A Dance Trapped in a Diseased Body
by Susannah McMahon

Tags: multimedia - film - under_the_skin -


Disease has a huge impact on many parts of an individual's life and I have chosen to express some of these issues through dance. In many ways using dance is a fairly ironic way of portraying a patient as physically it is often one of the last things they would do. However, having been made aware of many of these different emotions I learnt that the majority of disease-associated restrictions are not physical but mental, and I also thought what better way to show the frailty of the human body than by the human body itself.

I split the dance up into six sections; the last three sections are based on a repeat of the first half but at a more progressed stage of the illness. These sections differ based on the divisions in the music and the change in style of movement. Firstly I use free and flowing movement to represent a life free of disease. This is then followed by a contrasting floor motif showing the initial hit of the restrictions of a disease. The low level, slow movement of this motif imitates her feelings of helplessness and loss of independence.

Disease not only has physical impact on life, but also a psychological one. Anger at one's own body for failing them can lead to depression. Individuals feel separated from others and trapped by the disease that stops them from being 'normal'.

In order to show this through dance I restricted the movement to a very small area showing the sense of the patient being trapped inside her room and inside her body. The angular, isolated arm movements show how the body is restricted, the larger direct movements show anger and desperation and reaching movement shows the attempts to escape back to the life she once knew.

Susannah McMahon

G.P. Attachment