In this volume

2009 Vol. 8 Nos. 1-2

Returning to the Basics of Dance/Movement Therapy Or Coming Full Circle

Marian Chace, therapeutic relationship, symbolic movement, rhythmic movement, group therapy, mental illness

The following article was written by Sharon on her presentation given at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007.

This brief article overviews the concepts presented by DMT pioneer Marian Chace who worked using dance therapy from 1940 until her death in 1970. Sharon describes the essential elements used to build trust, support change and she overviews interventions focussed on by Chace. Sharon intended to “…provide some experiences to illustrate the way dance (in its broadest sense), the body, the role of the therapist, relationships with others, the process of a group all were part of Chace’s early observations and the way they affect dance/therapy practice.” (pp 2-3)

Breathing the dance: an experience of Middendorf breathwork

somatics, acupressure, hands-on sessions, breath dialogue, group work, consciousness

The following article was written by John on his workshop at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007.

John writes “Middendorf breathwork is a modality that fits well with dance therapy because of its emphasis on embodiment, on the kinaesthetic dimension of lived experience, and because of its orientation to wholeness. At the same time, this form of breathwork also has much to offer the field of dance therapy both in its way of working with clients and in terms of the therapist’s self care.” He describes a few exercises to illuminate breath awareness in the whole body, with the use of positioning, pressure points and vowel sound making. (pp 4-7)

Dancing the Moment: The Intersubjective Dialogue in Dance Therapy

MIECAT form of inquiry, Stern, presence, movement phrase, key words, in-dwelling, clustering

The following article was written by Heather and Sue on their workshop given at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007.

Sue and Heather led a workshop offering participants experiences of; presence, intersubjective dialogue through dance and recognition of moments of experiencing and the possibilities of co-creation and connection. The participants used some of the intersubjective, creative arts procedures from the Miecat form of inquiry to make sense of a moment of dancing with each other. Sue reflected on a significant moment from her witnessing a pair of dancers, by using and explaining the Miecat form inquiry ‘procedures’ to make sense of this experience. (pp 8-12)


Authentic Movement: Embodiment Practice for the Dance/Movement Therapist

collective, containment, witness, recall, embodiment, neonatal breathing pattern

The following article was written by Connor on her workshop given at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007.

This article stemmed from a workshop which explored experientially the evolving practice of Authentic Movement and through this moved the participants towards conscious embodiment, which ultimately allows them to be more present in their daily lives. The participants learnt to pay attention to their body on its own terms without superimposing a structure or an aesthetic viewpoint. Philosophical influences and references are woven in to describe this practice, through which Connor proposes “as we embody further aspects of our own Self, we can allow our patients/clients greater access to their fullest expression.” (pp 13-16)

Dance Movement Therapy, Communication and a boy with Autism

facilitated communication, video analysis, creative writing, Laban Movement Analysis, action research

Alice writes “This paper reports the progress made using dance movement therapy with a nine year old boy with severe autism. The dance movement therapy took place over a seven month period. The boy, whose name is Luke, used and continues to use Facilitated Communication to express himself through typing and his writings from this commentary form an integral part of the report. As Luke’s Speech Pathologist, as well as his dance movement therapist, I worked with him for some time before his behaviour improved to the point where dance movement therapy could became an option. This paper attempts to describe the progress that was evident to me and captured on the video footage. ” (pp 17-21)

Movement, Metaphor and Imagery

phenonmenology, Spinelli, drawing, subjectivity, body armour, lived experience,

The following article was written by Sharon on her experiential workshop given at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007. 

Sharon explains her practice “A focal point of the therapeutic work is the differentiation of awareness, expression of bodily experiences as well as expansion of the movement repertoire. By broadening the movement repertoire and dialogical processes the level of consciousness of the experience is sensitised and the new movement experiences are integrated into cognitive processes which aid the individual’s personality move towards a more integrated self. The expressive, adaptive and communicative behaviour can be observed as it is experienced through muscle tension, breath, posture, body attitude and movement. The Movement, Metaphor and Imagery experiential workshop provided participants with a safe creative space to explore dual polarities or conflicts located within their mind and body paradigms.” (pp 22-23)

SensingFeelingDancing the Chakra: dance movement exploration

research, Egyptian dance, Paqs Baladi, guided visualisation, kundalini, DNA

The following article was written by Maria on her experiential workshop given at the third Dance-Movement Therapy Conference – ‘Weaving The Threads’ – in Melbourne in 2007.

