Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Robyn Cruz

Second Advisor

Louise Michelle Vital

Third Advisor

Marisol Norris



This study explored the embodied graduate educational experiences of dance/movement therapy students who were Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Eight research participants who were between the ages of 22 to 45 years old were recruited from American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) approved programs. Participants self-identified as Black/African American and Jamaican, Black/African American, Latinx/Brazilian, Asian/Chinese, Asian/Filipino, Asian/Chinese and Taiwanese American, and Asian/Chinese and White American. A qualitative research design based in phenomenology and arts-based methods grounded in anti-oppressive research were used. Two semistructured interviews and 1 week of embodied observation and journaling were part of data collection. Themes included four embodied states and eight embodied substates. The embodied state, wounded body, spoke to harm that occurred with peers, instructors, and course materials. The second embodied state, critical body, included ideas of contemplation or action about injustices or inequities for marginalized groups. The embodied substate, intersectional body, encompassed participants’ awareness, understanding, and choices around conformity to social norms of their own intersectional identities. The final embodied state, flourishing body, were the conscious and unconscious efforts of resourcing through various interpersonal and intrapersonal supports. The findings, in combination with other research in the literature, were used to suggest seven recommendations for an embodied anti-oppressive pedagogy in dance/movement therapy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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