In the Same Breath: The Role of Breathing Techniques in Dance

Kobayashi, Sarah
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The purpose of this thesis is to explore breathing methods that allow dancers to increase their level of performance, both in physical as well as aesthetic terms. The paper provides a brief overview of the anatomy of the respiratory system, the mechanics of breathing, and the physiological effects of breathing during exercise. The breathing methods discussed include those of two Asian forms of movement, T'ai chi and Aikido, and of the Martha Graham technique in modern dance. The study also includes ideas on breathing by Rudolph von Laban and the School for Body and Mind Centering. The paper briefly explores the use of imagery in breathing, created by Lulu Sweigard and Irene Dowd, which can help both to improve a dancer's technique and to reduce muscle tension caused by poor breathing habits. The thesis concludes with observations from the personal experience of the author in coordinating breathing with choreography in order to produce fuller and stronger movement.
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