Dance can create an environment in which people can get their hands dirty and really get into the groove in which the body naturally moves. By doing it in a way that is rhythmic in terms of rhythm and form, and has rhythm and form, it is in a way that people are getting into this state of energy where they are experiencing energy, which is very useful in a mental health context. We’ve found it to be particularly useful as a way to mediate feelings of anxiety and depression.
What other ways of engaging with dance could mental health practitioners and dancers tap into as well?
There’s a lot of dancing in the UK, both through mainstream dance schools and in the popular mainstream. We also have a couple of dance cultures that are less mainstream but still use it in their practices. I think there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm on the scene as well, which I think is very good. I see a lot of young people coming up to me and asking me to be their dance teacher. I think that’s the next step for mental health with dance.
How does this help with depression?
It definitely helps with depression. It’s quite hard to assess just from asking a question. I have a number of conversations with those who are struggling with mental illness that come up to me, and it really helps to get into the body-space. I can see what’s going on, I can help them to develop the confidence they need to be able to move through their thoughts and actions, which helps in their treatment.
You say that dance helps mental health practitioners and dancers tap into a mental health context. What are some of the specific ways that a mental health practitioner engages with dance?
We’re talking in a very small amount of space here! I can imagine a variety of activities and environments that would be very helpful in developing confidence such as workshops where people are allowed to get off the bus and have a dance class that engages the whole community and in an environment like a church where they have dancing on or in front of them, which would bring this kind of energy that’s quite helpful. There are a lot of social spaces where you can find an intimate dance experience and some of the more popular ones are dance and yoga classes.
Do any of your clients have mental health problems?
I do work with a number of my clients who have mental health problems. The work they’re doing at the moment is about developing skills in their skills and their routines and doing
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