Professor of Dance Pedagogy Eeva Anttila is involved in a project that has, among other things, explored how art can support equal opportunities for learning and participation in schools.
Dance has been Eeva Anttilan the greatest joys of life. But as with almost everything, it also involves some conflicting experiences.
Such, less pleasant memories of Anttila can be found in the early years of his own dance hobby. At that time, doubts about his own skills crept into the mind of the young teenage girl. Is he making mistakes? What does he look like? Are the others better than him?
“They sometimes even became the main issues,” Anttila says.
Weaknesses were also used by others. In the 1970s, dance instruction was performance-centered and authoritarian, and students were not encouraged to be creative or self-expressive. Rather, they were incited to compete against each other.
That didn’t suit Anttila. The joy of learning disappeared.
For decades later Anttila returned to the topic in his dissertation, which dealt with dialogue in dance pedagogy.
Anttila’s argument was that good teaching is above all listening and encountering.
“Dialogue does not only mean dialogue, but above all the effort to participate in the experience of another, to turn towards the other,” Anttila explains.
“In my own exercises, reciprocity is reflected on a practical level, for example, in the formulation of guidelines in the form of proposals. I am not saying that this is being done now, but that I would suggest one. Respect for students must be earned by being fair, consistent, and appropriately resilient. If you have to raise your voice as a teacher, the game is played. ”
Teaching and learning are Anttila’s core competencies. Anttila works as a professor of dance pedagogy at the Theater Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, and his most important interests include physical learning.
Anttila has worked at the Theater Academy for more than twenty years. During that time, she has published several articles on dance pedagogy in both domestic and international publications.
Dance has turned into a science.
Still not on a personal level, Anttila points out. Dancing still means much the same things to her as it did to that eleven-year-old eagle girl who had just started her dance hobby.
“For me, the most important thing has been the experiential nature of the dance. Such a strong sense of survival. Feels whole and alive, but also recognizes his or her own boundaries. It’s not so much a dramatic psychological emotional experience. I have been interested in precisely the movement. “
In 2016 Anttila was elected Professor of the Year. In the explanatory memorandum to the award, he was hailed as a widely respected educator and advocate of communal and creative learning among the scientific and artistic community.
At the time of his election, Anttila was the only professor of dance pedagogy in the Nordic countries. In Anttila’s opinion, it says something about the appreciation of science.
“This is a marginal area. Even to the extent that I have encountered in my choice of angles kohottelua also in academia. Not a girlfriend, after all, but such an attitude that one has to be studied then. ”
And the situation is no better on the side of basic education. Resources for art education have been steadily reduced since 1970, when the primary school was established.
Anttila sees the trend as worrying.
“Experiencing and making art opens up dimensions of the world that other disciplines cannot. Aesthetic experience offers new ways of perceiving, it broadens thinking and evokes the ability to imagine, to see otherwise. A mere scientific worldview is not enough. ”
From Since 2015, Anttila has led the research group in the Arts as Public Service: Strategic Steps towards Equality project, which aimed, among other things, to find out how art can support equal opportunities for learning and participation in schools.
There has also been a debate in the arts profession in recent years on issues related to equality. Among other things, employees of the National Opera have reported experiencing bullying and sexual harassment in their workplace.
Anttila believes that times are still changing.
“That’s what I believe, but the myth of art lives on,” he says.
“I notice in the various discussions between the lines that not everyone still wants to admit that art does not sanctify means, even though it should be self-evident to everyone. Especially in education and in the context of the educational institution. Unfortunately, that is not the case. ”
■ Born in 1960 in Vaasa. Lives in Helsinki.
■ He defended his doctoral dissertation in 2003. In his dissertation, he dealt with dialogical dance pedagogy.
■ Professor of the Year in 2016.
■ Serves on the Board of the University of the Arts 2018–2021.
■ The family includes a husband and two adult children.
■ Turns 60 on Friday, November 20th.