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Introductory / Introduction



The official message for

World Dance Day

29 April 2012




  If you search the Global Dance Directory using "therapy" as keyword you get 2600 listings. This means that approximately one in every hundred dance professionals provides some form of therapy. Though 0.01% is a very small percentage, therapy is probably the most rapidly expanding branch of the dance industry. The proliferation of courses and workshops shows that the number of dance therapists has the potential to double every year. Qualified professionals are increasingly employed in hospitals, health centers, aged persons' homes, prisons or mental asylums. Private practices are multiplying, and so are conventional dance schools offering therapy classes.

     This boom might be due to the fact that curing through dance comes under the Ministry of Health in many countries, so the possibility of funding is incomparably higher than when dance is oriented towards performance or recreation. Another reason is that, since our modern way of life has alienated man from primary functions, people are rediscovering the power of dance to heal.

     Dancing certainly makes a healthy person feel better, but seeking to alleviate a manifest psychological problem through dance is another thing. Traditional societies have preserved well-being by providing frequent opportunities to dance in social gatherings and in rituals. Since these events have been abandoned our frustration has accumulated, so now we turn to sessions by professionals to satisfy that need. Specific dances have been used to cure some illnesses - research is required to find out if those dances can be used today for the same purpose.

     Even more impressive is the fact that patients have been cured not by their own dancing but by the dancing of another person. In many countries of the world people ask healers, shamans and witch-doctors to continue age-old practices because they find them beneficial. These dances, rejected so far by industrialized societies, deserve serious study.

     Modern dance therapy, though only a few decades old, has developed new techniques, only partially based on traditional practices. It produces a body of knowledge, theoretical as well as applied, and establishes its effectiveness. Much more needs to be done.

     We urge universities to launch dance therapy curriculums, governments to recognize dance therapists as a distinct profession and social security agencies to reimburse treatment by dance when prescribed by doctors, psychologists and other primary therapists.


Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID



 Dance Therapy




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