Maria describes her journey with dance, including her involvement in a professional dance research group experimenting with various body based modalities. Overviewing each chakra or energy centre in the body and it’s symbolic connection to the body, Maria explains her approach blending Traditional Egyptian and Middle Eastern dance forms, giving descriptive examples from her experiential workshop. (pp 24-26)

Letter to ‘Down Under’, LIFEdance! – Live your life, Dance your life & Transcultural Competence – exploring the body of culture

corporate consultancy, collective transformation, natural elements, professional development, transcultural competence, consciousness

Three articles by Sara:

  1. A letter of introduction to the work she planned to offer at two professional development workshops in Australia.
  2. An article about: “LIFEdance! is a facilitated process for personal and professional development that draws on DMT, leadership development, anthropology, performance, poetry, martial arts, coaching and neurolinguistic programming. The motto Live your Dance, Dance your Lifesums up the ethos of developing vital life skills through creative movement exploration and dialogue –both verbal and nonverbal.”
  3. An article based on extracts from Sara’s book chapter The Body of Culture (Boas 2006) overviewing the 5 level Transcultural Competence model and how it can inform and shape therapeutic practice, community and professional development. (p. 27-33)


The Body Knows When Guilt Distorts Reality: Dance Therapy with women who have been abused, physically or sexually, as children

active imagination, unconscious, dissociation, post traumatic stress, somatic memory, trauma therapy

This paper is developed from a presentation made by Anastasia at the 4th Pan-Hellenic Interdisciplinary Conference, Child Abuse and Trauma,  Athens, Greece, 2008, organised by the Greek Society for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse.

Anastasi draws on her work as Dance Therapist for the last 5 years, to write about the priceless contribution of the body in the therapeutic process. Drawing on various theorists in the trauma recovery and psychotherapy fields, she focuses on the issue of guilt and the distortion that it brings to the perception of reality, specifically for the woman who has suffered abuse in her childhood. (pp 34-37)

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ADTA International panel presentation

indigenous, cultural awareness training, dance education, professional development, research

Kim attended the 2008 ADTA Conference held in Austin Texas. This article is Kim’s presentation made as part of the International Panel at the conference. Mimi Berger, Chair of the International Panel, distinguished dmt and academic, ADTR, LCAT,  Program in Dance Education, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University, asked dmt representatives from all around the world to respond to the conference theme: DANCE THERAPY IN DIVERSE SOCIETIES and the issues involved in providing dance therapy services and dance therapy education in societies composed of various  groups…with differences in ethnicity, culture, religion, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, age, and physical capacities. Also to explore how cross-cultural applications of dance therapy expand our body of knowledge, and how our field might respond to this expansion. (pp 38-41)

The Body Remembers: My Rosen Journey

Rosen Method Bodywork, transformation, unconscious, healing, embodied memories

Marja gives a brief overview of her transforming and healing journey receiving Rosen and becoming a Rosen Method Practitioner. The method is described, including it’s origins and global influences. Marja shares a personal family story of grief and suffering and how Rosen supported her and her family to ‘undo the knots’ from this tragedy. (pp 42-44)

2009 Vol. 8 Nos. 3-4

Creative Movement, Healing Moment – Interviews

Turner syndrome, mother-infant relationship, creative arts therapy,transformation, qualitative research, clinical practice

Elizabeth Mackenzie interviews Elizabeth Loughlin exploring her professional journey and roles as dance therapist, dancer, studio dance teacher, social worker, writer and mentor. Elizabeth’s pioneering efforts to develop dmt within two Melbourne Hospitals include her research contributions nationally and internationally and advocacy within the medical setting for an arts-based approach to supporting women with Turner Syndrome. Her innovative approach offering an artistic therapeutic experience to the relational space between mothers and babies, including mothers with children with disabilities has been extensively documented, researched and taught by Elizabeth, whilst contributing to her foundational work in establishing the DTAA. (pp 2-11)

Dance For Mothers and Toddlers

separate self, space & form, poetic, connection, artistic expression, natural world

A creative reflection on what the dance is in the relational mother-child space, providing a way for exploration, expression and connection with the potential for the mother to ” see the spirit of the child and to share his effervescence.”  Touching on elements that support – includes music, props, collections from nature and ways-of-being that can nurture an imaginative leap and expand upon the emotional availabilities within the mother. (pp 12-13)

Dance Therapy

felt sense, internal landscapes, maladaptive patterns, Laban movement analysis, code of ethics, clinical work

We are pleased to be able to reprint the following article on Dance Therapy in Australia in this focus on Elizabeth Loughlin. It was published in the Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia in 2003 and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Currency House Inc. NSW, the publishers. It provides a valuable record and commentary on the development of dance movement therapy in this country.

This article gives a description of dance therapy and wide array of medical and psychological conditions it can be beneficial for as well as the settings it is offered within. Following this, is the historical development of the profession in America and Australia and the training pathways that have emerged to align the profession with a psychotherapeutic approach, with training options at post graduate levels. (pp 14-16)

Working with Elizabeth – Reminiscences of 1974

children, special needs, play, sensory motor stimulation, mother-infant relationship, group therapy

Jane reminiscences on her transforming journey meeting Elizabeth Loughlin, at the inaugural Noah’s Ark Toy Library, a catalyst centre for a whole new way of meeting the therapeutic aims, education and development for babies and children with special needs – through play. Aspects of their foundational work are shared, including the props, music and relational responding to the emotional needs of the mother-child bond, now accepted specialist approaches in psychological and psychiatric settings. (pp 18-19)

Intergenerational Dance/Movement Therapy

person-centred approach, dementia, group work, ritual, quality of life, compassion, community

