Three Dancer Identities that Help Create the Biopsychosocial Model of Movement

When taking an open-level, professional, advanced ballet class, there always appears to be a blend of different philosophies, thoughts and experiences for the individual dancer.

Some view their movement as either art, sport or therapy. While all three have some level of convergence in terms of their potential associations to one another, the individual’s mentality and behavior concerning their approach to the classic art-form is varied. A dancer who views ballet as a sport will be competitive and physically agile, the artist will be incredibly introspective and the therapist will be embodied.

The relationship between all three of these dancer identities, I believe, leads to an understanding of one’s self that can produce external and internal benefits as well as consequences.

However, understanding the benefits of dance is what I’m interested in focusing on today. Dance, by its very nature, appears to be a blend of a biopsychosocial model of treatment. The immense physical exercise increases blood flow and supplements dopamine chemicals in the brain, the expressionist component of dance allows for a healing of suppressed identities and the collective rhythm of dancers in unison provides a sense of belonging.

Creativity appears to be a therapeutic model that is able for individuals to express their traumas, thoughts, and emotions without verbalization.

Martha Graham said, “Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.” 

Dance Movement Therapy is a form of therapy that is applied by a Masters Level, clinician, that takes movements and forms of expression and applies them in a therapeutic manner.

Dance Movement Therapy has been proven to help individuals with trauma due to the somatic experiencing in common anxiety-related trauma disorders like PTSD, agoraphobia and major depression.

In ancient cultures, there have been myths and folklore associated with women drumming and dancing to ritualistic ceremonies that helped them align with their inner-feminity and spiritual self.

Movement is a way for individuals to tap into the unlocked aspects of their identities. It expands an individuals cognition and creates a sacred space that allows for the healthy identification of “abnormal” experiences.

Whether you embody the athlete, the artist or the therapist in your dancing, movement creates parallel associations that contribute to an integrated model of all three states of being.

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