We all hallucinate but there is something about nighttime hallucination that feels real and almost like a connection to a world beyond our comprehension.
This paper is a documentation of a practice-based dance work of the creative process, research and performance presentation of the piece “Nyam chiem.” This thesis examines the phenomenon of sleep paralysis through personal reflexive research. The research is in two parts; practical and theory. The practical component includes; dance rehearsal processes, performance and staging of the piece as presentation. The theory component includes the documentation of the work in a written format capturing personal stories, and salient issues arising from the process in a scholarly paper. This work challenges the notion that sleep paralysis is evil, revealing the phenomenon as a normal part of the human experience.
1. In a personal autobiographical research, how does sleep paralysis intersect with my dance creation?
2. How can I translate my experiences and autobiographical research of sleep paralysis to a dance creation?
3. What can sleep paralysis be a metaphor of and might that have meaning for others who experience my work?
I particularly relate to James Allan Cheyne’s definition of sleep paralysis and his works on the subject as well. Cheyne defines sleep paralysis as:
A brief paralysis experienced when falling asleep or waking up. It is often accompanied by vivid imagery and extreme fear. In addition to the fear during episodes, people often report marked distress following the episode (Cheyne, Pennycook 2013, 16).
A brief pre- or postdormital paralysis often, but not always, accompanied by vivid sensory and perceptual experiences, including complex hallucinations (called hypnagogic hallucinations when occurring predormitally and hypnopompic when occurring postdormital) and, almost invariably, intense fear. (Cheyne, Pennycook 2013, 16).