Current Trends in Dance/Movement Therapy

Mugdha Shivapurkar

“Movement is the medium in which we live our lives.” – Marian Chace

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is a field that holds incredible potential and capability to develop. In the past few years, the world of Dance Therapy has grown and extended, accomplishing new heights every day. DMT is practiced in various clinical settings and is used for psychotherapeutic as well as physio-therapeutic purposes.

Dance has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Though dance has been a mode of expression for ages, it wasn’t until the past half century, that it was considered as a form of therapy. The concrete establishment of dance as therapy occurred in the 1950s, with Marian Chance, who later founded the American Dance Therapy Association.

Research holds an important place within DMT and occurs at different levels within this practice. It allows the DMT practitioner to evaluate the outcomes of their work. Research can also be carried out to advance in the profession, by looking at new avenues and through findings from conference presentations and publications. A variety of methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative, arts-based approaches are used to study DMT. Many studies have recently been conducted, which are helping Dance Therapy in receiving more recognition and popularity.

A Cochrane review titled Dance/movement therapy for cancer patients, was conducted in January 2015. The three studies in the review included a total of 207 participants, who were women with breast cancer. The findings of individual studies suggested that dance/movement therapy had a beneficial effect on the quality of life, somatization and strength of women with breast cancer. Besides, there were no adverse effects of dance/movement therapy interventions.

The most recent Cochrane review for DMT was in February 2015, titled “Is dance movement therapy an effective treatment for depression? A review of the evidence”. The findings of the research stated that overall there was no evidence for or against DMT, as a treatment for depression, although some evidence suggested, that DMT is more effective than standard care for adults. There was a large positive effect observed for social functioning.

Another review of the effect of DMT on Parkinson’s disease noted that DMT appears to meet most requirements for exercise programs for patients with Parkinson’s. Benefits in gait function, balance, and quality of life were found in short-term studies, though further studies need to be done to see if any of these benefits are seen long-term.

Many international organizations are working towards taking Dance and Movement Therapy Forward. These organizations were established in order to uphold high standards in the field of DMT. Such associations help connect individuals to therapists and DMT.

The American Dance Therapy Association

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) was founded in 1966 by Marian Chace, the first president of the ADTA, and other forerunners of creative movement. Along with setting standards, that therapists must attain to become licensed therapists, ADTA keeps an updated registry of all movement/dance therapists who have met ADTA’s standards. In addition, ADTA also publishes the American Journal of Dance Therapy and sponsors annual professional conferences.

There are only 6 ADTA approved master’s programs from which to earn Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) credentials: Antioch University New England in New Hampshire, Columbia College Chicago in Illinois, Drexel University in Pennsylvania, Lesley University in Massachusetts, Naropa University in Colorado, and Pratt Institute in New York.

The Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy, United Kingdom

The Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy, United Kingdom (ADMP, UK) was one of the first organizations established to regulate the field of Dance Therapy. ADMP, UK, accredits therapists and oversees that all regulations are followed.

There are five universities in the United Kingdom that offer graduate programs in Dance Movement Psychotherapy and have been approved by the ADMP, UK: Dance Voice Therapy and Education Centre, Bristol, Edge Hill University, Goldsmiths University of London, University of Derby and University of Roehampton.

The International Dance Council CID, Paris

CID is the official umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world. It is a non-governmental organization founded in 1973, within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based. It brings together the most important international, national and local organizations, as well as select individuals, active in dance. It includes every form of dance from classical, ballet, modern, folk, ballroom, Oriental, Tango to therapeutic, recreational, revivalist etc.

The members of CID are specialists in cultural studies, art historians, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologists, medics, choreographers, dance teachers, dance therapists, dance film directors and other professionals.

CID’S 49th World Congress on Dance Research – LINKING WORLDS THROUGH DANCE will be held at Dadar-Mumbai, India, from the 7-11 December 2016. For details of the conference please visit –  http://www.cid-portal.org/cdr/index.php/dadar-mumbai-india.

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