Creative Arts Therapies Theses


Maria Ninos

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (MA)


Creative Arts Therapies

First Advisor

Jessica Young


Arab-Israeli conflict -- Children, Dance therapy, Movement therapy


The purpose of this research was to unite Palestinian and Israeli children who are living in war conflict through movement. This research took place at a kibbutz in Israel, where I worked with an interfaith peace education organization whose mission was to motivate understanding, tolerance, and respect among Israeli and Palestinian children. Using a methodology rooted in performance ethnography, I studied the culture of 11 children in the camp as they engaged in four movement sessions. The focus of each session was to enhance their social and team building skills. Using the experience from the sessions, I facilitated the development of a final performance. I hoped to answer the question: How can Israeli and Palestinian children develop social skills and supportive team building skills though dance, movement, and commitment to a performance? I used inductive theme analysis to analyze my data. Results showed that through reclaiming childlike fun, connection, freedom of self-expression, and focus through positive energy, children effectively communicated with one another, viewed their peers without preconceived judgments, and collectively created and performed a dance, which improved their social and team building skills.