The idea of dance as a therapeutic tool may seem strange in a world accustomed to dance as a performing art, done by professionals for the entertainment of a paying audience. But throughout the world, primitive cultures have used dance, or ritualized body movements, in religious ceremonies, for healing, celebration and commemoration of important events. This ancient understanding of dance as a healing tool has been rediscovered in recent years and is now a well-established creative therapy.
The way that a person moves tells the skilled observer a great deal about the way that person feels. How she walks across the room, the way she sits, the gestures she habitually uses all reveal her inner self.
Dance therapy rests on the belief that because the connection between outward movement and inner feeling is so strong, changing the way a person moves can also change the way she feels.
Dance therapy, by focusing first on simple, repetitive movements, gradually building up to more challenging complicated sequences, addresses these difficulties directly and helps persons to resolve them through the pleasurable movement of their own bodies. Like other therapists, dance therapists assess their persons’ movements to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Based on this evaluation, an individual programme is created for each person, some of which may involve group work.