No sugar-coating – a new ballet about psychosis

Wow, this is fascinating: I think I’m more intrigued by the process of constructing this new ballet than possibly watching it. Ludovic Ondivela observed people with psychosis in hospital and used the movement patterns including twitches and other “ugliness” (his words) to bring a sense of realism to the more usually ‘ethereal’ realm of ballet. No floaty sugar princesses here…

Cassandra – article from The Independent

Dance Movement Psychotherapists also use movement observation and analysis tools to help understand a person’s psychological or emotional state. We use Laban Movement Analysis to look at the intention behind a client’s way of moving – which can be amplified during creative dance sessions. We also use the Kestenberg Movement Profile which links patterns and rhythms of movement to developmental stages: think about the oral fixations of smoking or chewing gum? Underneath the person is seeking soothing and satisfaction from their mother to take away frustration or inner conflict. We’re alot more complex than that but it’s sometimes the little things that tell A LOT.

How about the person who pats you on the back as you hug, as a signal to let go?

They have had enough of intimacy and need to separate: it’s akin to an infant’s bite reflex that tells Mum in no uncertain terms the child has had enough.

Movement analysis is about more than body language, which tends to be static: these tools help look at a person’s whole being, including connection or disconnection between body parts and how they respond to the environment. Fascinating stuff. It certainly makes a Tube journey infinitely more interesting.

So, back to Cassandra: will she be cured, should she be cured, what constitutes being ‘cured’?

Should pharmacotherapy prevail in cases like this or could it be a ‘chemical cosh’ suppressing a person’s identity to make them ‘fit’ our view of normality. Could there be a different way to help people manage their mental health problems whilst retaining their soul?

That debate could run and run: I hope the ballet is received well too and raises discussion and awareness of its subject.

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