Dance and Movement
Dance is the most embodied, and least verbal, of all the arts modalities. This gives it unique power to contact and express deep material. Its very power, however, gives dance a quality of vulnerability, so it's important to use it judiciously. Dance is aesthetically close and highly embodied. Because it's non-verbal, it is highly metaphoric, and it tends to be deeply probing (although there are some techniques to work in a holding way).
Kids are natural at dance and movement -- they're always in motion, and in fact might have difficulty sitting still. Teens also relate to dance, especially to music of their choosing. Dancing can be a great tool for expressing and working through issues in life. (For a great spontaneous example of this, check out the movie Rize.)
Here are a few ways to use dance and movement therapeutically:
- Sound and movement check-in: In a group, each person says their name, and then does a sound and movement to express their feelings in that moment. The rest of the group "mirrors" the sound and movement, re-enacdting it three times.
- Guided dance imagery: Like a guided visualization, only done with movement. Therapist narrates (often using evocative music), and clients embody the imagery in dance and movement. Great with kids, but also powerful with teens and adults.
- Totem animal: Client chooses an animal that best represnets where they are (or want to be), and embodies that animal with sound and movement. (Can combine with visual arts, creative writing, etc -- totem animals can be powerful metaphors, and an entire group could be based on working with this metaphor.)
- Authentic movement: Client moves spontaneously, without background music, while therapist (and/or group) witnesses silently. Client follows movements without planning, seeing what arises physically, emotionally and imaginally.
Photo (c) 2008 Svetlana Kreimer