It depends on the clients, the setting, and how you define dance. If you are a dancer and love performing and being on stage, then this kind of dance probably will not happen at your work. Although, this is not a hard and fast rule – you may encounter moments where you do dance, create, and perform alongside your clients. In my experience as both a dancer and a dance/movement therapist, I have had to shift my definition of dance. With some clients, I dance with them, creating choreography and movement phrases. I have also been able to perform dances with my clients in various recitals and showcases. However, frequently, the dances I engage in with my clients are much more subtle.
Dancing, as a dance/movement therapist, is done in the service of the clients. This service involves creating a safe, trusting environment and using one’s presence and therapeutic skills to elicit movement from clients. Sometimes, you will move with the client and, other times, you will witness them, acting as a mirror. If you can shift your definition of dance to include anything that unfolds in a session, you dance with many clients, many different ways, and in many different dances. Some dances are simply about the rhythm of the breath, or the ways we move our eyes – connecting, disconnecting, shifting focus from internal to external. Sometimes, we find ways to move our hands separately and together – squeezing, lifting, pushing, and pulling, flicking, chasing, poking, and playing. Other times, a dance/movement therapist will be more like a conductor, fully involved as a present witness, who guides, suggests, and offers verbal cues to enhance movement possibilities – not necessarily dancing with them, but still feeling like very much a part of the dance. When you open up the possibilities of what dance is, and what it can look like, there are many opportunities to dance the various dances that unfold with clients.