ABSTRACT OF THESIS
A Study on the Confluence of Resilience Skill Building and
Contact Improvisation on Collegiate Dancers
Connor B. Senning
Master of Fine Arts in Dance
University of California, Irvine 2020
Dr. Kelli Sharp, Chair
This thesis examines five resilience-building skills and their application towards contact improvisation (CI). CI draws upon a mind/body connection while two or more dancers interact spontaneously to effortlessly execute momentum-based partnering. The resilience related skills were applied during three workshops in Fall of 2019 working with ten undergraduate participants. The methodology for this study was qualitative and quantitative to include three main components: literature review, workshops and surveys. Research was conducted by reading printed and electronic texts, as well as by observing CI related documentaries, teachings and performances.
The five resilience components researched were self-awareness, self-regulation, mental agility, connection and optimism. In preparation for a professional dance career, participants were asked if the components were useful when applied through the utility of contact improvisation to enhance resiliency. The participants provided responses through surveys as well as verbal feedback to the researcher. The results reveal that resilience practice (through the medium of CI) is practical to an undergraduate community of dancers as well as effective within an undergraduate curriculum. In addition, this multimodal research has informed elements of the students integration with CI as a resilience aid while creating a foundation for myself as an educator and choreographer.