The lived experience of creative/therapeutic dance

Hurst, Anne Frances
Smythe, Liz
Item type
Degree name
Master of Health Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

This phenomenological study explores the lived experience of group creative/therapeutic dance (CTD). Key concepts informing the phenomenon are outlined: the historical role of expressive arts and healing, alliance to dance/movement therapy (DMT), phenomenology, arts, creativity, and spirituality. There was a paucity of research available related to this study. A review of this research showed positive experiences of CTD activities. A purposive sample of four participants took part in guided in-depth interviews, drawing on their experiences and meaning of two forms of CTD: 5Rhythms® dance and dreambody dance. Interpretive and existential lifeworld reflection was used in a thematic analysis of the data (van Manen, 1997). Significant themes emerging were: the first time, arriving/transitioning, 'being' in body, mood, relationality/communality, time, space, creative freedom, embodied spirituality and becoming/transformation. The discussion confirms the 'play' in these interweaving themes and the therapeutic potentiality within the experience. As an evolving health focused activity, implications for practice, education and research coincide. I argue that there is potential for CTD as a therapeutic medium for understanding the self. I recommend further applied phenomenological studies to deepen understanding, evaluation and application of the therapeutic potential of CTD.

Phenomenology , Hermeneutic , Dance/movement therapy , Creativity , Embodiment , Spirituality , 5Rhythyms dance , Dreambody dance , Process orientated psychology , Arts
Publisher's version
Rights statement