Research shows that the average hug lasts three seconds, yet many nonverbal signals happen within this quick time frame. By looking at some of the concepts through systems of movement analysis along with touch research, we can begin to understand the nonverbal dance that might occur within a hug. Here are a few concepts, oversimplified, of course.
Dance/movement therapy has the capacity to meet people with autism in many ways. This approach is not only unique, but unlike many treatment approaches in autism, the goal is to channel the communication patterns into “dances of relationship.”
As the year 2013 came to a close and we have now stepped into 2014, the tradition continues. Start fresh. Start new. Start again. Change. With any new start we inevitably must undergo a transition. We can learn a lot of lessons from nature about this active process as we examine the movements that a caterpillar undergoes during its transition into a butterfly.
Deborah Cohan’s viral video dancing in the operating room prior to her double mastectomy is encouraging people to “dance, move, and be in their bodies.” Can dance improve emotional and physical well-being with breast cancer survivors? Research says yes. The inclusion of the dance and the arts in healthcare has shown positive results.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh no! I don’t dance”? Is there something about dancing in particular that induce fears of vulnerability, embarrassment, humiliation, or shame? Why be afraid? Dance has the potential to reduce anxiety, stimulate memories, activate the brain’s pleasure circuits, regulate mood, and improve body image (just to name a few).
When we are in constant motion, not allowing for reflective and resting periods, our capacity to be fully present is inhibited. We need both movement and stillness in our life—in a creative combination—in order to integrate our experiences and inspire new insights. The importance of rest, pause, and release of tension, are all principles embedded in the art form of dance.
Why would dance be a vehicle to cope with daily stressors or even horrific tragedies such as the Boston Marathon explosions, or the Newtown school shootings? Studies have shown that dance, in particular, can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical outlets. Because dance in itself is innately an expressive art, it is a particularly useful tool in therapy.
Founders of One Billion Rising, a global effort to “strike, dance, rise” to demand an end to violence against women and girls, assert, “one billion women violated is an atrocity, however, one billion dancing is a revolution.” This brings more attention to the influence of dance in healing, providing the world with an invitation to understand their own meaning in motion.
It's that time, a New Year. How do we establish new patterns? How do we move forward and make changes and adjustments in our lives that become integrated as a new way of being in the environment? These changes often don’t just come from a place in your mind where you cognitively make a decision to “change.” In fact, there is a connection between emotions and body action.