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From Dance to Dance Therapy
From Dance to Dance Therapy
Embodying the Healing Power of Art

by Txell Prat, Dance Movement Therapist

The oddest thing is that I had never thought of myself as a creative person, let alone a person gifted in dance. At that time I worked as a translator and, to tell the truth, I felt pretty lost. I felt my life was quite empty even if everything around me was OK. I had the feeling I had to access a deeper place in myself, but didn't know how to do that and had difficulties in expressing my emotions and my inner world, which I had difficulty to contact with and which I barely understood myself. Dance unblocked all that. All of a sudden I had a means to explore myself that enabled me to channel my emotions and feelings, as well as acknowledge and express my inner conflicts. I don't even know if I danced nicely or not, that was simply not relevant. Most important for me was the inner landscapes I could access.

I still remember my first dance class. It was in a studio with a pretty dim light in a small theater school in Barcelona. I vividly remember that, even with the dimness, I ended up dancing in the darkest and most distant corner of the studio, facing the walls. I was drawn to that corner by self-consciousness. Still after a short time I was entranced by the discovery of my own body surrendering to its own dance, to its own expression. I was going in and out of self-consciousness, getting lost in ecstasy, in an encounter with myself in which mind, emotion and body became one.

I first met the teacher of that class, Loreto San Juan, a couple of months before at a dinner with friends. It took me those two months to gather up the courage to attend her classes. I was intuiting that her work would take me to deep inner places and would dramatically change the path of my life. Indeed, that work did transform me and also led me to use dance as therapy to help others.

Loreto had previously taught creative dance to blind people. Her classes enabled you to dance from a very inner place. They were not choreographed dance classes. Instead you learned how to connect with your own dance. Soon I realized that I was dancing my own life and that dance was healing me. Even the most painful expressions of my soul came out with unspeakable beauty when I danced them, a redeeming beauty that enabled me to accept even the worst and see it from a new perspective. So I started a search to discover if dance could be used as therapy.

During this search I discovered Authentic Movement, an inner-directed movement technique, where the mover closes her eyes. It is one of the tools of Dance Movement Therapy and it has its origins in C.G Jung's psychology. I fell in love with Authentic Movement immediately. I was happy to start finding answers, to learn the very same question had been already asked by other women back in the 1940s. Dancers that came from modern and expressionist dance - more concerned with the expression of their inner world rather than virtuosity - had started to find out that dance could be used as therapy, venturing to work in psychiatric hospitals and similar settings. It was good to know that others had already walked this path, that there was a heritage on which to build, that I didn't have to start from scratch.

I kept dancing with Loreto and I practiced Authentic Movement whenever possible. After some time I realized I wanted to help others through dance, I wanted to take them where I had been and help them solve their conflicts with this magical, fascinating art. Very much in synchronicity, that very same year, 2003, a masters degree in Dance Movement Therapy in Spain was offered for the first time in the Autonomous University of Barcelona, a specialization in psychotherapy through dance. I didn't think about it twice. That training program helped me understand the working of what I had found out intuitively and provided a strong basis and structure for my future work.

Dance has always been a support for me in difficult times. I had used African dance to stay in touch with life and rooted to earth after a very painful separation. Belly dance helped me connect with my dormant femininity. Hindu dance taught me how to pray through movement. Improvisation has, among other things, opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that life and relationships have to offer and to the need of working creatively with boundaries in order to be able to make dreams come true. But the time dance has helped me most in my life was when I was diagnosed a serious painful illness some years later. Intuitively, I started to dance my symptoms and during a one-year-and-half process I finally created a solo dance that I performed in 2013. The experience of dancing my symptoms and openly showing the darkest and most vulnerable parts of myself in a dance before an audience was so transforming that I ended up developing a method to help others work with their physical illnesses through dance therapy, which I named "Illness as a Creative Process". The aim is not as much getting rid of illness as it is to transform the relationship with it, to start a dialogue with it, with the body, with its symptoms, and see what they want and need from us. In a very difficult moment in my life, dance came to the rescue once more.

In my experience, dance therapy offers many advantages over other therapies: personal processes are much more rooted; all levels of our being (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) are involved in the process; creativity is very actively awakened, something that is essential when one feels lost. Through conscious listening to the body, through metaphor and symbols, one connects with the magic of creation, which is essential in order to be able to go on in the face of difficulties and to transform life challenges into opportunities, or beauty, or confidence...

Most of the people attending my workshops are people without experience in dance, let alone professional dance. Still, therapy sessions and workshop dances have been more touching than any piece I have seen on stage. I have seen wonders: tears turning into rivers that bring new life; the energy of the sky and that of the earth lovingly meet in the heart of a tree; people embrace their shadows and re-empower themselves; conflicts between people turn into harmonious, playful dances full of beauty and empathy; the fiercest part of a person show its vulnerability; people flying with their feet firmly rooted into the earth.

The dance therapy space is a creative space where everything is possible, especially the encounter with oneself and deep healing.


Txell Prat

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Dance Movement Therapy Workshop facilitated by Txell Prat

Intimacy, distance, contact, absence, support, surrender, merging, differentiating, exchanging, begin, stop, resist, trust… In this workshop we will use dance and movement to explore relationships, allowing playfulness and improvisation to spontaneously bring about metaphors of our relationships in our daily life. We will thus become aware of our relationship patterns and their origins, and will be able to experience the creative potential that lies in encounters with others. Through dance and a playful attitude we will then open ourselves to new possibilities in relationships and will empower ourselves to transform them. 

We will explore all kind of relationships not only romantic ones.
You don't need to have experience in dance to attend. This workshop is not about choreography; it is about connecting with your inner dance and your creative body. Movements come from self awareness so they adapt to every body's condition. It's a workshop for adult people. Both women and men are welcome.

Dance Therapy Workshop - - Bonds & Relationships
Friday-Sunday, April 28-30
LifePath Center, Rinconada de La Aldea 29
info@danzainterior.com - - cell phone. 7771300556

More information about the Workshop:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1846291698972821/

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Txell Prat is Dance Therapist and Teacher. She holds a Degree in Translation and a Masters Degree in Dance Movement Therapy from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She is an Authentic Movement facilitator and a certified Dance Therapist in the Danza de la Vida® (Dance of life) method. She facilitates workshops since 2004 under the name of Danza Interior® (Inner Dance). She works as a Dance Therapist in private practice and she teaches in several Creative Arts Therapies training programs in Mexico. She has also been invited to offer classes and workshops at the Universidad de Las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) and at the Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). She has researched the links between Authentic Movement and meditation (Master’s thesis title "Towards the Middle Way through Dance Movement Therapy: A Comparative Study of Authentic Movement and Meditation", Dianne Dulcai Prize for Research in Dance Movement Therapy 2006). She has explored different dance styles and improvisation techniques with a number of dancers and performers, including Steve Clorfeine and Anna Halprin. Her last artistic venture was her solo dance “Nimubé” (2013).

www.danzainterior.com

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