Archive: Tanztage Berlin 2023
Luisa Saraiva
Mental Health in the Dance Community
In English

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We recommend wearing an FFP2 mask for the performance visit.

The working environment and conditions in the performing arts create a specific set of challenges towards developing professional identities, creating a sense of career and managing work-life balance. In the dance community – in which most artists work as freelancers – job insecurity has become standard. Academic research consistently shows that job instability and poor working conditions have a significant negative impact on mental health, leaving dance professionals at higher risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, there seem to be few resources available to access professional help within and specific to the dance scene, with few spaces of discussion on the immediate and long-term consequences of job-related stressors on mental health and well-being.

With this workshop, we hope to bring awareness to the importance of starting a more consistent discussion on mental health and to explore the needs of the community. We will take a physical and embodied approach to these issues and explore different tools, exercises and coping strategies for emotional and physical regulation, based on the functioning of the nervous system and physiological stress responses. We will also address collective necessities, vulnerabilities and wishes connected to the difficulties experienced in navigating the world of work and its relationship with other life contexts, with a focus on the Berlin dance scene.

Luísa Saraiva (she/her) is a choreographer and performer born in Porto, Portugal, with a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Porto and a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from the Folkwang Arts University in Essen. She was an associated researcher at the Centre for Clinical Psychology at the University of Porto between 2010-2017, studying processes of identity development and individuation in emerging adults. As a dance student she was working both for as a counselor for the International Office and as a representative in the University’s Parliament and Equal Opportunities Office. In the last years she has been advocating for mental health awareness in the dance community.