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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Martha Graham engages the body and its dances as a path into the unconscious
by Sultanian, Maral Pushian, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013, 287; 3610765
Abstract (Summary)

How does Martha Graham conceptualize and then give expression to information delivered by Psyche through her body and the choreographic process? This is a study of the relationship of Psyche and Soma considered through examination of Graham's choreographies as expression of their union. This study seeks to participate in discourse on the process of melding the Unconscious and the body through the art of choreography. Three choreographies of Graham as text in the symbolic form--offered through the aesthetic movement phraseology presented by the choreographer--are introduced and interpreted, opening doors that invite discourse upon the subject. Hermeneutics--a methodological approach in which interpretation of text is used to gather insight into the meaning of the text--is utilized to foster engagement in Graham's choreographies. To explore meaningful forms in dance as text, the research creates a frame through which to cultivate, interpret, and integrate information from Graham's choreography. What becomes evident is the complementarity of artistic processes and the unfolding of qualitative research practices and the interpretive activities fostered. Interpretation becomes a deep connectedness with the research material, in this instance the dance methodology, movement language and range of Graham and the manner in which she utilizes aesthetic movement as a path into the Unconscious. The choreographies Errand Into the Maze (1984), Lamentation (1930), and Light--Part 1 (2010) demonstrate how, as the dancer weaves the choreographic sequences into the performance, the Body becomes expressive of Psyche and is ultimately moved and informed by Psyche. Graham invites the onlooker to peer into the pathways leading her to thematic content and subject matter of Psyche, which she then fashions into choreography. Graham's systematic approach to setting emotion into motion on stage becomes evident. The implication of this study for Depth Psychology entails an invitation to include Soma in the study of Psyche. An exploration of Graham's choreographic repertoire reveals a profound range of self-expression, not bound merely to the spoken word. Hers--articulation and manifestation of subjective information derived from the Unconscious, performed through choreographic ventures--is a sensory-integrative and self-expressive experience.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kipnis, Aaron
Commitee: Gyurjyan, Gohar, Koehn, Allen D.
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Clinical psychology, Performing Arts
Keywords: Choreography, Empathy, Graham, Martha, Psychoanalysis, Soma, Unconsciousness
Publication Number: 3610765
ISBN: 978-1-303-70789-6
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