Carolien Hermans

Carolien Hermans is currently a PhD student in the department of Theatre Studies at Utrecht University. She studies under the guidance of Dr. Liesbeth Wildschut and Prof. Folkert Haanstra and her research is supported by the Lectoraat for Arts Education at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

Carolien Hermans studied art history, dance and orthopedagogy. She graduated cum laude from the Orthopedagogy Department at the University of Nijmegen in 1994, was a guest student at the School for New Dance Development at the Amsterdam School for the Arts 1998-2000 and graduated from Dance Unlimited, a postgraduate study into choreography and new media at the Amsterdam School for the Arts in 2004.

During 1994-1998, Hermans was a junior teacher and researcher in the Orthopedagogy Department at the University of Nijmegen. Her research involved a quantitative analysis of clinical decision making processes in multi-disciplinary teams and was based on Montgomery’s model of decision rules and information processing strategies. Her research was under the guidance of Prof. De Bruyn. During 2004-2009, Hermans was a member of two Lectoraats at the Amsterdam School for the Arts: Art Theory and Research, and Art Practice and Development. Her practice-based research was titled: “Embodied experiences in dance: the way repetition and disappearance function in the construction of meaning.” The project aimed at rethinking the relationship between choreography, representation and subjectivity, with a strong focus on developments within the field of new dance, specifically dances that initiate a critique of representation by the acts of disappearance and repetition.

Carolien Hermans teaches regularly at the Amsterdam School of the Arts and has been an advisor to Dance at Kunstfactor since May, 2009.

PhD research
This study is exploratory, investigating learning objectives and educational dance models for children with special needs. Carolien’s research focuses on:  1) children with an autism spectrum disorder, 2) children with behavioral and developmental disorder (ADHD, pervasive developmental disorder, conduct disorder) and 3) children who are deaf or hearing impaired. The purpose of this research study is to establish a theoretical framework, providing a basis for dance education for children with special needs.

The often impaired kinaesthetic empathy in autistic children, deaf children, and children with ADHD might be ascribed to problems in reading the minds of others, often referred to as the Theory of Mind, ToM (a model developed by Baron-Cohen and others). These children encounter difficulties in imitating and mirroring the physical actions of others, due to a possible malfunctioning of the mirror neurons.

The question thus becomes whether kinaesthetic empathy in children with autism, deaf children, and children with behavioural problems, can be stimulated by dance education through the use of imitating strategies. This hypothesis will be tested in a pre-test/post-test control group design study, wherein autistic children ranging in age from 6-10 years will a) receive intensive dance training and b) be compared with a control group. The research will occur at a residential institute for autistic children.

Under construction