The US-American KerryLyn Kercher is a trained dance therapist: The Fulbright scholarship holder will be working at the Research Institute for Artistic Therapies at Alanus University until the summer of 2022. In the interview, she tells us why she came to Alfter, what she is currently working on - and what she hopes to gain from eurythmy.
1. Where are you from? What is your professional background?
I am originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania (PA), USA, but my last home was in Philadelphia, PA. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance in 2014 from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, USA. I then performed professionally for multiple dance companies along the east coast: Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City. I went back to school in 2019 and this past June (2021) completed my master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. My background is in modern dance studies, but I have a deep interest in dance improvisation, both solo and partner work. However, I am heavily influenced and inspired by all art forms and like to work in collaboration with other artistic mediums.
2. You have received a Fulbright scholarship and will stay in Germany until July 2022. Why did you come to Germany to Alanus University?
Part of my interest in coming to Alanus University was to partake in the Eurythmy Therapy Program. Alanus is unique in that it offers Eurythmy as a course of study in both undergraduate and graduate programming. Alanus seems to be this hidden gem of insight into the work of the mind-body connection and other contemplative art practices, and I hope to learn more about this field of study as I enter my field of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT). I am interested in discovering how DMT and Eurythmy intertwin and inspire one another. This will be useful as a blossoming therapist.
3. What exactly do you do at Alanus University, what projects are you currently working on?
I am working here at the Research Institute for Artistic Therapies, where I am involved in a large International Project with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Research Alliance CATs. Together with Prof. Sabine C. Koch, we are producing systematic reviews on the evidence of Artistic Therapies. The last review was on the use of art, music, dance and drama therapy in dementia. I also contribute to the Journal of Arts Therapies (JAT), the open access online journal for arts therapies.
As part of the international student community, I will also be offering a dance/movement therapy workshop at the end of October and performing at the scholarship ceremony on October 28. I hope that I can continue to participate in the events of the International Office, as I am very grateful to be part of the international community at Alanus University.
4. You are a trained dance therapist. How do you bring this perspective to the Artistic Therapies department at Alanus University?
I would say that my training is rooted in dance and movement studies, and I am a beginner in the field of DMT. This places me in a completely open, explorative position where I hope to learn more as I engage in Eurythmy courses. The DMT field is continually growing and expanding its range of knowledge and influences. As I have not been a part of the Eurythmy therapy program or Eurythmy classes yet, I am not sure how I situate myself within them. However, I look forward to learning more about Eurythmy Therapy before I consider similarities and differences to the work of a dance/movement therapist.
5. What do you hope/wish for from your stay in Germany and at Alanus University?
First of all, I would like to thank the university, especially the International Office, for their comprehensive and generous support! One of my wishes is, of course, to be immersed in the German culture and improve my German language skills. I am a beginner but will be continually practicing this skill all year. Additionally, I hope to partake in Eurythmy classes that are special to Alanus and learn more about the arts community in Bonn and Alfter. One goal of mine is to offer DMT inspired movement classes to the community before my time in Germany ends.