The Experience of Dancing Among Individuals with Cerebral Palsy at an Inclusive Dance Group: A Qualitative Study

Lydia Lentzari, Evdokia Misouridou, Vicky Karkou, Marianthe Paraskeva, Chrysoula Tsiou, Ourania Govina, Antonia Kalogianni, Stelios Parissopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding (ISBN)peer-review


Art practices such as dance have the potential to support people with disabilities. It is possible that through dancing, bodies that may be regarded as "deficient" can be strengthened while enhancing their personal and cultural identities. It is also possible that inclusive group dance classes can enable the integration of people with disabilities in their social context. However, there is limited research on how these potential benefits are experienced by participants. The purpose of this research is to describe the experience of people with cerebral palsy participating in regular dance classes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants with cerebral palsy who participated in an inclusive dance group that was informed by the creative approach of Laban. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed according to the thematic analysis of Braun and Clarke. The qualitative analysis software program ATLAS.TI version 8 was used for organizing and data analysis. The six interviews were analyzed and codified in four main categories: (1) the experience of cerebral palsy (the body does not help); (2) dance as a form of relationship with myself and the other; (3) the value of dancing and; (4) the dancer. These categories led to the creation of two subthemes: (a) the "unlocking" concerning the therapeutic effect of dance and (b) the "acquisition of a dancer's identity" by engaging with dance as an artform. An overall theme also emerged, "the passage from darkness to light." Individuals with cerebral palsy, while taking the risk of being physically "exposed" in dance classes and dance group performances, managed to unlock their bodies, develop connections with others, acquire the identity of a dancer, and move from "darkness" to "light." [Abstract copyright: © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.]
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Subtitle of host publicationNeuroscientific Advances. GENeDis 2022
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-31986-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-31985-3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Inclusive dance
  • Humans
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Dancing
  • Laban method
  • Qualitative
  • Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy - therapy

Research Centres

  • Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing


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