Dance Liberating the Mind and Body

By: Melanie Buttarazzi

Dance a physically expressive art form, that has been around for centuries. Now being used to heal the mind through movement. Combining both music and movement in a therapeutic way has proven to be extremely impactful on trauma survivors, individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress related illness.

One of the earliest uses of structured dance was introduced in religious ceremonies that told the stories of ancient myths and gods. Egyptian priests used this kind of visual storytelling in their rituals. Modernn dance history in Europe started with Renaissance, when many new dances were invented.

Most people understand the physical health benefits of dance and how it can improve their cardiovascular endurance, balance, muscular tone and coordination. Not only can dance be a ton of fun, but it can lower stress, anxiety and boost one’s mood. Most people are unaware of the numerous mental health benefits that come from dance and movement therapy.

DMT is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being.” 

Practitioners use dance as a psychotherapeutic tool to help people express their emotions in a way that integrates what they think and what they feel.

“Movement becomes more than exercise—it becomes a language. People in treatment communicate conscious and unconscious feelings through dance, which allows a therapist to respond in kind. Dance therapists help people work on issues through the use of a “movement vocabulary” that is centered around physical expression instead of word. The roots of dance therapy can be traced back to the modern dance movement of the 19th century. The movement grew from the idea that dance could go beyond simple entertainment and be used as a form of communication and expression. In other words, emotional content was infused into dance.”

With over 20 years of dance training, In my current teachings I've comprised modalities of meditation, dance therapy, and ecstatic dance to help people find freedom within their mind and body and bring joy to their life.

Imagine a world where all people of any age can be fully self-expressed, unafraid to be who they are, and live in their truth. That's a world I aim to create in my dance classes. To dance is to be free. If we can tap into our joy, and the freedom to be who we are and embrace it mind, body, and soul, I think we can live a mor