Author Identifier

Amelie Ladyman

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Performing Arts Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Frances Barbe


This research investigates methods available to contemporary dancers to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain whilst working in a company or training environment. The research primarily uses Wall and Melzack’s Neuromatrix Theory and Lethem et al.’s Fear Avoidance Model to describe the mechanisms of chronic pain conditions and negative affectivity. The research project was an auto-ethnographic case study in dance that focussed on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Feldenkrais Method (FM) as practices that provide techniques to improve mindset and reduce pain for dancers living with chronic pain conditions. This case study was carried out in four programs that spanned over one week each. Through practice-based research, I planned and practiced a pre-class routine using a combination of FM and physiotherapy exercises and I managed my mindset throughout the day using ACT techniques. The results and reflections from the day were written up into a reflective tool that used ACT theory to uncover triggers for my pain and negative affectivity. I then used action research to modify the pre-class routine and tool where needed. The aim of this research was to examine techniques that might inform the design of an effective preparatory practice for myself that could have a positive impact on my pain and my experience. The results provided deeper knowledge and understanding about the importance of preparation and mindset in dance, especially for dancers experiencing hardship due to pain. The outcome of the project was the development of a model reflective tool that can be used by dancers managing chronic pain to gain insight into what triggers their pain and negative affectivity through targeted reflection on their experience. Understanding their triggers can help to manage a pain condition and help dancers feel more attuned to their symptoms and therefore can help improve their experience of dance.