The rhythm divine

The rhythm divine

Dance has always been a medium of entertainment and expression but not many know that dance is also known for its healing power.

Over the years, however, people have become familiar with this strength. Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is one such approach that helps heal various physical, social, emotional and intellectual problems.

A Dance Movement therapist, choreographer, performer and dance educator, Tripura Kashyap, who pioneered the concept of Dance Movement Therapy in India in 1990, defines it as a physical psychotherapy that helps an individual express their emotions through the language of movements. She says, “DMT can be used for the differently-abled and people with special needs. It can be a child or an 80-year-old individual; DMT can be effective on anyone. This doesn’t mean that a person with various chronic illnesses will be cured but it does help an individual gain normal functioning.”

Tripura, who is also the founder of Creative Movement Therapy Association of India, adds, “There are many advantages of DMT — it is an effective way to deal with emotional, social, physical and intellectual issues. There is also more self awareness and an individual gains social skills as there is a sense of working as a team.”

    Dance can also be used to let go of negative emotions. “I have seen people, especially children, who have become calmer and more active, and their attention span has also
increased after going through dance therapy,” she explains.

Explaining the process of DMT, she says there is something called as ‘Movement Assessment and Evaluation’ — a diagnostic test that helps dance therapists to identify the necessary movements and activities that have to be used for a particular group.
“It is effective on people with schizophrenia and autism, and those who are visually impaired or physically handicapped.” But Tripura can’t emphasise enough that DMT is not something that cures these issues. “Instead, it makes an individual more confident and functional.”

On how effective DMT is in today’s busy world, Tripura adds, “I come across people who don’t move at all. They are fixed in one position and hardly have any kind of physical activity. In such situations, dance movements can make a person more dynamic.”

Introducing dance therapy for pregnant women for easy labour, AV Satyanarayana, the director of Shrishti Center of Performing Arts & Institute of Dance Therapy, says, “I use the basic movements of bharathanatyam, dandiya, kathak and even a few movements from martial arts in a very rhythmic pattern for pregnant women. I introduced this in 2003.”

Talking about the advantages, he adds, “It is a great way to deal with respiratory and circulatory problems and it also stretches one’s mind, body and soul.” 

A dancer since 2011, Moumita Mondal says, “Dance for me is something that makes me happy and gives my soul a soothing and calm feeling. Besides the feel-good factor, there is a lot dance movements that offer — flexibility, strength and an overall sense of well-being.”

 Talking about dance as a healer, she adds, “Dance today is no longer seen as a social activity, but as a healing method for many illnesses. It can increase one’s self-confidence, build social skills and reduce stress and tension. At a time when we work like machines, our physical and mental health is affected. Dance therapy helps people overcome stress and depression, it boosts self-esteem and more importantly, it helps you stay fit and young forever.”

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