Author Identifiers

Daisy Sanders

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Dance) Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Renee Newman

Second Advisor

Luke Hopper


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a common but poorly understood condition that includes limited exercise tolerance. Exercise undertaken via a balanced, holistic approach in which exertion is balanced with rest is recommended in recovery from CFS. This research project investigated how a contemporary dance-­‐training environment can/cannot support recovery from CFS. This investigation is significant given that fatigue, burnout and overtraining are prevalent in dance-­‐training environments. The project drew on the fields of exercise physiology and somatic inquiry to design a purpose-­‐built program of Graded Exercise Therapy and implement it within a tertiary dance-­‐training environment. The project was undertaken as practice-­‐led research by a dancer suffering from CFS and aimed to examine the complexities of recovering from CFS specifically in relation to returning to dance peak performance. The research included participation in dance classes, recording heart rate and perceived exertion, learning somatic techniques The Feldenkrais Method and The Alexander Technique and applying somatic principles to dancing and dance teaching. The research revealed a lack of high-­‐intensity physical activity and a lack of effective rest/recovery in the dance environment studied, as well as the necessity for holistic mental/emotional management of both a CFS recovery and the demands of dance training. Somatic principles, the somatic practice of intentional rest and a somatic-­‐centered, rest-­‐focused dance improvisation methodology were shown to be valuable augmentative elements in the CFS recovery. This research contributes to the knowledge of exercise used as recovery from CFS, provides an insight into the resources and culture of one contemporary dance-­‐training environment and describes a unique personal dance practice. The implications of this study include the need for dance-­‐training environments to provide more effective high-­‐intensity physical activity, dedicated rest/recovery and holistic care for training dancers. The study suggests that somatic learning and practices, particularly a somatic practice of intentional rest, have the potential to be of significant benefit to both CFS sufferers and training dancers.

Included in

Dance Commons