Beyond Frames

The Creation of a Dance Company in Health Care through the Journey of Brain Trauma

in Journeys
Author: Jenny Elliott
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This article is about my very personal pursuit of drawing down meaning and subsequently evaluating the impact of my professional contemporary dance practice within a specific trauma recovery health-care environment. By tracing a series of short dance journeys, through a hospital ward, artist retreat, hospital dance studio, and local theatre, the intimate story of my role as a PhD researcher, choreographer, and dance facilitator within a neuro-behavioral rehabilitation unit located within a psychiatric site in Belfast unfolds. Lying within the creases of these journeys are the developments of a practice performance-based methodology that coaxes a group of seven men with enduring brain injury who are residents in the neuro-behavioral rehabilitation unit and three staff who care for them to participate together in a four-week Laban-based dance training programme and performance. One of the intentions of the program is to develop a dance company for a PhD study. The article reflects on the embodied experiences of my dance practice and their impact on the generation of appropriate dance-based methodology, analysis frameworks that were subsequently used to investigate this participatory model of arts engagement within health care. The article is back-dropped against my fifteen-year dance residency in health care and the current surge in provision of arts in health-care programs.

Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing

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