Brown Deer experiential therapist performs in dance showcase exploring mental health11/23/21 11:45:am
Alisha Jihn, a dance/movement therapist and experiential therapist (ET) from Brown Deer, recently performed in a dance show called Fight or Flight.
Inspired by the automatic physiological reaction to stressful or frightening events, the shows were organized by Danceworks Performance MKE and took place from October 30 to 31 and from November 5 to 7.
“The idea for this performance came from our artistic director who expressed a lot of interest in doing research about the stress cycle and particularly how COVID-19 has affected our mental health,” Alisha says.
The hour-long performance was made up of sections focusing on different aspects of stress, including intergenerational stress, neurological pathways, and healing. Each section featured duets, trios, quintets, and ensemble dances.
“COVID has been a particularly difficult time for all of us and, from this show, I hope people took away a shared feeling that they are not alone in their struggles in mental health,” she says.
A professional dancer with Danceworks, Alisha has been performing since age 3.
“Dance has always inspired a sense of joy in me,” she says. “I find incredible joy through moving my body and choreographing movement.”
Alisha went on to study dance in college and attended graduate school at Columbia College Chicago for dance/movement therapy. She joined Rogers in Brown Deer in 2018 as a pool ET before becoming a full-time ET shortly thereafter.
“Dance is a wonderful way to express our emotions, and there are certain circumstances where words may fail to help fully express how we’re feeling,” Alisha explains.
For many patients, movement is a way of reconnecting with their bodies when they feel deeply disconnected due to trauma or other mental health stressors.
“In my work as an ET, I really strive to help our patients express themselves both through their movement and their verbal processing,” she says.
The Fight or Flight performance is available for purchase to stream on demand on Danceworks’ website through November 30.