Creative -Therapeutic process of creating «Aire» 

I just decided I am going to share some of my findings and papers I do for my class of Dance Movement Therapy.
It may be intimate, yes, but if something needs our field is people writing. Writing our experiences. Sharing.

So here it is.

My journey through creativity and dance to create «Aire».


– Life-line: Draw your life chronology and choose an important event.
– Personal Object:  Choose an object that is relevant for you. How much information gives you?
– Body Part: Choose a body part. Interesting to read also Body part metaphors.

Explore in movement each of the ingredients.
One by one in different days.
Tools for the movement:
– Repetition: Experience how it feels, how much space it needs, emotions that appear…
– Develop: Change one thing (speed, rhythm, space, order…)
– Swicth: Do exactly the opposite movement.
– Shift: Focus in the transitions and connections

Mix, shake and present!

After the movement presentation  I explained my process supported by literature. Here it is, my little baby:


schema of the solo

1. The “Trechter” process
My creative process was a “wholistic” approach to the different creative experiences I had in class. As in a big trechter I put all the reflections and body experiences, I mixed them up and connected the different ingredients to each other, and gradually distill them in what we called solo.

Personally, one of the most important characteristics of my process was that the movements appeared BEFORE the understanding. The cognitive and conscious understanding appeared retrospectively, and I constantly oscillated between the right and the left brain activity, “as if the raw physical expression of emotion during incubation resonated with the sense making of illumination” (Meekumks 2002)

The connections to my personal themes, the connections between the movements and the object/part of the body/ life event, emerged, popped out as illuminations, as “Aha” moments in the middle of the dance or painting. They were “subtle and cumulative, only perceived with hidsight.” (Meekums 2002)

I lived exactly the “let it happen attitude as contrasted to doing it. The ego learned slowly and attitude toward what
wants moving. Movement, to be experienced has to be found in the body, not put n like a dress or a coat”
(Whitehouse 1963, p 4)

So in short the phases of my creative process were the following:

· Previous Evaluation & Preparation

The day in class for preparing, the 17th of November, I started my exercise by thinking rationally, evaluating the previous class experiences, “embodying the insights gained in the previous stages” (Meekums 2002 p21)
and tried to find connections between the body part, the object and the event. I wrote and did schemes, totally driven y the left brain way of thinking. Afterwards I did a drawing where the three ingredients were translated into a body part: Life event = Inguinal Canal / Object = Neck / Diafragm.

· Failure & Coffee dregs & Raw Material
Afterwards I tried to move. But I could not. I was simply laying on the floor and my body wanted to fall sleep and my mind was still in the “thinking” mode. Hopefully I received a phone call and I left to the bathroom
here I refresh myself with water. I came back to the studio and began walking, moving around the space with no particular objective. My body needed to warm up, the attention needed to spread all over the cells in the body to allow them to speak. And they spoke. I felt as if the coffee dregs (words, information and reflections) needed to be posed down in the bottom and depth part of my mind. I jump totally into the incubation process.

After some vacillations and different movement attemps I stick to the “drowing and saving myself” movement with my hands grabbing the hair. Using the “repetition” creative tool, I explored the different efforts of time and weight in the phrase and decided that Suddenness and strong where the ones that most resonated with my inner feeling. I realise afterwards that this movement was connected to the diaphragm, bending my body exactly in that point and I found a correlation to my feelings as“conflicts associated with an inability to process and assimilate impressions (…) and our ability to eliminate” are placed in the abdominal area (Halprin 2002 p.162)

Besides, I was also bending the neck and throat, which are directly related to the ability to communicate “acting as a conductor of our inner impulses, thought and feelings to the outer environment and to other people” (Halprin 2002 p.152). Moreover the bending and the drowing expressed the extreme disconnection I felt once between my mind and my heart. This specific movement was the base, the raw ingredient, where the solo was build up. That day I felt
tremendously satisfied for having been able to move and for the innate creating ability of humans.

2. Cathartic boxing
A kick boxing glove randomly appeared at home, transported me to a dramatic and intense dance the next day of the class. Through approximately forty minutes I moved my hands and literally danced with the glove, while tears and clear images and memories , “demons of past and present” (Halprin 2002 p.21) , filled up my mind. It was definitely part of my incubation “essentially a here-and-now experience” (Meekums 2002 p.18), where I “inmerse myself in the experience of the moment, giving myself over to sensation, feeling or thought” (Halprin 2002 p.18).

The glove became a metaphor, a personification indeed and “it implied a merging between symbol and the object symbolized”(Meekums 2002 ), which provided me with the possibility to act and express with distance from the real subject.

schema of the solo2
The reflection that followed this cathartic experience, helped me clarifying better the story”. In addition I incorporate a forth body part in my dance. The hands.The hands,which “can express rage through hitting and punching” (and drowning in my case), and have the ability to “destroy and rebuild (“drown and save” in my case), to hold on and let go” (Halprin 2002, p.160)

After some days I saw clearly the structure I wanted to give to my solo. And I draw it. Again the same order: first action (this case paintng) and then understanding.

3. Aire
«When we bring sound into our movement, we are giving voice to our feelings and stories.» (Halprin 2002)
I wanted to put words in the solo from the very beginning and many words came to my mind. Nevertheless neither of those rationally selected words was fitting in the dance phrase, it was too forced and I was not feeling myself while saying them.

Only the day of the presentation, while rehearsing and deciding the last details the word Aire (air in English),
emerged naturally from my dance. The presentation was a total satisfaction for me. I found myself able to really experience the moment, even deeper than alone, as I was communicating part of my inner world to my fellows. It was rewarding.

4. Conclusion and deliberations
One of my worries and doubts through the journey of creation, was the overlapping between therapeutic/creative/ artistic process. Was I focusing only in healing something inside of me? Was it possible to focus in the aesthetics of the artistic piece also? I think about it and shared my impressions with my mates and I finally found a good answer in Daria’s book:

“The framework through which we practice this work must serve the purpose of strengthening what we call the lifeart bridge, that being the metaphoric relationships between our art making and our life circumstances. With framework and structure, inmersion in the arts becomes a therapeutic and educational experience in which art is transformational and healing”. (Halprin 2002 p. 20)

So the artistic process itself can be also therapeutic, and this was precisely what I experienced all along this module. I would like to conclude by adding that I still have iluminations, appearing like little sparks, echos, that connect present and past behaviours or thoughts with the solo, and the other way around.

Still learning from the echoing