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China Daily Website

Dance becomes popular stress relief

Updated: 2013-06-28 02:42
By XU JINGXI in Guangzhou ( China Daily)

Effective therapy

Wang said dance therapy is more than stress relief. It can help bridge people's physical movement and mental activity to root out the source of emotional problems. It is also an effective adjunctive therapy for mental illnesses.

Tony Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Inspirees Institute of Creative Arts Therapy which offers training programs to professionals in China to help them become dance therapists, points out some common misunderstandings about dance therapy.

"Some people think that only professional dancers are able to do the course. But dance therapy is not dancing performance. It doesn't require participants to strike a ballet pose. How you move your body is up to you. Self-expression is what matters," Zhou said.

On the contrary, some people take dance therapy superficially for the purpose of physical relaxation similar to yoga.

"What makes dance therapy special is its combination of art and science. Besides modern dance, it also involves psychotherapy and Laban Movement Analysis," said Zhou, a member of an international advisory board for the UK journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy. LMA is a method and language for describing, visualizing, interpreting and documenting all varieties of human movement.

"Dance therapy cures people's emotional problems by bridging their physical movement and mental activity. The inconsistency of the two is the cause of emotional problems."

Dance therapist Wang further explains this kind of creative arts therapy with a metaphor: If a person is a tree, then his brain is the crown, reaching out all the time for sunlight and raindrops that can nurture the tree's growth. The roots are the person's emotions closely related to his inner self. What is between the crown and the root is the trunk — the person's body.

"A tree won't survive if the trunk, the passageway through which the crown and the roots exchange the nutrition they've got, is blocked. Dance therapy aims at relaxing the excessive restrictions on a person's body to connect his rational thinking and emotional feeling," Wang said.

She added that dance therapy also aims at clearing the "rotted roots", referring to the old wounds that the person ignores.

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