The lived experience of creative/therapeutic dance
Hurst, Anne Frances
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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.