Dance is a form of expression. It has been part of our culture and has been with us for generations. For every occasion, we have a specific dance. We have dance involved in the celebration of almost every festival, family gatherings, public competitions, and events.
It isn't just the coming together of people and performing dance, but individually it is a relaxing activity. It is believed that the mind, soul, and body are all connected to one another, and that dance helps us in realizing the presence, understanding it and in making this connection stronger. Dance therapy helps us here.
What is Dance Therapy?
Dance therapy is the therapeutic use of the physical activity of dance and movement of the body to empower the functions of the body, mind, and soul. It focuses on the importance of the relationship between emotion and movement.
This form of therapy involves the activity of dance movements to help cure innumerable emotional, psychological and physical ailments. The history of dance movement therapy dates back to the 1940s, according to the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA).
Dance therapy can be applied in various areas such as health care, education, rehabilitation centers, hospices, with most of the patients including children, adults, and senior adults. According to the ADTA, physical, emotional or psychosocial conditions such as Parkinson's disease, autism, Alzheimer's, eating disorders, differently abled or trauma can be dealt and be helped with by the therapy.
How to become a Dance Therapist?
To start a career in dance therapy one must definitely have some knowledge in the field of dance.
Dance therapy is a profession and thus dance which is to be used in such a field must of a certain professional level.
An aspirant in dance therapy must have a Masters degree. To achieve the graduate degree, one must have some knowledge and experience in different dance forms. These can be Certificate courses or Diploma courses from various institutions. Also, a Bachelors degree is a minimum requirement for eligibility.
This course can be in any field, but if it is from a liberal arts background, it would be helpful. Studying psychology for bachelors will help in help in therapy sessions in dance therapy.
For the Master's course, one must apply for the course in any institution of their interest. The course would go for two years. If one is pursuing their profession in the USA, their master's degree must be approved by the ADTA.
If one has a doctoral degree in any areas of human services like nursing, psychology, health care they can apply for a Dance Movement Therapy and get certified by the ADTA.
What will you be doing?
Well yes, the obvious is that you will be dancing. But more than just dancing, there will be a lot of healing involved. Helping the people who have various ailments, requires care. Dance is a way of reaching out to the people.
You can specialize in using dance movement therapy for children. Here, you will be helping in their social, personal and psychological development. Studies have shown that children who have attended dance therapies with their mothers show an increase in their bonding and relationship with their mothers as compared to before the therapy.
Dance therapy will require you to apply certain knowledge that one usually doesn't have to use in regular dancing. It provides a safe space for the individuals to express themselves. Thus it requires a certain level of confidentiality from the therapist.
The therapist must also understand non-verbal behavior, movements, body language, gesture and emotional expression. To do something like this, therapists have to develop empathy. The ability to understand what the other person is going through.
This is also important in the therapy sessions and will involve exercises like mirroring (matching the other person's actions and emotions), using jumping rhythms in people who suffer from depession (based on a research, which says people with depression have fewer vertical movements)
Also Read: Career Options in Mental Health Profession
How much will you be earning?
With a masters course in dance therapy, one will be earning around $40,000, according to Simplyhired.com, as a dance therapists. The ADTA says that annual pay is somewhere near $40,000- $50,000 on a year, average.
The experience and knowledge, as well as the location of the therapists will matter when it comes to remuneration, thus some therapists earn $60,000-$70,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there will be a 15% growth in the Dance Movement Therapy professions in next few years.
Institutes offering courses in Dance Therapy in India
- Women's Christian College, Chennai
- Creative Movement Therapy Association in India, Delhi
- Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
- SHRISTI Center of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy, Delhi
Institutes offering courses in Dance Therapy around the world
- Codarts, University for the Arts, Netherlands
- University of Derby, England
- London Metropolitan University
- European Association Dance Movement Therapy - Hungry, Latvia, Poland, Germany