This project for children has a therapeutic and educational nature and aim that encompasses the ‘experience of learning through the creative art therapies.
To experience directly through the body in movement in song the benefits of kinaesthetic intelligence; the intelligence of the senses that connect us solidly to the instinctive energies that promote health, well-being, confidence and self-esteem; also help us reconnect with the wild spirit within each child that often gets educated out of them.
We learn to dance the Tango! Thus learning about the South American culture from where it was born. We immerse ourselves in not only movement and music but also in art, in history, in a full sensory experience.
Through art, expressions and contributions in making the props and costumes the children get to immerse themselves in a process of ‘expressing their inner world’ as well as finding about about a completely new outer world, i.e. the Argentine Tango.
We also work with art when the children will be preparing the background for the final performance.
Art and movement enhance a process of integration as they are invited to explore different ways to communicate and be themselves.
“Unlike talk therapy, art therapy helps to build new networks through imaging, patterning, somatic sensory cues, touch and movement.” (Kapitan, 2010)
- The music has rhythms and melodies of different instruments, which offers the children a variety of ways to move. Usually the dance sets up the rhythm for the dancers and the steps designed to fit in to that rhythm in a certain way but this is not the case in Tango. There is no rhythm section in an orquesta tipica the Tango band. Each piece of music has a subtly different rhythmic structure; it becomes the third member of the dance, deepening the communication between the dancers and in the case of the children promoting ‘friendship, solidarity and altruism’ so essential for a healthy empowered life.
- Singing too is a big part of the project encouraging self-esteem, posture, good communication, and appreciation of art, emotional and physical enjoyment!
Stages of the project
The project is made up of two stages; dance movement therapy sessions and a final performance. Fun, gentle and vital dance movement therapy sessions as this is a good way to begin to dance.
“The psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance founded on the principle of motion and emotion being inextricably entwined. This relationship is the channel through which a person can embody a deeper connection with the self”. (Payne, 2006, p. xvi)
Dance therapy works very well for children for many reasons. One being that their spontaneity and movement through play and dance emerges often sooner than adults as they don’t have the repression of life experiences so strongly in their bodies and as a result of this can discover their vital creative energies and relationships that will give them for example confidence and self-esteem from an early age.
The Tango was chosen for this project because of its partner nature. The embrace reinforces links with another person and at the same time with oneself. Graciela Pesce explains in An Approach to Tango Therapy (Woodley & Sotelano, 2010, p. TCh109) that a dancing embrace intensifies the sensation of well-being. Parents embrace their children, brothers and sisters, therapists with patients; everybody participates in this human gesture that our culture put limits on. She says:
“I remember seeing a mother with her autistic son dancing a Tango with a close embrace in a very moving way. And a grandfather who went to see his granddaughter at the school activity, dancing with her for the first time to the music from his teenage years”.
The end of the project culminates in a performance for the children to show themselves, to be witnessed doing something that they have worked so hard to create. To have the experience and to have learnt skills about not only performance but also that are translatable into everyday life.
Didactic basis for the development of the unit:
Movements of connection
Sensori motor movements
Tango as a dance, as an encounter
Music as a creative way
To facilitate expression
To awaken the affects
To organise the sensitivity
Art as a creative pathway
Speak without words
See their work
Drama / Play
- a) Spontaneous development through play
- b) Acting the imagination
- Strengthening and building relationship with oneself, with others, with the environment
- A Holistic Integration of mind and body through their emotions
- Socialization and integration within a group system
- Non-verbal and verbal creative expression
- Body awareness
- New healthy self-esteem
- Muscular coordination and developing movement
- Fun and relaxation
Strategies of action
Each session is structured within the person-centred framework, which works with the elements of unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. In a dance movement therapy pathway, congruence would be expressed through mirroring or shaping and non-verbally reflecting a complementary quality. Unconditional positive regard through empathy that is reflected through the empathic body connection. (Stephanie, 2006, p. 12)
Stages of the sessions:
- A theme will be suggested for each session.
- A safe space is created each session
- Welcome each child
- Warming up our bodies
- Individual and group dances proposed
- Creative expression
- Relaxation space
- Dance movement therapy
- The power of Music
- Therapeutic Art
Approximately eight to twelve weeks would be needed for this project, with sessions lasting around three hours.
Evaluation of the childrens process / progress
The project will be evaluated by means of analysis of clinical notes kept by the responsible person. In addition, by a questionnaire for key workers/parents/teachers to complete regarding the social and emotional expressions needs of the child.
- Parents, Teachers and/or Carers with each child in order to be their support
- Microphone and Music System, to use during the final performance and in the rehearsals.
- Art materials, such as pens, crayons, glue, paint, coloured papers and additions that will be use during the sessions.
- Big paper rolls and finger paints to create the props and backgrounds for the performance.
- Clothes and adornments such as fabrics to dress up in. Hats and Wands. These will be used during the final performance and the rehearsals.
- Teddy bears and/or Soft toys to use on the stage during the performance.
I am a clinically qualified dance movement psychotherapist. Having trained in a humanistic person-centred framework at Dance Voice in Bristol, UK in ongoing research and practice. Orientated towards body and movement psychotherapy where a holistic integration of physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual elements is possible. The therapeutic relationship is as important to the process of healing, as is the spontaneity of movements and gestures, sensations and memories.