Date of Award
MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies
Young dancers often struggle to portray emotions and connect to meaningful choreography on a deep level. From September to April of this year, I have been applying dance/movement therapy theories and techniques to a competition dance class hoping to improve each dancer’s ability to emotionally execute a piece and improve the studios scores. I have worked toward meeting the adolescent pro-social needs through restructuring a dance class and encouraging self-esteem to be built through arts-based experientials. I did this by using several methods from dance/movement therapy theorists and applying them to a dance class that meets once a week for one hour. In addition to the dance/movement therapy theories, I used Laban Movement Analysis and the Bartenieff fundamentals to improve self-awareness. The dancers in this class are Caucasian, females between the ages of 9 and 18. The dancers explored their emotional connection to this dance through drawing, journaling, body explorations and improvisations led by prompts. I learned that dance movement therapy can easily be applied to a dance class and will improve the dancer’s connection to a piece tremendously. At the studio’s first dance competition of the season, all three judges commented on the dancer’s emotions, story-telling and commitment to the message, indicating that dance/movement therapy theories and techniques can help improve the dancer’s emotional execution.
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Ryder, Melanie, "Dance/Movement Therapy for Competitive Dancers: A Community Engagement Project" (2019). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 151.
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