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Idaho State University

Director of Dance Receives Recognition for Creative Work and Research

August 5, 2019

Director of Dance Kathleen Diehl, MFA, MSW,recently earned an Office of Research seed grant project award for her research, titled,  “Creativity, Community, and Wellness: An Exploration of the Relationship between Phenomenology, Dance, and Laban Movement Analysis.”

This project is an extension of her research in the areas of kinesthetic empathy, somatic practices and collaborative creative processes as they relate to dance performance, choreography and pedagogy. Diehl said she is appreciative of this support and recognition as it relates to all of her recent presentations on campus and beyond including:

•       June 2019 Somatic Ballet: Developing Awareness of Self, Other and Community, International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Conference, NY, NY
•       May 2019 Mindful Movement and Self Care, Wellness Symposium, ISU 
•       March 2019 Body Stories: Discovering Connections through Movement, Awareness, and Expression
•       October 2018 Cultivating Empathy to Create Connection, National Dance Educators Conference, San Diego, CA
        In addition to these presentations, Diehl received recognition for her choreography during the American College Dance Association Conference in March 2019. In discussing her piece “Inner Workings” one of the adjudicators commented that she was “immediately drawn into the movement vocabulary and wanted to be in the piece.”
        “This is an incredible compliment in the dance world, especially when it comes from the current Dean of the American Dance Festival, a cherished organization maintaining the highest standards in dance education, advocacy, and presentation,” Diehl said. 
        In June 2019, Diehl received a choreography award from a regional dance festival for her work “Triangulation.” Originally choreographed in 2012 and restaged with two recent ISU graduates and a current ISU student, this new iteration was presented in Salt Lake City and received not only high praise from the three adjudicators, but also a monetary prize.
        Diehl's recent manuscript “Collaborative Discoveries: Trust, Empathy, and Meaning” is slotted for publication in the special topics journal, Dance Practice in Education in 2019. This paper is a reflection on lessons learned from the choreographic process over the past several years and how those discoveries align with her former work as a psychotherapist and intersect with her current interests in the therapeutic aspects of dance and movement. These interests will culminate in her completing a certification in Laban Movement Analysis and becoming a registered Somatic Movement Educator/Practitioner by January 2020. This certification is possible because of the funding from the Office of Research and she began her training in this intense, immersive program in June. 
        “My participation in this training feels very full circle as I discover the vast applications of the theoretical concepts to all of my intersecting interests,” she said. “It has been a very exciting year.”

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