Throughout the years, these books, resources and programs have been helpful to me and my students.
I am sharing my resources with those of you who are interested and curious, like me.
Dance Movement Meditation and 5Rhythms®
For more information about the 5Rhythms® and founder Gabrielle Roth, please visit the website:
Wikipedia has a nice general background about 5Rhythms® and Gabrielle Roth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5Rhythms.
For books, music, accessories and a bit more, please visit www.ravenrecording.com
Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice Paperback, by Gabrielle Roth, Founder of 5Rhythms®
In ‘Sweat your Prayers’, internationally acclaimed movement and theatre artist, author and music producer Gabrielle Roth brings to us the ground-breaking insights of her lifetime of teaching personal and spiritual development. Her cutting-edge workshops have been attended by thousands worldwide…. This book is expedition through five universal rhythms – flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. …Each is a practical tool of awakening that will release us to dance on the edge, to be outrageous, to transform suffering into art and art into awareness. Embracing the rhythms as spiritual practice is a dynamic way to free the body, to express the heart and to clear the mind…. It is Western Zen, a liturgy for life in the new millennium….how the five rhythms have transformed people around the world.
Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth
Gabrielle’s internationally acclaimed first book that takes us on a healing journey through the terrain of the body, heart, mind, soul and spirit.
“I love Gabrielle’s unique, poetic, down-home funky style. She has been a constant inspiration to us creative people around the world. Maps opens the door to living an ecstatic life.” — MARGOT ANAND
Connections: Threads of Intuitive Wisdom by Gabrielle Roth
Once you awaken your intuition and get in the habit of listening to and acting on it, every decision in your life will become reflective of your inner truth. The trick is not to try to work out all the answers in your head. Rather, take whatever information you need into your body, trust your gut, then dance or meditate or walk or do whatever you need to enter a relaxed state of being and you’ll know what to do. You always have and you always will. — from Connections.
If you are interested in the “Being” of dance, an interesting read is a book called The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making by Andrea Olsen and Caryn Mchose, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown CT, 2014
How can Dancing be Good for the Brain?
While doing some research on dance, I was personally surprised that dance movement could actually be used as a form of psychotherapy.This type of psychotherapy is called Dance Movement Therapy or DMT.
Here is an impressive article spearheaded by Marko Punkanen, PhD who is a dance movement therapist and trauma psychotherapist. He explains how “body movement, being fundamental to the perception and production of emotion” should be considered as an approach utilised in the treatment of depression.
Another article by Vicky Karkou et. al in the journal Frontiers in Psychology explained that
Dance Movement Therapy is an effective intervention in the treatment of adults with depression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6509172/
Is Dancing Good for your emotional state?
YES. Here is some research that blew my mind from Frontiers in Psychology, authored by Tal Shafir entitled, “Using Movement to Regulate Emotion: Neurophysiological Findings and Their Application in Psychotherapy.”
By deliberately controlling your body movement, you can actually regulate your emotions and affect your feelings.
Emotion regulation is one of the goals sought out in psychotherapy and one of the most important skills a person can learn to help him/her with work and establishing healthy relationships.
This is the concept used in dance movement therapy or DMT where the therapist guides the patient to move in a certain way and the patient is able to elicit, process and regulate certain emotions. The exploration of new and unfamiliar movement can help the patient experience new emotions and feelings that he is not accustomed to. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033979/
In the United Kingdom, here is where you can find a specially-licensed Dance Movement Psychotherapist:
In Europe: European Association Dance Movement Therapy
In the United States: American Dance Therapy Association
In Canada: Dance Movement Therapy Association in Canada
In Australia: Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australasia
International Dance Therapy Institute or Australia
In India: Creative Movement Therapy Association of India
In the Philippines: Dance Movement Therapy
In New Zealand: Dance Therapy New Zealand
Is dance movement training superior to repetitive physical Exercise?
Research shows that dance movement training may be superior to repetitive physical exercise to counteract the effects of aging on the brain. Here is the link:
This research was spearheaded by Kathrin Rehfeld et al from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Germany. They created a dance six-month long dance program on 38 participants (ages 63-80 y.o). And they found that dancing, compared to regular physical activity showed pronounced differences in brain volume in different areas of the brain like the cingulate cortex, insula.
The interesting thing about this research is that only dancing showed an increased level of plasma Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4697050/
Decreased levels of BDNF are related to diseases with neuronal loss such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. Thus, increased levels of BDNF may be useful in the prevention or management of these diseases.
What does scientific research show on the benefits of dance?
There is scientific evidence from the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute that show how dance can reduce stress, help you feel good, improve your brain functioning in tasks related to executive function, memory and spatial awareness.
While the tagline for my class is “Dance as if nobody’s watching,” This Time Magazine article is interestingly entitled, “Dance like your Doctor is Watching: It’s Great for Your Mind and Your Body”
Very exciting for me is the increasing research on the benefits of dance and psychological wellbeing: Christopher Bergland explains, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-athletes-way
Why Dancing is Good for Your Brain: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/why-is-dancing-so-good-your-brain
There is also some research from the reputable New England Journal of Medicine that shows that dancing may improve memory and may be associated with the reduced risk of dementia. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa022252
Dance Helps increase flexibility which can help reduce joint pain and feeling sore in the body after exercise. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/health-benefits-of-dance.aspx
Dance promotes release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, described by researcher Radha Agrawal at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of Berkeley as D.O.S.E.
Here in this link: https://www.daybreaker.com/dose/
I was very inspired by these powerful Ted Talks: by Natalia Duong from Stanford: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9gAe9H5Rok
Another powerful Ted Talk by Federico Bitti on Dystonia, Rewiring ther brain through movement and dance
I hope that you enjoy reading these resources and find them beneficial to your health and well-being.
Hope to see you in my class.
And dance like nobody’s watching!