Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Erika Randall

Second Advisor

Theodore Stark

Third Advisor

Christopher Carruth

Abstract

This paper explores how anxiety can be translated into movement using the vehicle of dance. Through the process of unpacking a topic less discussed, I used dance as a way of attempting to help validate the feelings of anxiety sufferers while giving a new perspective to non-anxiety sufferers. This was attempted by staging a dance piece portraying what as known as a multisystem response to anxiety, a term that comes from the clinical definition of anxiety found in the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. In addition, this paper weaves in research from the findings of Matthew Reason of York St. John University and Dee Reynolds of the University of Manchester, who studied the idea of kinesthetic empathy in their multi-year project, The Watching Dance Project. It was hope that that kinesthetic empathy, the feeling as if one is “participating in the movements they observe” just from the act of viewing movement (Reason et al. 2011), would assist in creating a connection with audience members in turn promoting education about the mental inner landscape of a person experiencing anxiety. This paper unpacks how movement research and scientific research cumulated in a performance experience that was both satisfying to watch from a choreographic standpoint, as well as intriguing to experience from an emotional perspective.

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Dance Commons

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