Dance can be conceived as a nonverbal expression of human emotions. From the very evolution of life movement has been the integral part of human existence be it psychological, physical and social. Postures, gestures, motives have always intrigued human civilization in determining its culture, cast, creed and religion. Human beings expressed different emotional and psychological behaviours through various gestures and postures, in course of time these different motives combined together in long movement phrases which later on can be termed as “Dance”. In a nutshell we can also say that dance is a symbolic representation of movement behaviours which is attributed with emotional and psychological content.
As time moved on dance became a part and parcel of human civilization. They used to manifest joy, anger, passion, rituals through dance. Dance became such an important part in the human society that each ethnic groups used to manifest their religion, culture behaviours, through specific movement phrases, or we can say a specific type of dance which denotes their particular cultures and where the group or the society belongs from. Like in Europe dance started in the courts of the royals, where they have learnt to move in splendour, glamour and high esteem. So the movement started very up above the torso. In one word very elevated. While in the east specially movement has a very strong relationship with the ground, that is earth. It is found that the dancers demonstrated movement patterns very grounded and low in levels. The European forms which exhibited elevation are classical Ballet, Flamenco, Baroque Dance. Whereas in the east the dance forms which are grounded are Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Kathakali etc. African dance also exhibits grounded ness and close relationship with the earth.
The concept of therapy through dance hails from hundreds of years of legacy. It started from the African voodoo cult where it is believed that the subject, who is possessed by spirits or various illnesses, is thought that can be cured by exercising voodoo cult through chants and dance. Same kind of exercise is performed in a ritualistic format for healing and therapeutic uses known as “shaman” which has its roots in Korea.
In India various styles of ritualistic dance are performed for therapeutic uses and healing purposes are the “Tantric rituals” and the dances of “Chaat puja”.
Presently as world has become scientifically advanced, rationally developed so the therapy where dance is related has taken entirely a different format, which is sophisticatedly termed as “Dance Movement Therapy”. It has a multifaceted utilization in the human society. It is used for releasing stress, trauma, helping pregnant women, and mentally challenged people, used for helping depressed patients and for fun. Dance therapy is also used to give special recognition to the people who are far away from the acceptance of the human society. It gives them a new way of addressing themselves, developing acceptability among themselves and with the society, and developing self esteem which leads to better living and coexistence.
Dance Movement Therapy is a psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance in order to deal with physical, emotional, social , mental and other related problems.
ACCORDING TO ADTA (AMERICAN DANCE THERAPY ASSOCIATION)
Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, the American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.
Dance/movement therapy is:
- Focused on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for group and individual treatment. Body movement, as the core component of dance, simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
- Is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, health promotion programs and in private practice.
- Is effective for individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments.
- Is used with people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats.