The meaning that undergraduate Occupational Therapy students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal attach to the Occupation of dance

Thanalutchmy Lingah, Juwaiyyira Paruk


Introduction: Occupational Engagement is an inextricable component of life and is considered essential to human survival. Doing an occupation that is positively perceived (such as dance) can lead to the experience and expression of meaning which then enhances quality of life. This study aimed to explore the meaning that undergraduate Occupational Therapy students studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal attach to dance as an occupation.

Method: The study followed an exploratory qualitative research design with purposive sampling. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were utilized to collect data which were analysed thematically.

Results: Five themes emerged: Centre stage (an exploration of factors motivating engagement); On Pointe (beneficial effects of dance); My Solo Dance Experience (the individual’s journey whilst engaging); It Takes 2 to Tango (exploring the role of relationships) & Dancing to the Beat (exploring time available for engagement). The hidden complexities of ‘meanings’ attached to the occupation of dance emerged which were experienced as subjective and multi-dimensional.

Conclusion: The study revealed that the meanings attached to dance were based on individual experiences with the occupation, others, and the environment. Engagement in the occupation of dance (doing) enhances personal growth (becoming) and becomes a part of the individual (being).

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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