Heard of Dance/Movement Therapy? Pass it on!

I have a few Dance/Movement Therapists that I hold up on a major pedestal. One of them is Lora Wilson Mau. Her energy, passion, and focus in the field of D/MT is contagious. As past president of the California chapter of the ADTA, she was revolutionary in organizing, motivating, and networking D/MTs to get together throughout the state. Knitting together once fragmented pieces of the chapter, Lora continues to inspire others to be better human beings, to share, give, or offer what they can. Her brilliance is not just with people, though. She also is a tremendously passionate writer.

I am re-posting from Lora Wilson Mau's blog, Moving Towards Understanding, which beautifully articulates the need for the world to know about Dance/Movement Therapy. So pass it on!

Dance/Movement Therapy Goes Viral (Please?)
February 21, 2011 by Lora Wilson Mau, MA, R-DMT
Let me put my cards on the table.

I started this blog two years ago out of a deeply felt frustration that I know is shared by many of my fellow dance/movement therapists. I know they share this frustration in some form or another because the topic and the discussion of ways to address it has been repeated – for years – in professional discussions, online forums and local and national dialogues. It is an ongoing issue for our professional community.

The frustration is this:

In the 21st century, how can it be that the profession of dance/movement therapy is not better known? Better understood? At the very least, heard of? Granted, if one is not working in the mental health or rehabilitation or wellness professions, then it is perhaps logical that the profession be an unfamiliar concept. Certainly, I have never heard of countless occupations. But, how can it be in the 21st century, over ten years since the “Decade of the Brain” concluded, that dance/movement therapy is not better understood by our colleagues whose professions involve psychology or neuroscience?

How is it that when one googles “dance therapy” on the internet, one gets more references to Brittany Spears and pole dancing or random dance classes than one gets legitimate information on the nearly 50 year old profession of dance/movement therapy?

This latest spike in frustration was inspired by the recent feature on Anderson Cooper 360 that took a close look at a day in the life of Gabrielle Gifford’s rehabilitation at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Texas.

How is it that when Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited the hospital to get a hands on experience of a day in the life of Congresswoman Giffords’ recovery, dance/movement therapy was not included in the diverse list of therapies? Yes, music therapy was on the day’s agenda and, to Dr. Gupta’s credit, he really appreciated the power of music therapy to work “on developing … attention, memory and overall executive function.” This acknowledgement on a show as respected and widely viewed as CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 is a real boost for our colleagues in the music therapy profession.

But dance/movement therapy was NOT on the schedule and it was not addressed by Dr. Gupta – by name. However, a quick glimpse at the video of the music therapist, Maegan Morrow, reveals that she was incorporating movement with the music to help her patients improve cognitively and learn to walk again. “Lean 2, 3, 4, Push up, 2, 3, 4…” The diverse therapies at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital work together to rehabilitate patients from traumatic injury… and yet the experts on using movement psychotherapeutically, who are specifically trained in connecting through movement and facilitating movement and rhythm – for whatever end goal – are not on that team?

“The brain learns best when it processes cognitive, affective and psychomotor information simultaneously.” (emphasis mine.)
Dr. Michael Merzenich

This is fundamental knowledge to neuroscientists and to anyone familiar with “brain-based learning.”

Movement is not only integral to healing psychologically, it is integral to effective rehabilitation of the brain, to learning and to brain plasticity.

Though my peers and I ask these questions – how, how, how can the world not know? – we do so, of course, acknowledging the onus is on us, the dance/movement therapists. This is precisely why I blog on DMT, why I encourage my colleagues to do the same and why I am writing a book on the topics of this blog.

To read the rest of this post from the Moving Towards Understanding blog, click here.


It's been a while...

And after writing my thesis and graduating last spring, I have had a challenging time getting back to writing - whether it's on paper or at the computer.

I am busily engaged in my alternate route DMT courses, and came across this video on the ADTA website. It is lovely to see so many applications of dance therapy. Thought I'd share.

Watch the full episode. See more Experience.


Augusta Moore talks about Dance with Teens

Augusta Moore talks about how dance can help during the teen years. Watch her discuss release, expression, and direction dance can lend here.


Anna Halprin Breaks Barriers

Here is a post from Musings of a Dance/Movement Therapist blog about postmodern dancer and pioneer, Anna Halprin and the documentary about her, titled "Breath Made Visible." Halprin, turning 90 years old this year, lives in Marin, CA, and continues to teach and inspire others through movement and drawing.

The documentary plays in Santa Cruz on May 15th, 2010. Check here for more information on the film.


Music Heals.

The Dana Foundation newsletter recently released this article on How Music Helps to Heal the Injured Brain. Happy reading!