While dance has long been known as a beautific art form and means of self-expression, it has also become a means of self-love, reflection and therapy.
The links are now apparent between the physical exertion and movement of the body and the emotional rewards we get from dance, but there is also an empathetic quality to dancing with others that therapists are finding to be useful as a healing modality.
According to Nana Koch, a board certified dance/movement therapist, Dance Therapy was created by dancers, choreographers and teachers with a knowledge of psychology. “They all understood the power of dance to energize.” It is now a widely held view that holistic healing has to encompass both the mind and the body. Dance is a way of doing that that is safe, wholesome and fully immersive.
Kinesthetic empathy can be described as sharing a connection with another through physical movement. When a client and a therapist dance together, the client may gesture and the therapist will follow. This is a physical and emotional sign of solidarity. It is known as mirroring the other, and pyschologicaly translates to “I see you. You are heard, you are felt.”
Natalia Duong, choreographer and therapist puts it this way:
Dance therapy “is not just the metaphor of art and dance as pleasurably aesthetic things that reconcile, rather it is the attention that it takes to listen; to attune to our physical bodies and the memory, knowledge and potential that they carry within them.”
According to Nana Koch, in a video posted by the American Dance Therapy Association:
“Movement is a basic form of communication that provides us with opportunities for socialization, the development of community and the experience of expressing our aliveness and our innermost thoughts and feelings.”
She also adds:
“the dance therapy session is the choreography of the emotions in the service of the clients.”
You can watch both Nana & Natalia speak about Dance therapy here:
The power of dance to influence our lives positively, and to create new ways for us to find love, connection and acceptance is extraordinary. To find out more about dance therapy as a discipline and profession, please visit https://adta.org/