In 2003, we, Philippe Chéhère and Julie Salgues, pioneered an artistic experience of contemporary dance workshops called Huntington and Dance. The workshops were created in collaboration with individuals affected directly or indirectly by Huntington’s disease. Our artistic practice takes place at the hospital Salpêtrière, at dance studios, or at the request of the participants, in the privacy of their homes. Since 2015, the National Reference Centre for Huntington’s disease – H. Mondor has supported also our artistic research, which allowed our practice to receive the “Culture et Santé” sponsorship by the French Ministry of Culture and of Health.
Methods/approach The workshops provide a space for relaxation, a space in which to develop one’s consciousness.
Through creative exercises, we create a space to experiment different ways to move our body; our approach uses the imaginary, the poetic, the inventive and explores multiple sensory modalities.
Most importantly however, our approach is artistic and not only therapeutic. In the past 13 years, the experience of workshops have revealed to what extent the practice of contemporary dance can stimulate new ways of relating to oneself and relating to others. We observe how the body posture can be modulated by means of our dance expertise and how in modifying body tonus we change our empathic stance, even the unvoluntary movements. This experience developed through time, allows artists, in quest of a practical, theoretical and creative understanding, to analyse and to witness what Huntington’s disease does to dance, and what our dance does to the illness.
Outcome We are currently undertaking a protocol of scientific research (2012–2016), in collaboration with doctors in order to evaluate the influence of the practice of dance for patients. All these experiences have been captured Eloge of movement, documentary by David Gil Since 2015, some museums have supported our artistic research workshops. For the institutions and dancers, it is a way to integrate patients and to be removed from their isolation. As of today, we have gathered an enormous amount of evidence of the positive and supportive effect of the “HD” project on patients, their relatives and their caregivers.
Acknowledgement Support by doctors: A. Durr, M. Gargiulo; Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere, ICM la Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France A.C Bachoud-Lévi, K.Youssov; Centre National de Référence pour la Maladie de Huntington, CHU Henri Mondor, Créteil, France
- SUPPORT QUALITY OF LIFE
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