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  Healing Power of Dance:

The Healing Power of Dance

By Mike Rodriguez from Omni Salsa Dance Studio


Introduction:

Throughout the history of mankind, various types of dance rituals have been utilized for multiple reasons, including as a way to reach desirable physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual states (Mills & Daniluk, 2002).
In most cultures of the world, dance and music rituals are intricately related to the belief system of the group, as well as to the expression of various human experiences (Hoban, 2000).
Fortunately, in recent decades a great amount of research has been conducted to understand the effects of dance on the overall well-being of human beings (Loomis, 1999).
A vast majority of the research studies have yielded promising results about the healing power of dance, particularly in terms of how dance integrates different aspects of the self (Dubose, 2001).
Research in this area suggests that dance has many positive affects on the mind and body (Culligan, 1984).
This mind-body connection is a concept that many fields, such as the field of medicine and humanities, have studied in depth for many centuries (Levy, 1992).
In recent years, there has been an awakening about the importance of the mind, body, and soul connection, which undoubtedly contributes to a wholistic understanding of well-being (Evan, 1970).

Benefits:
Professionals in the fields of dance therapy and psychology have studied the effects of movement as a therapeutic approach for multiple types of human experiences. The therapeutic effects of dance have been exceptionally evident in the following areas:

1) Reduction of stress through the increase of endorphins and the decrease of stress hormones in the body (Gray, 2001).

2) Improvement of self-image through helping individuals to regain their sense of control over their physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual sensations (Meyer, 1985).

3) Improvement in self-esteem through the process of redefining their perceptions of self and purpose (Lemieux, 2001)

4) Improvements in verbal and non-verbal communication through the intentional interaction between individuals (Bannon, 1994).

5) Improvements in the interpersonal interactions between couples through the encouragement of meaningful connection and trust (Middelberg, 2001).

6) Improvements in cardiovascular functioning through the encouragement of physiological exercise (Cohen & Walco, 1999).

Additionally, research suggests that dance may be particularly useful for people who experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, given the effects that dancing has on regulating brain chemistry, as well as due to the emotional catharsis that occurs through the experience movement and music (Collard, 2003).
Research has suggested that individuals are more likely to adhere to an exercise routine when the experience is perceived as enjoyable and this is often the case with dance classes (Wininger & Pargman, 2003).
Furthermore, another advantage of being part of a dance class is that the environment encourages its members to socialize, which in itself can serve as an interpersonal healing experience (Hawkes, 2003).

 

© Mike Rodriguez, 2008
Written by Dr. Tania P. Rojas, PSYD

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Our Goal:

As dance instructors for the past 10 years, my brother and I have made a commitment to the field of dance. At a personal level, we deeply enjoy the pleasure that comes for learning and teaching new dance techniques to our students. The literature research that we have found about the benefits of dance, has only confirmed our own personal experience of what it means to dance and what it means to be a part of a group of people dedicated to nourishing their physiological, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Given our strong heritage in Latin rhythms, we have chosen to specialize in Salsa and other Caribbean dances. Our studio, Omni Salsa, is committed to teaching techniques that will empower every individual with new techniques, as well as with a sense of belonging to a community of dancers.

We encourage every individual to try one of our classes, in the form of individual and/or group lessons, and experience first hand the multiple benefits of dancing. You will have an opportunity to learn one of the most beautiful dances in the world and you will have an opportunity to reflect on how these new experiences can enhance your overall sense of well-being by creating harmony within various aspects of the self. Dancing promotes an integration of a healthy body, an alert mind, positive emotions, and an enlightened spirits.

In addition to individual and group lessons, our team of professional dancers is also committed to assisting in the progression of our dance team. Being in our team provides an additional benefit besides participating in the development of new dance routines; it also provides the possibility of being part of a group of people interested in developing the skills to work well in a team and it opens the door to establishing new meaningful friendships. We also encourage members to attend to dance socials, where they will have an opportunity to meet other dancers and continue the enjoyment of learning from one another.

For more information, please feel free to contact: Mike Rodriguez at 832-875-2846 or mike@omnisalsa.com. 5615 Richmond Avenue, Suite 150, Houston, TX 77057

We will be happy to provide you with assistance in determining your level of training and a plan that suits your lifestyle.

.

© Mike Rodriguez, 2008
Written by Dr. Tania P. Rojas, PSYD

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References:

Bannon, V. (1994). Dance/movement therapy with emotionally disturbed adolescents. Counseling Psychology 15 (1), 7-14.

Boris, R. (2001). The root of dance therapy: A consideration of movement, dancing, and verbalization vis-à-vis dance/movement therapy. Psychoanalytic Inquiry Special Issue: Messages derived from movement and body experience during exploratory therapy, 21 (3), 356-367.

Cohen, S. O., & Walco, G. A. (1999). Dance/movement therapy for children and adolescents with cancer. Cancer Practice, 7 (1), 34-42.

Collard, P. (2003). Interview with Petra Klein. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 16 (1), 9-14.

Culligan, J. T. (1984). Mind-body integration. Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 19, 33-48.

‘DuBose, L. R. (2001). Dance/movement treatment perspectives. In Robert-McComb, J. J.: Eating disorders in women and children: Prevention, stress management, and treatment, 373- 385.

Evan, B. (1970). The least movement of the body. Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 5, 28-40.

Gray, A. E. L. (2001). The body remembers: Dance/movement therapy with an adult survivor of torture. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 23 (1), 29-43.

Hawkes, L. (2003). The Tango of therapy: A dancing group. Transactional Analysis Journal, 33 (4), 288-301.

Hoban, S. (2000). Motion and emotion: the dance/movement therapy experience. Nursing Homes, 49 (11), 33-36.

Lemieux, A. (2001). Contact movement therapy for clients with eating disorders. In Robert- McComb, J. J.: Eating disorders in women and children: Prevention, stress management, and treatment, 355- 371.

Levy, F. J. (1992). Dance movement therapy: A healing art. Virginia, U.S.: American Alliance for Health.

Loomis, K. (1999). Road to recovery. Dance teacher, 21 (9), 84-86.

Meyer, S. (1985). Women and conflict in dance therapy. Women and Therapy, 4 (1), pgs.

Middleberg, C. (2001). Projective identification in common couple dances. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27 (3), 341-352.

Mills, L. J., & Daniluk, J.C. (2002). Her body speaks: the experience of dance therapy for women survivors of child sexual abuse. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80, 77-85.

Wininger, S. R., & Pargman, D. (2003). Assessment of factors associated with exercise enjoyment. Journal of Music Therapy, XL (1), 57-73.

 

© Mike Rodriguez, 2008
Written by Dr. Tania P. Rojas, PSYD

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Omni Salsa Dance Studio - 5615 Richmond Avenue ~ Suite 150 ~ Houston Tx ~ 77057