Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2024


School of Visual and Performing Arts


Theatre: Acting


Alexander, Alexander Technique, The Alexander Technique, Dance, Choreography, Trauma, Trauma-based tension, Psychophysical unity, dance trauma, dancer, dancer trauma, choreographic process, physical expression, freeing the body


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Dance | Dance Movement Therapy | Disability Studies | Mental Disorders | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Performance Studies | Psychological Phenomena and Processes | Psychology of Movement


Ballet, contemporary, and modern dancers have expressed incurring trauma during their training and professional dance experiences; in a 2020 survey, 41% of professional dancers and 30% of ballet students reported experiencing or witnessing sexually inappropriate behavior in their respective workplaces and schools (DDP). This is just one example of a potential source of trauma for dancers. The physiological effects of trauma cause physical effects, creating tension in a dancer’s body. Dance relies on physical expression, the expression of thought and feeling through movement, to connect with the audience. Trauma-based tension inhibits a dancer’s range of physical expression and connection to the audience. Therefore, the release of trauma-based tension is particularly relevant to the dance community. The goal of this research is to apply the Alexander Technique to the choreographic process, with the intent of freeing the body of trauma- based tension and exploring its effect on physical expression. This Creative Thesis will culminate in the presentation of an original choreographic piece, that explores the physical expression of the emotional release of trauma.