Observing movement and body language is often a good indicator of someone's emotional state. Using dance therapy, people are encouraged to express themselves confidently in a non-verbal way, responding naturally and spontaneously to rhythm. This helps them connect with their subconscious to establish stronger personal identities in an atmosphere of mutual trust. Dance therapy is often used in conjunction with physiotherapy or occupational therapy, and has been proved highly effective and popular in schools, prisons and institutions.
Dance therapy was developed in the United States in the 1940s and is beneficial to everyone, but especially to those with mental and physical disabilities, or victims of abuse, who find it difficult to articulate.
What to Expect
Dance therapy can be conducted on an individual basis on in a group, usually in a series of classes. Participants will first warm up before embarking on whatever physical action the music or rhythm suggests. The emphasis is on people 'doing their own thing', playacting, 'mirroring', or supporting others. The action is generally playful and unchoreographed, but some basic dance steps might be taught. Cloths, beanbags, balls and miscellaneous objects may be used. Dancing makes us feel good, and this natural, instinctive form of exercise can be harnessed to help us express our deepest feelings.
For more information, see
Training & Colleges
Most practitioners will have an MA in Dance Movement Therapy, having studied for two years full-time, or three part-time. A postgraduate diploma is obtained after one year of full-time study, or two years part-time.
Association for Dance Movement Therapy
c/o Arts Therapies Department
London SW17 7DJ