Title

Ad Astra per Aspera: A Somatic Journey and Performance

Date of Award

5-9-2015

Access Restriction

Campus Access only theses

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Dance

First Advisor

Kristen Smiarowski

Second Advisor

Alexx Shilling

Third Advisor

Judith Scalin

Abstract

I began my thesis in the summer 2015 with the intent to create a performance exploring spiritual embodiment, storytelling, and non-western concert dance aesthetics. From there, it experienced many changes, most notably shifting from a large group of dancers and musicians to working with only one dancer--sophomore Lauren Delisle. As we worked, the project grew into something we could not have anticipated. Using an archetypal character who transcends adversity, I set out with my partner, Lauren, to craft a narrative through movement: my role as guide through an improvisational experience and Lauren’s as mover. We engaged in a rich and healing process of discovery, using a mixture of authentic movement, meditation, Body-Mind Centering, and reflection through art, dialogue, and poetry. At one point of reflection during our process, we realized that what we had done all semester had never been about choreography or performance, but instead was about deeply listening to the stories contained within our bodies and the healing that followed. We had intuitively and inadvertently been immersed in a practice of dance therapy. To develop the work further, we began to ask questions about how to share this intimate journey between the two of us with an audience, engaging them in becoming both witness and experiencer. What emerged was a site-specific trio between the facilitator, dancer, and audience, one that invites us all to consider the nature of performance and the courage to hear our hearts.

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