Based on my personal experience, diaphragm training has become an important part of my dance training. In 2010 and 2011 I had to undergo surgery following diaphragm hernias. This prompted me to choose the diaphragm as subject of an academic paper I wrote as part of my diploma in Dance Therapy as Applied Dance Psychology at the University of Munster-Westphalia, Germany. I examined the significance of the diaphragm and developed a model to describe its sphere of influence. (Thesis "A Critical examination of the significance of the diaphragm and the development of a model to describe its sphere of influence", 2011.)
This study has shown, among other things, that in addition to performing vital functions on a physiological level, the diaphragm has a far-reaching effect on body, mind and spirit: It can be regarded as an interface between body and psyche and as a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious. A correctly functioning diaphragm is experienced not so much as a partition between the upper and lower parts of the body but as a connecting element between above and below, front and rear, left half and right half, inner and outer, and of the person themselves and the essence of their being. In this function of connecting element the diaphragm releases its potential and assumes a central role in personal development.
Movement material with emotional content
As part of the diploma DAS TanzKultur at the University of Bern, Switzerland, I investigated the emotional content in the movement material in contemporary dance. This paper was published 2005 in the German art therapy magazine Musik-, Tanz- und Kunsttherapie (publ. Hogrefe). (Thesis "Analytical consideration of emotion content of the movement material in contemporary dance at the example of the solo piece 'wer anders in mir'", 2004.)
This study has shown, among other things, that the creation of emotionally authentic movement material is possible in contemporary dance. The reason lies in the established reversibility of emotion and movement. Emotional movement is authentic when the following dynamic cycle is triggered: A movement goes beyond its pure form and – through its emotional content – guides the dancer towards the choreographed movement from their inside. The movement innervates itself.