Dance Movement Therapy



Dance movement therapy (DMT) is defined by the EADMT as the therapeutic use of movement to enlarge r the emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual and social integration of the individual. Dance as body movement, creative expression and communication, is the basic element of Dance Movement Therapy. Based on the fact that the mind, the body, the emotional state and relationships are interrelated, body movement provides simultaneously  the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance movement therapy.


Objectives of DMT
The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defined them as follows:
- emotional and physical integration of the individual
- awareness of the body, the body boundaryand its relation to space
- a realistic perception of the internal image of the body
- acceptance and safe way of coping with stress in the body, anxiety, stress and suppressed energy

- the ability to identify and express their feelings in a safe and acceptable manner
- enrichment of the motional repertoire
- help to control impulsive behavior  


Objectives of our association dance-movement therapy
 In our association, we see the need to bring this specialization to the public. We want to prove that DMT (or its elements) finds its use  not only in institutions of special care, psychiatric institutions and hospitals, but also in mainstream schools, workplaces or in facilities for seniors. We think that DMT can become a suitable way for spending leisure time for people and develop their personality in a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual sphere. DMT can act as both relaxing and self-knowledge, to prevent the emergence of socially pathological phenomena, including preventing and relieving stress.
   Our goal is to meet the conditions for becoming a part of the DMT associations network and closer cooperation with foreign lecturers like Mgr. Ghekiere Niek and Sabine Fichter, who have been our great teachers during our studies at the Academy of Alternativa Ltd.. We also want to encourage communication between national professionals and thus build an open space for sharing, exchange of experiences, mutual help and inspiration.


 History of Dance 

Dance acompanies life of mankind from the very beginning of its existence, and always had a certain function in a man's life. It's goal was to ensure a successful hunt and favorable weather for agriculture of prehistoric people. Native shamans danced to heal the sick people and expelling  evil spirits from their bodies (which the aboriginal tribes practice until today). There were religion dances that adored the gods and should have ensured their favour and affection to the former people. Dances were part of rituals not only religious, but also the war ones. The warriors Dance in common rhythmic dancing to the sound of drums which encouraged them and induced trance caused a feeling of invincibility. People danced also for their entertainment and pleasure. Dance had alsos aesthetic role, either it was a choreography, which were part of the Greek Theatre or  seductive erotic "waves" of harem dancers. People didn´t want to give up dancing even when the church considered it a sin or a tool of the devil himself. This is evident in our very rich folkdance. Common people danced for joy, celebrating the nature and important events in human life - birth, transition to adulthood, marriage and death.

Nobility danced in the royal courts and the dance was considered an important part of education. Louis XIV himself was an enthusiastic dancer, who liked to held various ballets. Over time, the ballet professionalized and put emphasis on mastering techniques. Professional dancers had a very hard training which  was unnatural and body devastating. The paradox was that the dance looked gracefully and easily, dancers moved on tiptoe, as if gravity did not exist for them on the stage. However, there was a contradiction - the more sophisticated technology, the less space left for emotions that are so closely connected with dancing. It was then when "dance moves lost expression and became a parade for extremely demanding physical performance." (Dosedlová, 2012).


 Formation and development of DMT

Change seemed inevitable. A revolutionary step was taken by Isadora Duncan. She began dancing barefoot in a light flowing dress and returned freedom, naturalness and spontaneity into dance. She is justly regarded as the founder of modern expressive dance. In this regard, it is necessary to mention the other famous names closely associated with the world of modern dance: Rudolf Laban, Ruth StDenis and Ted Shawn, Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham, Jiri Kylian and more. It could be written a lot about these personalities and their work, but back to DMT. DMT began to form as a separate discipline after World War II and its pioneers were mostly dancers and teachers of modern dance who were strongly aware of the influence of dance on personality. Their cooperation with relevant experts enabled patients in psychiatric hospitals to express themselves differently than verbally. Marian Chace was a great inspiration for the development of DMT. This lady was one of the founders of the American Dance Therapy Association and became its first female president. There were also other important DMT specialists.  We can also mention Franziska Boas, who worked with psychotic children in New York, Trudi Schoop that connected dance and mime, Mary Starks Whitehouse and her method of authentic movement and Laura Sheleen who put into practice the so-called symbolic dance therapy.

The  Association for DMT was founded In the UK in 1982 and there are such proffesionals as Catalina Gravie, Lynn Crane or Helen Payne, who accepted an invitation to the conference Ars Terapeutica (2013) which was organized by the International Association of art therapies (MATU) in Olomouc.

French Society for Psychotherapy dance was found in 1984. France Schott-Billmann became its president. She practiced primitive form of dance therapy expression, which is now the most common trend in France. The European Association of Dance Therapy (AEDT) was  founded in 1993 thanks to the French initiative.


Currently there is also European Association of Dance and Movement Therapy EADMT (founded in 2010) active in the international arena which guarantees professional standards of practice, dance-movement therapists and develops active cooperation of member countries in the field of practice, education and research.


Used literature:

Dosedlová, J.: Terapie tancem, Praha, Grada Publishing, a. s., 2012.

Čížková, K.: Tanečně-pohybová terapie. Praha, Triton, 2005.