Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


Dance has been a part of the global culture for centuries. Sacred dance traditions, although artistic in nature, have been used as a means to sustain and mend civilizations. Members of the African diaspora have had to practice in these cultural practices in secret or not practice at all due to prejudicial laws and codes. Somehow, these traditions are remembered and performed on members of the African diaspora in urban cities across the globe. Over the years, these African healing dance traditions have taken on new form and language through the emergence of new psychotherapeutic disciplines such as creative arts therapy. Dance/movement therapy is a body-based therapy that seeks to integrate all components of our beings. The objective is to use the body to actualize the unconscious and then regain synchronicity using the body. Dance/movement therapy substantiates the continuous reciprocal relationship of the mind and body, and increases the awareness of the body’s senses. It is a young field, that is still growing, but is grounded in ancient healing customs. This research focuses on the connections between dance/movement therapy and ancient healing practices found within the African diaspora. The focus of this thesis is to highlight the technical similarities in both practices. This thesis also discusses the cultural considerations of merging Western and Eastern ideals, adopting major European attitudes about African people and the impact on people of color in therapeutic relationship.