Hello everyone! In today’s post, I am going to share my journey as Dance Movement Therapist and explain a bit about what it exactly is and how it is a new and amazing way to heal yourself holistically.
Definition of Dance Movement Therapy?
“The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psycho-therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.”
In other words, it uses dance as a medium to help you achieve better physical, mental and emotional health.
Writing has been my passion and I have been writing on this blog, while pursuing my profession i.e Physiotherapy. A few years back when I had newly graduated, I did a short course in manual therapy in Australia and came back to India; after which, I landed up in Mumbai with a job.
A short while after, I got an opportunity to speak at and attend a Dance Movement Therapy workshop. The concept was new for me at the time, so I did some research and study before attending and giving my take at the workshop.
The workshop was a dance therapy workshop for the physically and differently-abled people. What I saw at that workshop was inspiring. All of the participants used their wheelchairs, crutches and walkers as props, thus enabling themselves to dance to the rhythm. They were all smiling with happiness. It was indeed a special experience for me to see so much grace, strength, purpose and determination all at the same time. I was awed.
After this workshop, something changed in me and the way I perceived things. It dawned to me that apart from youth, most people of other age groups or areas are often neglected when it comes to dance. Why? Don’t they need some joy in their life, especially if they have been through a lot in their lives?
For that matter, don’t common people like you and me, need a bit of healing, joy and positivity in our lives?
That’s when, I decided to professionally study Dance Therapy and ended up doing a certified Dance Movement Psychotherapy course from Centre Of Excellence, UK.
Today as a physiotherapist, studying Dance Movement Therapy has enhanced my skills. It has helped me reach out to all kinds to people, irrespective of their age, gender and occupation and of course, now that I am in Singapore, I would say irrespective of nationalities as well. The combination of physiotherapy and dance therapy has provided me with great tools and new treatment methods, which I implement in my professional life.
I conduct workshops and I am able to help people lead a better life not just by helping them be physically fit, but also be mentally & emotionally healthy. I am able to make a difference in their lives, much more significantly than I used be able to do earlier.
I also volunteer at an NGO called AWWA in Singapore, where I teach dance therapy to senior citizens, free of cost. Seeing them smile is usually the highlight of the week for me.
So who can practice Dance Therapy?
To practice DMT one need not be a perfect dancer, professional choreographer or anything else. Anyone from any age group and gender is free to practice it, of course keeping in mind any health conditions you have (like Heart ailments, Diabetes, High or Low Blood Pressure, Asthma, etc) which you would need to inform your dance therapy instructor about.
It is especially beneficial for those with reduced mobility, developmental delays and the differently abled.
One just needs to have an open mind and show willingness to get out of the comfort zone. The more you participate, the more you will get, from each DMT session.
Who can teach Dance Movement Therapy?
Being a certified instructor is mandatory to be able to teach dance therapy to others.
For me personally, It’s a combination of physiotherapy and dance therapy both, that I use in my workshops and classes.
How is dance therapy different from normal dancing?
Now this is the most favorite and frequently asked question. Normal dancing includes high end physical activities. Also, usually most dancers stick to certain dance styles and practice them independently. In short, normal dancing helps in physical fitness.
Now, in Dance Therapy, one focuses not only on the physical aspect of dancing, but also on the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. In short, instead of focusing on specific movements, it uses movement to heal your body, mind and spirit. It focuses on the psychological aspects and finer details in a person. It also combines and uses different forms and styles of dancing, rather than using just one. Pychology and psychotherapeutic talks are an integral and important part of dance movement psychotherapy.
It focuses on a person as whole, and thus, it is very holistic in nature.
Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy
There are multiple benefits of DMT and it is impossible to list them all here; however, sharing a few with all of you.
- Stress relief
- Improved confidence
- Improved flexibility
- Improved body and mind co-ordination
- Improved self-awareness
- Improved focus and attention
- Ability to express yourself freely
- New sense of enthusiasm
- Ability to analyse and confront your problems better
Thus Dance Movement Therapy is a perfect way to heal yourself holistically. I hope you as a reader, have gotten some insight on what dance therapy really is.
If you have any further questions about it, don’t hesitate to contact me or drop a comment. If you are in Singapore, do attend one of our workshops and get the experience yourself.
Till the next post,
Dream. Imagine. Be Crazy. Be You.