Just what the doctor prescribed

People do a lot of things to get rid of stress and tension – they eat chocolates, listen to music, they do yoga or exercise vigorously! But the most interesting of stress-busters is a dance therapy.

Dance therapy is a psycho therapeutic process which promotes the emotions and physical integration of a person. It involves the synthesis of the grace and vigour of Indian classical and folk dance movements into an innovative holistic therapy.

And promoting dance therapy in India and around the world is Dr AV Satyanara-yana, director, Shristi Center of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy who claims that dance therapy helps to control diabetes, obesity, stress and also helps to achieve physical fitness.

Dr Satyanarayana does not perform classical dance just as a hobby. He has devised a way to transform the art form into a source of tangible and practical value to people. By combining various mudras of Bharatanatyam and Kathak with a bit of Chau dance, he has evolved a dance therapy that could be of immense use to those suffering from diabetes, hypertension and migraines.

The National Capital’s heritage and cultural credentials drew him to the City recently to explore prospects to set up his dance academy here. He spoke to Metrolife.

“I have been conducting dance therapy workshops for the past 14 years and more than 3,000 people have attended my workshops. Dance busts stress, generates positive feelings and makes the body flexible because dance has a great therapeutic effect,” says Dr Satyanarayana, himself an accomplished Kathak, Bharatanatyam and neo classical dancer and choreographer from the last 42 years.

Dance has been one of the most gracious mediums of self-expression since time immemorial. And this art form not only serves as a platform of entertainment but also relieves physical worries. Dance therapy is a creative and most fundamental of the arts involving a direct expression of one’s body, mind and the spirit, he explains.

“A dance movement along with music, pleases and calms the nerves and the dancer enjoys the workout because he or she gets involved in the dance and the meaning of it. The movements of the body in a dance provides more relief than any other exercise. The simple movements or mudras stretches several nerves in the body which in turn helps the metabolism. From head to toe, eight parts of the body are involved in one posture of dance therapy,” added Satyanarayana.

The grace and beauty of dance characters like Radha and Krishna is a sign of positive outlook. “Dance therapy can also prevent physical and mental health problems. For instance, dance designed for spondylitis using the movements of snake in search of food or mate can curb the disease and peacock dance can help control spinal and respiratory issues,” said Satyanarayana.


Speaking about his pet subject he informs that dance therapy is also being used as
a communication technique among children who are mentally challenged.

“Dance therapy movements give comprehensive exercise to all muscles and joints and stimulates internal organs. Music and dance takes the boredom out of the exercise. The therapy involves positive emotions and its sessions are entertaining without too much technicality,” he says.

Dance therapy endorses the idea that the movement of the entire body can actually help cure several illness and bring relief to many of the chronic ailments.

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