This research investigated how somatic training techniques impact injury rates of dancers through the choreographic process of modern dance composition. In seeking to find methods of decreasing a dancer’s risk for injury, I discovered the benefits of the Pilates method exercise system which utilizes somatic principles of concentration, centering, breathing, control, precision, flowing movement, isolation and routine. I applied these somatic theories through the form of weekly Pilates method classes, choosing exercises that benefit the dancers observed and analyzed in my study. The performance component to my research included choreographing a modern dance composition. Through the process of choreographing, I observed and analyzed the dancers in my study to identify how their awareness, alignment or pain levels changed as a result of the Pilates method instruction. The dancers noted increased awareness in their body mechanics, developing new ways of moving that decreased their amounts of pain. The dancers cultivated their internal energy utilized in Pilates which was demonstrated in their execution of exercises and components of the dance composition. Pilates increases the level of awareness in dancers through somatic training, leading to a decrease in their risk for injury.


Tritt, Kim


Theatre and Dance


Dance | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Physical Therapy | Somatic Bodywork and Related Therapeutic Practices


somatic training, Pilates, modern dance, injury rate, awareness, mindfulness, choreography

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Maria C. Witt