What goes on? More than I could see and more than words can say: Reflections on my lived experience of being a participant observer of dancing for people who experience Parkinson's.

Authors: Norton, E.


Start date: 21 June 2018

Background I have been part of a team evaluating dancing sessions specifically designed for people who live with Parkinson’s. I have been listening to the meanings and experiences of dancers and I have been joining in with their sessions as a participant observer. Through being actively involved in the group as a dancer I have realised that I have not just been seeing what occurs, I have been feeling it too. Through the role of participant observer I appear to have gained a bodily sensed understanding of what is going on. This bodily sensed understanding is a form of embodied knowing that I had not been expecting to experience. However on reflection I realise that this is knowing from the head and heart and that it has stemmed from more than I could see as a participant observer. My challenge now, is to adequately express my embodied understanding and to do so I draw on the notion that the lived experience is more than words can say (Todres and Galvin 2008). Aim During this presentation I hope to act as what Todres and Galvin (2008) have described as an ‘evocative mediator’. I will be offering a free verse poem about my experiences of what goes on in Parkinson’s Dance sessions and because the lived experience is more than words can say, I enrich the poem with the languages of music and visual imagery.

Reference Todres, L., Galvin, K. T. 2008. Embodied interpretation: a novel way of evocatively re-presenting meanings in phenomenological research. Qualitative Research, 8 (5) 568-583.

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