Dance Movement Therapy

Senior Dance Club

What is Dance Movement Therapy (DMT)?

DMT, as defined in Canada is “a discipline in which certified Dance Movement Therapists use dance purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, holistic health, and well-being. DMTs use dance safely and ethically to communicate co-created verbal and non-verbal narratives, to address cognitive, emotional, physical, and psychosocial challenges. Dance movement therapy is the unique application of knowledge from 3 domains: dance, uses of dance in rehab/health settings, and psychosocial dimensions of dance.”

- Dance Movement Therapy Association in Canada, 2022

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Who Benefits from
Dance Movement Therapy?

Dance/movement therapy can be applied to benefit individuals across the lifespan (from childhood to old age) with a variety of developmental, mental, cognitive, physical, social, and psychological impairments and/or challenges. The goals of DMT sessions are structured to meet the client’s aspirations and abilities through a strengths-based approach. DMT may be experienced in a group setting with a particular population (e.g. children on the autism spectrum, older adults with dementia, etc.), or in one-to-one sessions. 

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What happens in an
Dance Therapy session?

While what happens in a Dance/Movement Therapy session varies greatly based on the population, each session typically begins with an embodied warm-up, then, the dance/movement therapist works to respond to the client(s) needs to explore a “release” through movement. The largest portion of a DMT session consists of a “theme” development, exploration, and resolution. The session will end with a meaningful movement closure.

 

Sessions may also involve the use of props (e.g. scarves, music-making), partnered dancing, mirrored movement, exploring different movement dynamics/qualities, verbal sharing and times of stillness/focus on the breath. 

Who Facilitates Dance Therapy Sessions at MCC?

In Canada, the field of DMT is growing and evolving. Currently, no Master’s level degree exists in Canada. Practicing DMTs in Canada must either have obtained their training abroad (e.g. United States, Europe) or have completed the Alternate Route DMT program at the National Center for Dance Therapy in Montreal, as well as another Master’s degree in Psychology/health. 

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