Kim Dunphy

Kim Dunphy – Bio


Kim Dunphy (B.A, Grad.Dip. Movement and Dance, M.Ed (Melbourne)) is a community dance educator who has worked extensively in the field of intellectual disability. Her experience includes groups for adults and children in day training centres and special schools in country Victoria, at Noah’s Ark toy library, Bayside special developmental school and BreakOut dance group in Melbourne.

Prof Member DTAA, (B.A., Grad Dip Movement and Dance; M. Ed; PhD, Cert IV TAE). Kim is a Mckenzie Post-Doctoral Fellow at the new Creative Arts Therapy Research Unit at the University of Melbourne where she will undertake research in dance movement therapy and establish training programs. Previously she was head of faculty, dance movement therapy at Phoenix Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Kim’s specialist areas in DMT include people with physical and intellectual disability, DMT in international development, and research and evaluation in DMT. She is also a director of the cultural community development organization Many Hands international which works primarily in the developing nation of Timor-Leste.  Kim’s many publications include Freedom to Move: movement and dance for people with intellectual disability, (with Jenny Scott, 2003, Elsevier), and articles in Australian and international journals. Kim is currently President of the DTAA.

Book Reviews

Edition: 2017 Vol. 14 Nos. 1-2

Therapists creating a cultural tapestry: Using creative therapies across cultures. (Editors: Stephanie L. Brooke, Charles Myers and 19 contributors C.C. Thomas, Springfield, USA [2015].) Reviewed by Dr Kim Dunphy.
The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing

Edited by Vicky Karkou, Sue Oliver, and Sophia Lycouris. Publisher’s description.

Dance and Intellectual Disability: current research and practice

Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 2

Keywords: Intellectual disability, integration, normalization, kinaesthetic awareness, body image, process-oriented, creative dance, KMP, performance, contact improvisation, autism, down syndrome, Dance Therapy

Page #: 8

This article offers an overview of dance practice with people who have intellectual disabilities. A brief survey of literature from Australia and the USA is followed by a discussion of some practical applications of current theory, including current groups and their activities.

Logged-in members can download this article: PDF format

Dance movement therapy in Australia: a survey of practitioners and practice

Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 3

dance movement therapy, Australia, dance therapists, Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australia

Page #: 51

This article reports the results of a survey of 41 dance movement therapy practitioners in Australia. Issues for dance-movement therapy practice in Australia were investigated within the themes of practitioners; programs and clients; and philosophical and industrial concerns. Overall, it was apparent that the dance-movement therapy profession in Australia is both diverse and homogenous: therapists’ professional orientations and backgrounds, and the types of settings in which they work, are very diverse, but therapists are much more similar in their ages, gender, cultural backgrounds and geographic location. The issues raised by the variation and lack of diversity are discussed, along with possible strategies to address them.

Logged-in members can download this article: PDF format

HEMF Research Grants Report: Developing an iPad app for assessment in dance movement therapy

Edition: 2015 Vol. 12 Nos. 3-4

assessment, evidence-based practice, Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation, technological innovation, disability, therapeutic goals

Researchers Sue Mullane and Kim Dunphy report on the progress of an iPad app they have been developing for assessment in Dance Movement Therapy. Mullane and Dunphy were awarded the Hanny Exiner Memorial Grant to support their work in this area, and the following report details their progress to date and future directions. The report addresses the main issue surrounding assessment in DMT – the “dearth of relevant and accessible frameworks and functional tools to collect data” and the subsequent lack of technological innovation which the iPad app seeks to address. (pp 44-46)



Book Review: The Therapeutic Use of Games in Groupwork

Edition: 2007 Vol. 6 No. 1

Book Authors
Naomi Audette & Wendy Bunston

Giving and receiving dmt supervision: a dance-movement therapy project in Timor-Leste

Edition: 2012 Vol. 10 Nos. 3-4

professional development, trauma, wellbeing, young people, disabilities, political unrest

Kim describes initiating a dance movement therapy pilot study in Timor-Leste (East Timor) by collaborating with fellow Australian DMTs Alexandra Jordan and Meredith Elton, to design and deliver a series of workshops offered to a range of groups during a fortnight in 2011. The historical and cultural context of Timor-Leste is briefly overviewed along with the professional pathways that led Kim to propose the project. Responding to political unrest at the time of their visit, discussions overview how the DMTs adapted their workshops to the anxiety and tension present at that time, with their focus mainly on professional development, as well as activities for young people, children with disabilities, and almost a whole village. The article concludes with Kim’s reflection on her own practice as well as the relational learning gained from offering the workshops and from supervision with Alex and Meredith. (pp 45-47)

‘Weaving the Threads’ Conference Report

Edition: 2007 Vol. 6 Nos. 3-4

professional development, evaluation, workshops, community, publication

The 3rd Australian Dance Movement Therapy Conference “Weaving the Threads” was held at the historic convent in Abbotsford, Melbourne in November, 2007. It was presented by the Dance Therapy Association of Australia (DTAA), in collaboration with Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation (HEMF). In this review Kim acknowledges the many supporting individuals to produce a highly valuable conference for the DMT profession. Conference streams included: Skill development in dance-movement therapy; Therapeutic applications of dance for specific populations and communities; Professional issues and supervision and Research and evaluation. Kim reflected that “Delegates enjoyed the different activities; the mix of formal presentations, workshops, performances and informal networking opportunities. These offerings by local, national and international guests provided wonderful inspiration for delegates. The final session included a very lively discussion about professional issues, especially those related to the future of our profession.” (pp 25-26)


ADTA International panel presentation

Edition: 2009 Vol. 8 Nos. 1-2

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)

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

Edition: 2009 Vol. 8 Nos. 3-4

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)

Developing A Framework For Assessment Of Movement And Dance Programs: for people with intellectual disabilities

Edition: 2011 Vol. 9 Nos. 3-4

intellectual disability, assessment, evaluation, electronic tool trial, teaching & learning, measuring progress

This article outlines a collaborative project being undertaken by two Melbourne based dance movement therapists to develop a framework for assessment in dance-movement therapy (dmt) programs for people with intellectual disabilities. Kim is contributing her developing expertise in evaluation of arts program, program logic and theory of change that is part of the focus of her current PhD research, as well as a background in dmt with people with intellectual disabilities.  Sue brings teacher training, special education and dmt expertise and the opportunity for reflective practice, with day to day experience facilitating a dmt program with intellectually disabled children.  In this article, Kim and Sue discuss their plans, what they are seeking to achieve and how this might be of benefit to dmts, especially those in the disability field. (pp 36-38)


Book Review: Growing Older Dancing On

Edition: 2003 Vol. 2 No. 4

Book Author
Jenny Czulak-Riley


Movement and Dance for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Is it Therapy, is it Art?

Edition: 2003 Vol. 2 No. 1

Intellectual disabilities, dance therapy programs, disability performance, community performance arts

This is an excerpt from the content:

This article “…addresses the oft-mooted distinction between dance therapy and other dance modalities and the appropriateness of these for people with intellectual disabilities. The article begins with a review of literature about dance programs for people with intellectual disabilities, especially writings that address this distinction. The authors then outline the complementary relationship they recognise between dance therapy, creative dance (recreational and educational), community dance and disability performance arts, based on their experience in these fields. The article finishes with a description of the factors the authors believe determine the appropriate choice of dance modality for any particular client or group of people with intellectual disabilities.”
(pp 2-8)