Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating dances from dreams: Embodying the unconscious through choreography
by Schul, Jeanne Mar, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2011, 300; 3531919
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on creating dances from dreams. The researcher's personal dreams are the central focus of the choreography that her college dance company performed as a main stage dance production.

Hermeneutical phenomenology was the method used to address the primary research question: what is the lived experience of embodying dream images in choreography? The answer to this inquiry came through the interplay of the dreams and field notes of the researcher/choreographer, the researcher's facilitation of interviews with the dancers, and the thought letters of performers and audience members. The second question—how this process might contribute to our understanding of dreams as a creative resource—explored the creative potential of pursuing the central image of a dream through dance and, thereby, embodying the unconscious through choreography.

This research determined that there is a relationship between dreams and dance. The image that defined the dream drove the dance, which made a powerful impression on all involved, addressing the third inquiry: What does enhancing the relationship with the unconscious by embodying dream images offer the choreographer, dancers, and audience? Each of these participants resonated with the imagery derived from big dreams and voiced a personal answer to this question in the body of the dissertation. The data collected from the dancers and audience members indicated that many felt they benefited from the visceral, embodied approach to addressing that which is terrifying. By dancing archetypal images, the unspeakable became less overwhelming and the impact of the archetype was extended beyond the personal into the communal.

This research is a conversation between depth psychology and dance performance that mindfully taps the unconscious for images and discusses the process of transforming the unconscious into concert dance. The intention is to offer an intuitive guide for negotiating the terrain between the dream image and the creative process that consciously dialogues with the unconscious through dance improvisation. What is most relevant about this creative dissertation is the embodied manner in which depth psychological material is explored and communicated nonverbally to the community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson, Elizabeth Eowyn
Commitee: Fraleigh, Sondra Horton, Selig, Jennifer Leigh
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Psychology
Keywords: Choreography, Dance, Dreams, Embodiment, Nightmares, Unconscious
Publication Number: 3531919
ISBN: 9781267742926
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