The effect of creative movement and contact improvisation experiences on self-awareness
The exploration of the human movement potential in dance, primarily in Dance/Movement Therapy and improvisational dance forms including Creative Movement and Contact Improvisation, was reported in the literature by proponents of these movement forms as a means of communication of thoughts and feelings, as a source of increasing sensitivity, and as a way of developing Self- Awareness. The intent of this study was to ascertain if participants in Creative Movement and Contact Improvisation perceived an effect of these movement experiences on Self- Awareness. Procedures. Over a four-year period 50 university students enrolled in a required elementary education and physical education course focusing on Creative Movement experiences were selected as participants in this study. An additional 38 students from three sections of a Dance Improvisation course formed the Contact Improvisation sample. Using a journal format, each participant recorded personal reactions to daily movement experiences and at the conclusion of the semester developed a response to the question, "What have you learned about yourself as a result of participation in Creative Movement or Contact Improvisation experiences?" Data analysis took the form of qualitative cataloging and categorization of these self-reports in terms of the kind and frequency of responses to specific movement experiences and to each individual's final summation. These responses were coded as indicators of Self-Awareness, as one of the specific dimensions of Self-Awareness (physical, perceptual, cognitive, em tional and/or social awareness), or to an open category. Other. Results. Each experience was reported with varying emphasis among the dimensions of awareness. Participants in Creative Movement reported awareness primarily in emotional and then in physical terms. Contact Improvisation participants also reported the experiences with emphasis on emotional and then physical awareness. The personal summaries in Contact Improvisation, however, were reported with primary attention to social, emotional, and then physical awareness. From the final summaries in both movement forms participants generated responses with necessitated the formation of new categories. Ten profiles were developed to provide a sense of singular continuity and personal "flavor" to the totality of these experiences and highlighted the individual within the study. These profiles emphasized differences rather than similarities among individuals. The results of this study provided an indication that Creative Movement and Contact Improvisation experiences do effect Self-Awareness. These effects vary among experiences and individuals and suggest implications for Education, Dance, Therapy and Qualitative Research.