As empirical evidence on the extent and of prerequisites of skill development through art-based learning is limited, a two-day leadership training based on dance practice was designed, executed, and evaluated. Learning objectives and workshop design followed an understanding of leadership as an embodied leader-follower relationship. A quantitative study examined alterations in participant’s leadership skills and skill persistence in everyday working life using a pretest-posttest design. A subsequent qualitative interview study explored factors that influenced learning outcomes. Results of this mixed methods research indicate that participants achieved a significant and prolonged improvement in physical presence. In addition, the body work sensitized them for nonverbal communication shaping mutual interaction. The joint aesthetic experience alone had a learning effect that was enhanced through aesthetic reflection and repetition of exercises. The study’s explanatory power is limited to movement-based practice and affected by a sample size of only 24. However, it contributes to research by measuring positive effects of art-based learning that consisted only of qualitative data before. In addition, the findings have practical implications for training embodied leadership skills: Learning environments ought to be designed as safe spaces embedded in long-term programs with recurring aesthetic impulses.
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