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Dance therapy comes to the aid of COVID-19 frontline workers, survivors, caregivers and families of victims

Organised by the Creative Movement Therapy Association of India and Project Barefoot Dance, US, dance therapists hope to address pain, stress and grief in ten free online sessions during April-July

April 19, 2021 / 02:53 PM IST
A trust exercise performed during a pre-pandemic physical session. India's first free online dance movement therapy programme for frontline workers and COVID-19 survivors that began on April 5, is a collaboration between Creative Movement Therapy Association of India and Project Barefoot Dance, California.

A trust exercise performed during a pre-pandemic physical session. India's first free online dance movement therapy programme for frontline workers and COVID-19 survivors that began on April 5, is a collaboration between Creative Movement Therapy Association of India and Project Barefoot Dance, California.

A few days into the nationwide lockdown last year, Tripura Kashyap and her fellow dance therapists were on the phone talking to each other about how they could help families confined to their homes with little movement. They soon scrambled an online therapeutic session for anyone who would be interested to join. It was free and called Movement on Weekend or MOW.

"People needed to move because they were stuck inside their homes," says Kashyap. "We began a very simple programme with focus on self-care under the difficult circumstances brought about by the pandemic," she adds. MOW was followed by sessions for children with special needs and another for the elderly.

A year later, Kashyap and others are ready with another free dance therapy programme, this time for the frontline workers, survivors, caregivers and families of victims of coronavirus. The ten-session online schedule in four batches, the first of which began on April 5, is aimed at providing the much-needed relief during the pandemic.

Dance therapy in India
Dance movement therapy (DMT), also called creative movement therapy, is a nascent alternative treatment in India that offers help in mental health. Dance therapists use movement of the body to induce feelings and memories for healing the mind. While there are no technical dance steps involved, therapists use some gestures from classical and folk dances to facilitate movement.