Dance can be used as a beautiful means of communication and expression. This simple concept laid the groundwork for dance therapy which was first conceptualized during the 19th century dance movement. Going beyond art and entertainment, the basics of dance therapy concentrate on studying, interpreting, warming-up, intervening, verbal processing and finally the warming down phase. Every dancing institute has its own way of conducting such dancing sessions, either in a structured or a non-directive manner, depending on participants’ comfort levels.
These training centers refute the notion that therapeutic dancing programs are meant only for elderly persons suffering from serious physical conditions. They declare that the session is about healing ‘You’ in totality irrespective of your age or background. Discussed below are a few interesting facts about dancing therapy which you may not be aware of.
Issues that Dance Therapy addresses
There are several chronic physical, psychological and social problems which can be healed through dancing therapy. The sessions cover a wide range of illnesses like chronic pain, obesity, arthritis, hypertension, dementia, anxiety, depression, autism, communication disorder, aggressive behavior and many more. In fact some claim that a life-threatening disease like cancer too can be treated with movement therapy.
Main objectives of the therapy
The therapy rests on the theory that it can facilitate improvement of life-span by preventing, diagnosing, and treating issues that can disrupt healthy functioning. Treatment goals are developed by assessing the participant’s condition, and plans are implemented to achieve these objectives. Continuous assessment is done and the sessions are adjusted to meet the participant’s changing needs.
How movement therapy differs from regular dancing
While the basic purpose of both is the same viz., to help dancers acquire good health and cheerful mind, dancing for therapeutic purposes has a more specific purpose. Each movement or step of the dancer doesn’t remain limited to exercise; it turns out to be an element of a language of its own.
Participants are directed to communicate their conscious and unconscious feelings and emotions through dance, which the therapist assesses and responds in kind. This has coined the term movement vocabulary which signifies physical expressions and not spoken words.
How dance therapy sessions are conducted
There are several techniques which the trainer adopts to address the needs of specific participants of which “mirroring” is very common. The participants’ movements are matched or echoed to demonstrate understanding of and sympathy for one another, and validate their experiences. Sometimes jumping rhythms are incorporated into the dance therapy especially for a group suffering from depression.
A research finding says that a reduced level of vertical movement is the key cause of depression. In certain cases the participants are asked to physically illustrate a therapeutic challenge or an achievement with the help of the ‘movement metaphor’. Single, couple or group methods are adopted as deemed fit by the trainer.
Where to learn dance lessons for healing purposes
There are many recognized dance institutes which conduct general and special dance classes. They are very particular about organizing therapy classes, ensuring that participants with similar issues remain in one group. Total confidentiality is maintained as participants with disabilities are found requiring safe spaces to express themselves.
Learning to dance is great fun. When you do it to get relief from long-term ailments, it gives you greater happiness from deep within. Join the dance therapy classes shedding your worries and inhibitions to emerge as a confident and healthy human being!