Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


This thesis focuses on elite dancers who participate in dance competitions across the United States. The elite competition dancer’s entire world revolves around dance. There is an intense training environment, where these dancers are pushed to their limits not only physically but mentally. These elite dancers face endless pressures and expectations set by their parents, coaches, peers and self. Unrealistic goals can be set for, and by, these dancers adding onto the heightened anxiety they are already exposed to. A disconnection of mind and body occurs during training. Disconnection is especially highlighted during competition weekend, moments before performance, and when the elite dancer is performing. When this disconnection occurs, it inhibits their main communication tool while also negatively impacting their score and training. Dance/movement therapy is a psychotherapeutic use of movement which focuses on the mind body connection. Dance/movement therapy can positively impact the elite dancers whole being by introducing the conversation of the mind-body connection.