Background as Anthropologist

Through learning specific ethnic and regional dances at Rotterdam Dance Academy, I started to wonder what dance styles say about the culture they originated in and became fascinated by anthropology. I enrolled at Leiden University to study Cultural Anthropology for three years, and obtained my MA in Cultural and Medical Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam in 2001. Curiously I forgot all about the link between dance and anthropology for eleven years!

As a researcher in social science from 2000-2005, I conducted qualitative research on health and wellbeing of various subgroups, including people with learning disabilities, and patients with chronic bowel disease, depression and burnout. Slowly the focus moved towards the influence of nature and spirituality on wellbeing, health, and a sense of living a meaningful life.

I completed my PhD thesis in the field of Dance Anthropology at the University of Roehampton in London (2013), on the effects of dancing Movement Medicine to wellbeing, empowerment, personal growth and spirituality. I used a combination of symbolic anthropology, hermeneutics and Geoffrey Samuel’s multimodal framework, which offers an integration of polarities such as individualist and holist interpretations of culture, and dichotomies of subject-object, mind-body and self-other. This has been very valuable for studying a practice that includes many different ways of understanding, some of which not necessarily fit easily in common conceptual or rational frameworks. You can find a link to this thesis here.

After my first postdoc at the University of Exeter Medical School, I currently work at the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University.


 PhD Thesis

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