Sleep Paralysis

Choreography, Film, Writing

Role: Writer/Director/Co-Choreographer

Sleep Paralysis is a short film about a young woman fighting to gain control of her consciousness/body as she suffers a bout of sleep paralysis while dreaming about dance

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I’m a lifelong dancer, but I recently injured my knee which forced me to stop dancing for several months and remain inactive in general. During this period of time I had almost nightly dreams in which I was dancing, either in the wilderness, on a stage, taking class from an old teacher, etc. It felt so real, I could feel my body moving – but I wasn’t. I also had my first ever bout of sleep paralysis during this time. I found myself asleep but awake, entirely unable to move but also present in the real world. In this sleep paralysis I experienced a very sharp and clear hallucination (as many people do). I experienced a woman pinning me down, causing my paralysis, and chanting my name into my ear. I was horrified but intrigued by what had happened.

This film is a look at what it means to be existing on two planes – as we always are – in a state of real, physical being, and then where our minds can take us. I also view the Dreamer’s struggle, and fight, to reclaim both her mind and body as a metaphor for what I’ve experienced being out of control of my own body during my injury, or even my mind at times when I’ve felt I’ve lost it. I hope that this will resonate beyond my personal experiences and remain a true, and even visceral look at what it means to feel ‘stuck.’