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Free Content Freedom to move, freedom to stop: A somatic approach to empowerment in community dance

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This article examines the notion of empowerment through participation in dance in a community dance context. It presents the findings of an investigation that set out to search for a dance practice that has the potential to empower and transform people’s lives. A conceptual framework of empowerment is provided as a theoretical basis, which identifies ‘freedom’ and ‘self-discovery, authenticity and individuality’ as key features of an empowering dance practice. As a means to apply the conceptual framework to a practical context, an approach to dance is introduced based on the somatic principles of breath, touch and connectivity within the body and into the ground. Interview data from a participatory research project involving four participants over the course of eight dance sessions gives an insight into how participants experienced the proposed dance practice, and whether it has the potential to evoke feelings of empowerment.

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Keywords: authenticity; community dance; empowerment; freedom; somatic practice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: independent artist

Publication date: 01 January 2014

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  • Research into spirituality receives comparatively little attention in western dance practices but Dance, Movement & Spiritualities provides a platform for those practitioners and researchers who are actively and creatively working with spirituality at the centre of their practice/research. Contributions are invited from across disciplines.
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