Book examines the relationship between aging and dancing

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“Dancing Across the Lifespan: Negotiating Age, Place and Purpose,” published in February, is a book that discusses the relationship between aging and dancing. Author Karen Schupp, the Associate Director at the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre, talks about her book.

What is the relationship between dancing and aging?

The relationship is quite varied, which is what Schupp and her co-editors discovered while writing the book.

“As we started to think about this idea of aging, it occurred to us that we are actually aging from the moment we’re born. So our idea was to look at how our relationship to dance can change throughout the lifespan,” Schupp said.

This relationship can change a great deal depending on factors such as how interested a person is in dance and how engaged they are, according to Schupp.

“For those of us in the profession, oftentimes we go through a series of changes within our identity in relationship to dance,” Schupp said.

Various identities could include being a performer, teacher, choreographer, etc. This can build a deep process of reflection.

“We’ve also found through doing this book that ideas about what people can do at a given age in relationship to dance also changes over time. My chapter looks at what is thought to be age appropriate movement in dance competition culture. These are the events where local studios bring their students and they perform tap, jazz, hip-hop or ballet for trophies. And I grew up in that world in the ’80s and ’90s. What was thought to be age appropriate for me during my time in terms of what was thought to be good technique is very different from what dancers at the same age are expected to do now,” Schupp said.

Throughout the book, there is a large sociological aspect. There is a whole chapter on parenting and how it influences those who are dancing, and vice versa, according to Schupp.

Karen Schupp, Author

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