The Role of Creativity in Dance/Movement Therapy

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The beauty of continuing my education at Columbia is that I still have an opportunity to express myself artistically .  Each year, there are two opportunities for me to not only perform but also choreograph.  I am thrilled at the fact that Columbia’s campus fosters an environment filled with artistic freedom, and as I am continuing this program in dance/movement therapy and counseling, I am beginning to understand the integral role that creativity plays in providing healing through dance.

For one of my finals, I was required to choreograph a short piece that was a reflection of what I have learned about myself this semester by partaking in the weekly DMT movement labs.  As I finish up my Dance/Movement Therapy Theory 1 class, I have come to better understand why creativity is such an integral part of dance/movement therapy.  It is through creativity that I can learn how to improve my movement repertoire.  By exploring different methods with which I can move, I have come to better understand all of the choices in my life.

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When I think about why creativity is such an important part of my life, many things come to mind.  First of all, it is simply fun.  It is fun to explore different possibilities.  Second, it is expressive.  Creativity allows me to discover new ways through which to express myself emotionally, both physically and verbally.  Third, creativity enhances my ability to problem solve by further connecting the right and left hemispheres of my brain.

So why are these three aspects important to consider when doing dance/movement therapy?  First, creativity is something that gives me the freedom to explore.  It is fun to have the opportunity to find a new way of doing things, especially when it comes to movement.  For me personally, I have discovered that creative movement allows me to increase my movement repertoire thereby changing the way I feel.

Second, creativity gives me more choices to express myself.  I have noticed that it is easy to tuck my emotions away under the surface.  However, creative movement allows me to access these emotions that continue to live in the body.  Movement also allows me to release these emotions, and in doing so, create awareness that these emotions are present.  I am then able to make associational linkages from the creative movement I am experiencing with symbolic meanings or past memories.

Finally, I noticed that creativity allows me to connect both my right and left hemispheres of my brain.  I have found this to be particularly true while working through dance/movement therapy exercises, as they give me the opportunity to not only move what I feel but also verbalize what I have experienced.  I am able to connect my mind and body by finding what I can implicitly remember through movement and then further processing my emotions by discussing what was felt.  I can find symbolic meaning in the impulsive movements I express during a session and use this knowledge to problem solve in similar situations throughout life.