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What is dance/movement therapy?

DM Therapy

Dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.

– The American Dance Therapy Association

Dance therapy is based on the principle that body-mind is in a constant reciprocal or bi-lateral relationship.  When we are moving, dancing, running, swimming, playing, we notice a shift in our mood and our thoughts change in content or pattern. We often feel “better” … and perhaps leave it at that. I often hear, “dance, it’s ‘good’ exercise”. Moving helps us feel better.

We know that this relationship works both ways. What and how we think and feel emerges in our bodies in movement.  Movements may be the smallest tensions, internal clenching to large expansive movement, like the anxious knot in the pit of one’s stomach, the narrowing between eyebrows when we are puzzled, the catapulting air moment of victorious exultation. We feel our ‘feelings’ in our bodies and use “body language” to create a canvas for what we are saying.

Dance/Movement therapy is one of the licensed creative arts therapies (LCAT) in New York State. The credential BC-DMT signifies the dance/movement therapist has achieved board certification by the American Dance Therapy Association permitting him/her to work in private practice. More information about dance/movement therapy can be found at

Movement is the medium in which we live.

– Marian Chace, founder of the ADTA

Dance is the high art of movement, it is a celebration of the human experience. 

Dance is the celebration of individual expressiveness in movement, moving body language into centerstage as a primary expressive tool. Dance is also the celebration of community and the cultural life of people.  The rhythms, formations, and role of dance to honor individual roles and communal changes is documented to pre-historic times.  Dance and movement are with us from the beginning, as individuals developing in utero and through our evolutionary journey.

Dance/movement therapy is both art and science.  It is the art and science of connecting with the unique individual or group, how the dance/movement therapist uses movement tools to build trust, develop relationship, foster support through shared rhythm, synchrony of experience, symbolic and imagistic movement.

  • Dance/movement therapy offers a way of tapping into the vitality of being alive and a way of expressing all that it is to be human.

  • Dance therapy offers a way to making conscious connections between emotions and movement.

  • Dance therapy offers a way to be seen, understood and accepted, to hold and let go, to embody all that we are, grieve what we no longer have, and find hope for what we are yet to be.

Common factors of growth and integration happen through conscious awareness of body, expansion of movement qualities, range, eliciting imagery, supporting and enhancing coordination, and fully developing movement expression meaningful to individuals and within a group. The science of dance/movement therapy is broad sweeping and lies in understanding the fundamentals of dance individually, socially as well as culturally.  It rests in the understanding of the neuro-muscular activity of our bodies, qualitative and quantitative aspects of movement range, developmental patterns, and an ever widening and deepening understanding of our body-mind relationship. It incorporates psychological, developmental and learning theories that support the individual and group to move toward their best health, emotionally, physically, cognitively, and socially. It is the science of understanding the components of dance that are innately therapeutic and pairing this knowledge with the therapeutic process for an individual as well as a group.

The art of dance/movement therapy is how the therapist joins and progressively moves each individual or group toward a larger palate of movement, coaxing individual spontaneity and utilizing emergent movement patterns, symbols or images to foster growth and integration. The art is in the process of the dance knowing where the client is, what the goal is and that the dance between start and end is a well-informed process and creatively unique to the individuals in the room. The emerging choreography is dependent on the uniqueness of the client’s experience, creativity and expression.

What does dance/movement therapy look like?

DM Look

Dance/movement therapy comes in many forms and in my 20 years of practice each session is like a snowflake, no two are exactly alike.  Unlike traditional dance classes there are not a set of steps or a distinct protocol. Click below to see a clip from a dance/movement therapy session, JOY OF DANCE: a dance/movement therapy group for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Joy Of Dance
Play Video

Marie’s current practice

Current Practice

Individual dance/movement psychotherapy, movement re-education

Monday in NYC is now virtual teletherapy due to the Pandemic:

Individual dance/movement psychotherapy. 

Individual movement re-education 

Moving Body Resources

112 W. 27th Street


Joy of Dance has resumed!

Weekly on Fridays in Brewster, NY, please call in advance to ensure we are meeting.

Masks are required.

Joy of Dance: a dance/movement therapy group for people with Parkinson’s Disease

Seven Star School of Performing Arts

Brewster, NY

Individual dance/movement therapy sessions for people who are home-bound, in Putnam County or surrounding towns, may be scheduled by contacting Marie. 

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