Stillness in Dance/Movement Therapy: Potentiating Creativity on the Edge and in the Void

  • Jacelyn BiondoEmail author


Creativity, at times, flows freely amongst individuals. However, at other times, creativity waivers on the edge of meaning and nothingness. This manuscript explores Eastern and Western philosophies associated with void, the thin line between dialectical phenomena, and a space which opens up for creativity. These theories of creativity will be observed through a dance/movement therapy (DMT) paradigm examining the concept of stillness within movement and particularly within a DMT session. A brief review of the following phenomena will be considered: the fertile void, the dialectical edge, and potential space. Consideration will be given to the notion of stillness as a tool for creativity in DMT and supported by case vignettes.


Creativity Fertile void Dialectical phenomena Potential space Dance/movement therapy Stillness 


Conflict of interest

This author has no potential conflict of interest pertaining to this submission to American Journal of Dance Therapy.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by the author.


  1. Caldwell, C. (2004). The power of stillness, the glory of motion. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 26, 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Franken, R. E. (1998). Human motivation. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  3. Hagman, G. (2005). Aesthetic experience: Beauty, creativity, and the search for the ideal. New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  4. Harris, D. A. (2007). Pathways to embodied empathy and reconciliation after atrocity: Former boy soldiers in a dance/movement therapy group in Sierra Leone. Intervention, 5(3), 203–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Homann, K. B. (2010). Embodied concepts of neurobiology in dance/movement therapy practice. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 32, 80–99. Scholar
  6. Israelstam, K. (2007). Creativity and dialectical phenomena. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 88, 591–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lear, J. (2005). Freud. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ogden, T. H. (1992). Potential space. The matrix of the mind: Object relations and the psychoanalytic dialogue (pp. 203–232). London: Karnac.Google Scholar
  9. Ogden, T. H. (2004). On holding and containing, being and dreaming. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 85, 1349–1364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ricour, P. (1970). Freud philosophy: An essay on interpretation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Runco, M. A., & Jaeger, G. J. (2012). The standard definition of creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 24(1), 92–96. Scholar
  12. Schmidt, N. B., Richey, J. A., Zvolensky, M. J., & Maner, J. K. (2009). Exploring human freeze responses to a threat stressor. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 39(3), 292–304. Scholar
  13. Tzu, L. (1891). Tao Te Ching. In Sacred Books of the East (Vol. 39) (J. Legge, Trans.). Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  14. Van Dusen, W. (1958). Wu wei. No-mind and the fertile void in psychotherapy. In A. Molino (Ed.), The Couch and the tree (pp. 52–57). New York: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  15. Winnicott, D. W. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena: A study of the first not-me possession. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34, 89–97.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts TherapiesDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations