Kayla Johnson


Advisor: Lauren Gaul

Major: Commercial Dance

Dyson School of Arts and Sciences

Document Type



This thesis is an exploration of how a dancer’s mind can affect its physical body. Undoubtedly, there is a strong connection in every human between their mind and their body, but for an artist whose entire career depends on the ability of their body to create movement, there must be extra emphasis placed on their mental health care. Dance is just as mentally demanding as it is physically. To begin this project I collected research articles relating to injury, anxiety, self-confidence, body image and eating disorders performed on dancers. I noticed throughout my research that there was a lack of ownership on behalf of the dance community on the reality of how poor mental health can place dancers at high risk. After reviewing the literature, I then further explored the subject by conducting personal interviews with volunteers regarding their own experience on the topics included in the literature review. I recorded their stories and experiences and then took all eight interviews and condensed it into one consistent track of music. To compliment the music, I then took videos of them each executing structured, improvisational movement phrases to be shown while their voice is playing in the background. Together these video and audio components will complete a full visual to accompany and support this paper. The goal of the creative component is to provoke thought and emotion regarding the importance of mental wellbeing among dancers and the need for more awareness and attention to the topic. By the end of this thesis I intend to connect a link between the lack of mental health care provided to dancers and the many physical ailments that may result from this shortcoming.

Included in

Dance Commons