Dance isthe
language of the soul.

Therapeutic Function of Dance

Dance has accompanied humans for centuries, perhaps for tens of thousands of years. Throughout history, rituals associated with music and dance have been used as healing tools. Dance has served as a form of communication, entertainment, bonding and expression of emotions. In primitive societies, it was an integral aspect of daily life, magical rituals, religious rituals, ceremonies and the arts, and was one of the earliest expressions of human expression. The purpose of dance was to unite the spheres of the sacred and the profane, to strengthen the unity of man with his environment and to control the supernatural forces of life. Movement and music, such as dancing and drumming, are practiced in many cultures, promoting expression, unity and liberation. On different continents of the world, movement, music and rhythm are an integral part of rituals accompanying births, weddings, and periods of mourning.

In Western culture, we tend to associate dance with specific styles and stage forms that have specific rules, requiring special preparation, learning choreography, physical fitness. They are also an art form. It is increasingly common to take classes in various dance techniques, they are accessible to the average person, and you can start learning a dance style at any age. We also dance at social events, although often in order to get on the dance floor without reluctance, we need alcohol, which lowers tension and gives us courage. By dancing in some way we expose ourselves, show ourselves, express ourselves.

Regardless of the circumstances, dancing has many beneficial physiological and neurological effects. It can stimulate the release of endorphins, natural happiness hormones and natural painkillers. As a result, it can improve overall well-being, mood and help relieve tension stored in the body, reducing stress, anxiety and even depression. Dancing engages various areas of the brain, such as the centers of movement, spatial perception, eye-hand coordination and memory. Regular dance practice can stimulate the brain and affect its plasticity. Dance movements can help relax and reduce muscle tension.

More than just therapeutic, dance also carries the benefits of community, engaging people in interaction. Group dance activities create safe spaces where people can express themselves, support each other, observe, inspire and experience emotions together. It can be especially beneficial for people who have difficulty communicating verbally.

Dancing can remind us of the joy and carefree spirit that often accompanies childhood. When we dance, we can feel light, joyful and full of energy, like when we carelessly ran and jumped as children. As we grow up, we gain seriousness and control. This has its good points – we learn to regulate our emotions and function in society, but at the same time we somehow kill the spontaneity in ourselves, the tendency to have fun and do “weird” things. There is no social permission for adults to just play. This often shuts down our creative, imaginative side.

The physical benefits of dancing are undeniable and well researched, but dance embraces a person in his entirety. It touches his thoughts, emotions, desires, concerns and spirituality. Dancing is a “here and now” experience, because while dancing, the mind focuses on responding to the rhythm and anticipating its sequence.

However, not everyone feels up to attending dance classes based on learning choreography, thinking, for example, that they have no sense of rhythm. Sometimes the pace of learning is too fast, memorizing choreography poses a problem, and learning in a group can cause stress. We look at other people and compare ourselves.

This is where the idea of therapeutic dance comes from. Authentic, spontaneous, not based on a particular style or choreography. Dance therapy differs from dance classes in that the therapist is non-directive and neither orders participants what emotions to express nor instructs them on how to move. This is process-oriented rather than product-oriented work, and is not aimed at aesthetic results or any kind of performance. Nor is it about making everyone do something equally, quite the opposite. Everyone expresses themselves in their own individual, unique way. Each of us moves in some way. Even when we breathe, we make movements. This concept is used in dance and movement therapy – we are never completely still.

Therapeutic dance is a form of self-expression. Through movements and gestures, we can express what we cannot express in words. This form of non-verbal communication can help us explore our emotions, discover hidden blockages and unleash our creativity. It is a form of art therapy, or therapy through art. By dancing, we can discover and explore our inner worlds. The pioneer of the Language of Movement Analysis method, Rudolf Laban, wrote that everyone has a dancer inside them waiting to be discovered.

In dance and movement therapy there is a lot about developing awareness of one’s body. In classes, you can even start by walking.We learn how we feel in our bodies, how we express ourselves through our bodies. As my beloved choreographer Ohad Naharin said, it’s all about making the body listen. We create the “wow” moments ourselves. We don’t have to do much, but if we turn up the listening volume, very subtle things can become “wow” moments.

So … I recommend dancing. I experience its benefits myself. I danced flamenco for many years, still do and enjoy it. Dancing has always given me a lot of joy, pleasure and relaxation. But it wasn’t until I started attending body awareness, dance therapy and movement language workshops, but also practicing in coach training, that I felt an incredible change in myself. Connecting with myself, accepting myself, getting to know myself, being able to move and express myself in my own way. This is very freeing.

My journey

After I came back from the first-week module of the Conscious Body and Movement Language Trainer course with Agnieszka Sokolowska and Karen Studd, it took

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