Embodied Approaches to Arts and Wellbeing

05-02-2020 at 3pm to 5pm

Location: CAB 403, Zen Room, USW

Audience: Public

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12:45 – 14:00     *Introduction to Dance Movement Therapy Workshop (CAB 403, Zen Room, USW)

*Limited spaces available for the workshop, please register via https://forms.gle/ARQG2hFrUaPDucwm9 or email thania.acaron@southwales.ac.uk.


14:45 - 15:00      Welcome & Refreshments (CAB 403, Zen Room, USW)

15:00 - 15:30       Session 1: Transitions in Movement: Implications for Wellbeing, Dr Thania Acarón (USW)

15:30 - 16:15       Session 2: Aesthetic Engagement: The art of the healthy self, Guest speaker:  Simone Kleinlooh (Codarts, Rotterdam)

16:30 - 17:00       Panel: The Body ‘Problem’: Challenges & Contributions

Chair: Dr Jodie Allinson (USW)


Session 1: Transitions in Movement: Implications for Wellbeing

Dr Thania Acarón, University of South Wales

Life transitions involve a questioning of self, identity and agency. While these transitions maybe be in essence transformative, they usually involve high levels of stress, anxiety and require support. Embodied approaches consider the body as a nexus of lived experience and promote creative practices to facilitate reflexivity and dialogue with somatic information, which are valuable in processes of decision making. This interactive lecture-demonstration starts with a brief overview of dance movement psychotherapy and some of its key concepts as an example of an embodied approach to wellbeing. New research directions are then explored for creatively supporting people during challenging life transitions in the context of higher education and community engagement. 

Dr Thania Acarón is a lecturer, performer, choreographer and dance movement therapist from Puerto Rico, currently based in Wales. She obtained her PhD on the role of dance in violence prevention at the University of Aberdeen and holds a master’s degree in Dance Education from New York University. She is certified as a clinical supervisor and dance movement psychotherapist in the UK and US. Thania currently works as a lecturer in dance and physical theatre at the Drama, Dance & Performance Department at the University of South Wales. She also offers international workshops on therapeutic work with the LGBT+ community, embodied decision-making, interdisciplinary arts, violence prevention and movement for wellbeing.  www.thania.infowww.orphanedlimbs.com   


Session 2: Aesthetic Engagement: The art of the healthy self

Guest Speaker: Simone Kleinlooh, Codarts Rotterdam

Recent theoretical frameworks concern the integrative and experiential qualities and working mechanisms of the arts and its aesthetic value for health and wellbeing. Aesthetic engagement can be understood as an experiential quality that captures simultaneity sensory-expressive-relational-socio-cultural involvement that is characteristic for arts practices. It can form the base for the development of creativity and playful presence, reflexivity, decision making, self-regulation and performativity (Samaritter 2018). 

Dance Movement Psychotherapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being. This session will outline specific dance/movement-based activities that have been developed with the therapeutic objective of a healthier sense of self and increasing interpersonal functioning. The interventions concern factors of change that are considered essential across all arts therapies, such as: pleasure and play; beauty and authenticity; non-verbal meaning making; enactive transitional support and creation (Koch 2017). These activities will be presented based on the embodied enactive point of view that integration and self-actualisation increase as we are moved by movement.

Simone Kleinlooh, PhD candidate; BC-DMT and a senior registered dance movement therapist and supervisor from the Netherlands. After a career as a dancer, dance teacher and having worked over 15 years in clinical settings with adolescents and adults she now works at the Master of Arts Therapies – Dance Therapy Department, University of the Arts in Rotterdam as the program coordinator and as a lecturer. She is a guest lecturer DMT at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences; member of KenVak, Dutch Research Center for the Arts Therapies and offers DMT and nonverbal communication and creativity trainings in China and many others countries. In private practice she offers dance therapy, coaching and supervision to clients and facilitators. http://www.kleinlooh-danstherapie.nl/

Panel Discussion: The Body ‘Problem’: Challenges & Contributions

Chair: Dr Jodie Allinson, University of South Wales

Open panel discussing some of the contributions and challenges the body and embodied practices offers to our current understanding of health and wellbeing.