Kim, J. (1998). The effects of creative dance instruction on creative and critical thinking of 7th grade female students in Seoul, Korea. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation) New York University, NY.


This study examines the effect of creative dance instruction on seventh grade girls’ creative and critical thinking skills. Study participants consisted of treatment students who took a creative dance class and control students who took a standard dance class at a private Korean middle school. Participants took non-verbal assessments designed to measure creative and critical thinking skills before and after the eight-week class intervention. Statistical analyses showed that treatment students performed better on the creative skills posttest, but both groups were relatively similar on the critical thinking skills posttest.

Key Findings:

Creative dance students scored significantly higher than standard dance students on all four sections (fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration) of the creative skills assessment.

While the creative dance students improved their performance on the critical thinking skills assessment, their average score increases were not statistically significantly different from those of standard dance students.

Significance of the Findings:

This study’s findings have implications for dance education’s role in increasing students’ creativity skills. Participating in creative dance classes may be one way to build creativity. Additional research on creative dance’s effect on students’ creativity skills should be conducted with different ages and genders of students.


This study employed a quasi-experimental, non-equivalent comparison group design. Students were not randomly assigned to the treatment or control conditions. Instead, one seventh grade girls dance class at the Seoul, Korea middle school consisted of treatment students (n=39) while the other dance class was composed of comparison students (n=39). Treatment students were taught a creative dance curriculum developed by the researcher over an eight-week period. The standard dance program, which consisted of ballet, modern dance, and Korean traditional dance, was created by its instructor.

All study participants took the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) and Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) before and after the intervention. The TTCT assessed students’ creative thinking skills in the areas of fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. The SPM assessed students’ critical thinking skills using progressively more difficult sets of items. All tests were translated into Korean and piloted prior to the study. Trained proctors not informed of the study’s goals administered the tests and a psychologist experienced with the TTCT scored the assessments.

T-tests and analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were used to examine the quantitative assessment data. Qualitative coding was used to examine student commentary submitted at two different points during the intervention and one time after it ended. This commentary provided insight on students’ views of the intervention.

Limitations of the Research:

Students were not randomly assigned to groups so it is unknown if differences existed between the groups prior to the treatment. It is also not clear how the creative dance class differed from the traditional dance class, and since classes were taught by different instructors it is possible variations in instructional methods contributed to the findings.

Questions to Guide New Research:

Would a different creative dance class format lead to gains in critical thinking? How do instructor’s enthusiasm, teaching methods, and familiarity with creative dance affect student outcomes? Would males and other age groups respond to creative dance with similar results?