Senior Project Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Young

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


Dance Movement Therapy, resilience, healing, decolonization, trauma, education


This paper aims to outline the way dance allows us to reconnect with our present selves, to accept ourselves, and to foster resilience. Providing background on the history, theory, and psychology behind Dance Movement Therapy I will discuss the ways dance and movement can help us process the past in cases where words fail us. I will also discuss dance as an impetus for reconstructing healthy and trusting relationships. Considering the intense ways stress manifests itself in the body and the affinity children have for movement, this paper aims to elucidate the importance of dance and movement programs in schools as a healing modality. Taking a proactive, rather than reactive framework, this paper offers dance as a potential platform for trauma prevention. Moving can reduce adverse mental health experiences by allowing children to process their pasts and their daily lives. Dance allows students to practice resilience through rooting them in their physical bodies, present moment, and classroom community. These concepts are demonstrated through an examination of current dance/movement integration in schools, and words from current dance/movement educators. Including a personal account of movement as a source of expression and growth in my own life, this paper will outline the incredible value dance could add as an integral part of the education system. Movement is not only a catalyst for healing, but a decolonizing force with the potential to promote awareness and value of diversity across all bodies and abilities.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Dance therapy for children; Post-traumatic stress disorder in children--Treatment; Dance in education; Public schools--Curricula






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