The Power of Dance: Teaching International Relations Through Contact Improvisation

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In recent years, growing concern in international relations to offer a more inclusive and active learning experience has led to the increased use of practical exercises, visual teaching materials like movies and fictional television, as well as social media and e-learning tools. Despite noteworthy achievements in bridging the everyday lives of international relations students, these teaching contributions have yet to explore its potential more comprehensively. Students who prefer to learn through practical exercises still struggle to access the more abstract and theoretical topics of international relations, and the role of emotions for active learning remains underdeveloped. To provide a more inclusive international relations teaching that considers the requirements of all types of learners, to encourage students to rethink what is taken for granted in the discipline by exploring their emotions, and to promote discussions about issues that otherwise might have remained silenced, this article suggests that the introduction of a dance workshop into international relations curricula is beneficial for the learning experience of students. Modern, egalitarian dances like contact improvisation can be used to teach world politics in a different way, as students not only learn about its topics, but also perform them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Studies Perspectives
Issue number1
Early online date20 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in International Studies Perspectives following peer review. The version of record Roesch, F 2017, 'The Power of Dance: Teaching International Relations Through Contact Improvisation' International Studies Perspectives, pp. (in press). DOI: 10.1093/isp/ekx002 is available online at: DOI: 10.1093/isp/ekx002


  • active learning
  • dance
  • kinesthetic learning


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