Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg


This thesis explores the mental health needs of professional ballet dancers and suggests how expressive arts therapies can be used to address issues surrounding themes of body image, injury and pain, and identity. A review of the research on ballet culture examines both the advantages and disadvantages of ballet for a dancer's overall health. By acknowledging both the negative and positive qualities of ballet, counselors may develop a deeper awareness and empathy for a population that severely overworks their body and mind. An autoethnographic approach was used to allow for personal ballet practices to influence and stimulate academic inquiry while also providing the reader with vivid examples of dancers’ lived experiences. Three expressive arts interventions were conducted using intermodal transfers to focus on each theme addressed. Findings concluded that involving professional ballet dancers in expressive arts therapy could tend to their wounds while simultaneously nurturing their passion. The intent of this thesis is to advocate for ballet dancers and provide an avenue for healing and restoration.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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