Jessica was a Hanny Exiner Memorial Fund Grant recipient for this project, offering weekly sessions within in an aged care setting, with both young children and elderly people. Each week’s description is richly woven with small vignettes of experiencing for both the children and the elderly. Explorations within new relationships were provided with play, touch, spontaneity, singing and dancing combined with props and art making – whilst sharing special rituals and stories. (pp 20-25)


Dancing with Child Soldiers

trauma, restoration, reconciliation, circle dance, group drama, grief, community integration

The DTAA wishes to thank John Feffer, editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, who very kindly gave us permission to reprint this article from the online journal of the Institute for Policy Studies. The article first appeared in Volume 4 number 24. See

David introduced Sierra Leonean and Liberian counsellors to dance/movement therapy practice—in 2005, launching the first DMT group in West Africa; and in 2006, apparently the first DMT group anywhere for former child combatants. David’s psychosocial counselling team sought to merge two dominant models, synthesizing local knowledge with psychological practices that originated in the West, by helping the transformation of their suffering and rage through bodily engagement akin to ancient initiatory rites as well as through cognitive reframing and verbal processing. Powerful expressions of emotion and empathy emerged over months of group games, dancing and dramatisation, culminating in a healing group performance for their community. (pp 26-30)


Tell Me a Story – Dance Me a Dance

interpretive dance, descriptive language, kinaesthetic intelligence, literacy, Laban movement analysis, story making

This article was previously published online on the well known children’s literacy website:

Dafna writes ‘Children love to move and can use their kinesthetic intelligence to learn literacy skills. Theme and variation, descriptive language, beginning, middle and end, keeping track, and sequencing are all skills needed to be a good reader, writer, choreographer and improvisational dance maker.’ She describes this as a creative and engaging activity for sustaining children’s interest in stories, whilst activating their embodied imaginations. (pp 31-33)

Talking Point: Body/Mind

relgious practices, mind-body theory, dualism, scientific evidence, dance therapy philosophy

In 2008, a dance therapist brought to the attention of the ADTA listserve the following book review from the Harvard Gazette “Sobering look at ‘mind-body connection’ Scholar shows religious roots of current practices” by Amy Lavoie. It caused quite a stir and prompted quite some discussion – understandably, because the book would appear to challenge one of the cornerstones of dance therapy philosophy and theory, namely the integral connection of mind and body. We have printed below the article in full, by kind permission of the Harvard Gazette, and included some comments from the listserve. (pp 34-37)

A 3-D Perspective in Dance Movement Therapy: Define; Deconstruct; and Dance – Presented by Michelle Royal

professional development, personal exploration, group work, storytelling, supervision

This workshop took place surrounding the DTAA’s AGM in November, 2009.

Robyn reflects on her participation in Michelle Royal’s professional development workshop. Methods used included story telling and experiential movement to explore a professional question from different perspectives: the problem, the antidote and the space in-between. This concept was drawn from supervision work with Penny Best and was intended to be adaptable for use with clients. (pp 53-54)

When there is more than one: some considerations for managing group dance therapy – A workshop by Sue Mullane

intellectual disability, school setting, existential phenomenology, collaborative play, gesture, collective energy

Kim reviews the experiential workshop led by Sue Mullane drawing on her work with groups of children with diverse high needs, in a school context. Phases of the program including accompanied solos and collaborative group play are discussed, along with the philosophical influences framing therapy program. (p.55)

A Reflection on Lifedance

professional development, elements, integration, power symbol, experiential, corporate

Lyn reflected: “Sara Boas led us in a journey that gave us a glimpse into her Lifedance™ creation – a process she has developed over 25 years, and used with a vast array of clients. These range from community centres, political leaders, multinational organisations and the general public. We brought to the day a question on our development as dance therapists, and found the answer revealed in a response with the primal connection to the elements.” (p. 56)

LIFEdance! Live your dance, Dance your Life – A Reflection

nature elements, symbolism, professional development, co creation, quintessence, corporate setting

Anjali reflects on her experiences of a ‘LIFEdance’ workshop facilitated by DMT Sara Boas, described by Sara as a “facilitated process for personal and professional development that draws on DMT, leadership development, anthropology, performance, poetry, martial arts, coaching and neurolinguistic programming.” The use of the 5 elements from nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and wood, metal or quintessence became symbolic metaphors for exploring a significant professional question dynamically by using movement, play and sound. (pp 57-61)

Transcultural competence: exploring the body of culture

cultural differences, values, transcultural, intrapersonal, interpersonal, consciousness

Sue shares a response to her experiencing of Sara Boas’ experiential workshop, that “explored the five elements she has identified which enable the practicing therapist to ‘co-create’ a new cultural form or identity with their client, in order to fully meet their client as they exist in their context.” The exploration included embodying styles of greeting, story telling from various perspectives and embodied identification of different relational positions. (pp 63-64)


Professional Issues – Marketing and Promotion: Entrepreneurial Michelle Royal

professional development, advocacy, education, awareness, Medicare Levy

Michelle shares her challenges applying for positions to work as a DMT and raises the issues for professional understanding and inclusion of the profession. Moving On Editors note: “We feel that Michelle, in her situation, has turned a negative into a positive. She didn’t let the response daunt her but came out fighting to promote DMT.” (p.67)