential aspect for positive aging is physical activity. The current research has shown that moderate physical activity levels that combine greater levels of physical, mental, and social demands are the most advantageous for enhancing older people’s physical performance. Yet the majority of older people, particularly women, do not meet the recommended amount of daily physical activity to sustain wellbeing. As a multitask activity with a strong social component, dance can have the capacity to attract both mature women and men to physical activity. In addition to improving both cognitive and sensorimotor performance, dance incorporates interesting and enjoyable ways to improve mental, social, and emotional well-being. Dance, thus, has the potential to enrich every area of life, contributing to health and better function of mature persons. Currently, many studies examining the health benefits of dance have focused on measuring isolated variables such as balance, motivation, memory, or self-expression. While providing instructive results, these studies can make only limited conclusions regarding the promise of dance to sustain positive aging. More research that empirically demonstrates the effects on the multitude functions of dance on the quality of life as well as lived experiences of wellbeing by older adults is needed.

While scientific evidence demonstrates dance as benefitting the health and well-being of older people, it can also isolate specific physical and emotional benefits out of their social context. While health outcomes are important, it is also crucial to consider how the aging body (and mind), when socially constructed as necessarily in decline, can be considered only as a burden to society. Therefore, it is essential to highlight how aesthetic, cultural, and social meanings enhance mature dancers’ life.

The goal of this Research Topic is to gather research that addresses, holistically, the multiple functions of dance on the quality of life of older people and/or, critically, the interrelated connections of physical, psychological, aesthetic, cultural, and social meanings of dancing for its participants. We are interested in studies that examine the multifaceted meanings and functions of different forms of dance and aging in the contemporary society. We particularly encourage theoretically and methodologically innovative approaches to dance and aging.

We welcome articles that deal with, but are not limited to, the following themes:

• Theoretical and/or methodological innovations to capture the physical, psychological, aesthetic, cultural, and social functions and meanings of dance and aging
• Interventions of specific dance forms and aging such as, but not limited to, ballet, ballroom dance, contemporary dance, cultural dance, dance exercise, folk dance, indigenous dance, line dance, or social dance
• Innovative and/or mixed method research on dance and aging
• Research combining physical, psychological, and social variables into their projects on dance and aging
• Aging, body image, and the ideal dancing body
• Lived experiences and embodiment of older dancers
• Dance therapy and mindfulness for older dancers with specific conditions
• Dance instruction for aging dancers
• History of dance and age
• Management, organization, and delivery of dance programs for older dancers
• Dance and ageism
• Dance performance and performativity by mature dancers
• Dance, aging, and theatre arts
• Dance retirement
• Cultural meanings and contexts of mature dancers
• Intersectionality, aging, and dance
• Alternative research representations on dance and aging


Keywords: aging, the body, culture, dance, experience


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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