It seems for as long as mankind has been up and walking around on two feet, we’ve also been dancing! Okay, maybe it’s a little hard to prove that dance goes that far back, but there is evidence dated circa 3300 B.C. that points to our prehistoric ancestors incorporating dance into ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations, as well as dancing just for pure entertainment.
Today, dance is everywhere: from ballet and jazz to ballroom and break dancing. We’ve even begun incorporating therapy into dance to promote a healthier mind-body connection as well as achieve greater self-expression.
What is Dance Therapy?
Combining dance, movement, and psychotherapy, dance therapy is a means of self-expression that promotes a healthy mind-body connection. The therapeutic use of movement is well-known for treating a wide range of physical, mental, and social issues. As such, dance therapy offers a non-judgemental environment to influence and promote growth and development through every stage of life. Moreover, dance and movement therapy helps improve one’s body image, develop effective communication skills, reduce stress levels, ease mood swings, and prevent a variety of diseases.
With dance therapy, body language serves as a valuable core component of the unique therapy session, which has helped many reach their full potential and target certain emotions and issues that may have otherwise been unreachable or unattainable.
Types of Dance Therapy
In dance and movement therapy, therapists utilize a variety of techniques and styles of dance to match the individual styles and needs of their clients. And, typically, a session will fall under one of the following types of dance therapy:
Certified therapists collaborate with individuals to tap into their imagination, encouraging them to examine their bodies, feelings, emotions, and thought processes
Certified therapists help individuals with hands-on movement sequences and relaxing motions to allow them to focus on their personal, physical experience as well as deepen their understanding of themselves
Balance for Seniors
Qualified instructors help senior citizens find balance, support, and security through movements that loosen the inner ear, strengthen the ankles, and perfect the act of sitting and standing without holding onto anything
Dance Therapy Helps Treat
The Dance Therapy Steps & Stages
Dance therapists typically utilize a variety of dance techniques and styles during a dance therapy session, designed to help people express their experiences and gain access to certain emotions and issues. These techniques can help to establish trust, a feeling of safety, and a collaborative relationship, as well as an avenue to discuss feelings that might otherwise be hard to talk about. Depending on the needs of the client, a dance therapy session may include any of the following styles of dance: modern dance, Turkish folk dance, line dancing, aerobic dance, and ballroom dancing, including the foxtrot, waltz, and tango.
When you come to a dance therapy session, you can expect it to have four stages:
The preparation stage, which involves warm-up exercises to develop comfort
The incubation stage, which involves subconscious, open-ended imagery to help focus on mindfulness and relaxation
The illumination stage, which allows you to self-reflect by uncovering and resolving subconscious motivations
The evaluation stage, where you focus on the significance of the whole process as the therapy session ends
How to Find a Dance Therapy Class Near You
With HealingRadius, of course! Simply head on over to the homepage and select the “Search by Therapy” option. Then, enter your city and state or zip code and “dance therapy,” and you’ll get a list back of all the dance therapists and therapy centers near you! You can even sign up for one online with your HealingRadius account!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.