WHY WOULD WE STAY AWAY FROM DANCE?

I am into psychotherapy.
This means for me that I really am passionate about, personally greatful to, having it as a profession, valuing its contribution, seeing the limits, being aware of the dangers.

In time, I came to realize that psychotherapy is an art that you master after a lot of learning from others and failure and practice and breakthroughs, and it comes down to forgetting everything that you learned in order TO BE WITH ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. What I mean is that, for me, psychotherapy is not a set of techniques that you aply to people, it’s not a science of manipulating them to act/ think/feel in a certain way, it’s not a place where you can give advice and feel important that you know better than the other, it’s not a space of being right and having the answers from theories/research that often are proved to be wrong/ not accuretly understood etc.

In this light, I don’t feel a deep attachement to a particular school of therapy. This would sound a little bit odd to some people that know me, and know that I love dance movement psychotherapy, brought a training in Romania and I am advocating and atracting people towards learning and practicing that. And yet it’s not. I learned a lot from short solution focused and contextual modular therapy, a lot from my jungian masters, or from Franz Ruppert’s method of working with trauma and from EMDR. I still use a lot in my meetings with the people in my therapist life. And yet, what helped me personally the most was the way working with the moving body gave me a sense o presence, of feeling/observing/using on the spot what happens in the flow of the relationship and inside me, gave me tools to expand my vocabulary and attune to people nonverbally.

In the professional community the name of this aproach was and still is discussed in order to bring clarity for clients, to set its place right as a reliable, respectable, real and useful way of bringing coherence, safety, healing and growth in peoples’ lives. Although some practicioners in the world proposed other related names body-mind centering, embodied psychotherapy, movement psychotherapy etc, dance movement psychotgerapy defines it best for me. Is it possible that some fear or undervalue the “dance” aspect in this?
Why would we be afraid of or underapreciate dance? Why wouldn’t this be a valuable tool for us to become whole again, to work through our wounds and improve our lives?

Simple observation showes that children, around 1 year old, start moving their bodies rythmically in reaction to music. No one is teaching them what to do; they express their inner states through movement which looks a lot like dance; movement was there before, from the womb, but when the body reacts fully and there is music around parents record it and they send to friends their child’s dance.

Is it really a dance? What is dance anyway?

Are you dancing when you move in your mother’s/father’s arms as a baby? When you react to the first song that moves you? When you take your first professional lesson? When you get to a certain level of technique? When you get a prize from a competition?
Are you dancing if you do it freely in your living room? Or if people see you at a party? Or only if you present yourself as a dancer on a stage?
Are you dancing if you do it to atract someone or to connect? To express a feeling? A statement? To heal? To relax? To have a catharsis?

So we all have this ability to use dance since very young and all these layers of dance that happen in our lives and yet we might get scared or avoid dancing.
Because I like to be honest with my self, I realized I block dance often, I lose it, hide it, get tired of it despite the fact that my body enjoys it a lot most of the times. And I wondered why this happens, why is it so hard to keep dancing?
I think that dance is powerful, it moves forces inside on different levels and can move the world around.
I think dance is misterious and very hard to fully control with the power of our minds.
I feel that dance can heal and connect and bring us together closer than we can handle sometimes.
Also, it exposes us with all our parts involved, being vulnerable to the unexpected.

Dance involves and activates our creativity, allows us to enlarge our expressive abilities, but this comes after facing the unconfortable, the ridiculous, the stiffness, the mistrust, the guilt, the prejudice, the physical distance we live with.
I believe, in our collective unconscious, dance was atributed to healers, sometimes scary as witches, shamans, priests- to extra-ordinary people who could do things to a person, take them to a/ out of a state of being.
Also, culturally, many times dance is associated with partying/drinking/sex and out of control behaviours. If not, it is separated from “real” life and put on a stage to be consumed only by observing/ analyzing it, not by participation.

So we have an aproach who dared to get close to this powerfull reality/tool/experience trying to use it, bring it to consciousness, and transmited to people so they get contaminated and “dancing” inside in order to help others dance too.
It is scary sometimes but it’s also magical, profoundly transforming, speeding up the connections inside and outside, geting us back to the beggining, to the body, to the movement, to the explosion of expression, to the flow of possibilities. And I am talking about all this forms of dancing: the dance of our blood, heart beat, organs, emotions, ideas and images; the dance of a caress, of a hand holding, of a hug; the dance of shaking out anger and fear or of laying down with sadness, of jumping for joy; the dance of a solution, of a plan, of a dream; the dance of healing rituals, or spirituality; the dance of slowing down/speeding up, of taking the space/withdrawing to our center, of rising/falling and all the other forms of movement that we might call dance if we want.

I believe that it would be sad to take the DANCE out of dance movement psychotherapy so I am hoping that we will, me included, become friends with dance and let it help us put the pieces together, heal, grow, connect and be creative.
Cause there is no right or wrong dance in this world. There are only dances that tell us different or similar stories and we can safely experience and feel them without having to judge or split or put a label on them. Working with a person in psychotherapy without putting a label on them is, for me, an important goal. Accepting the invitation to move inside their dance and influence it with mine is wonderfull for me, to get different perspectives on a bodily level is precious.

So, without judging, respecting my rhythm and other’s, I hope we all dance through life, expressing everything as it is. And that dance movement psychotherapy will stay like that and enrich professionals’lives or help people get back the courage to DANCE.