The Healing Power of Dance

I have always loved to dance. I dance to old school hits with friends while drinking wine and reminiscing. I dance with family at reunions and gatherings, at the club with strangers, in my kitchen all alone and in stuffy studios where technique and discipline are the primary focus.

Dance is very important in my life. It brings me joy, it makes me feel good and it keeps me looking good,  cause the gym is not my friend and dance is the only real exercise I do. 

While I most enjoy communal dance, recently I’ve been experimenting with dance  as a daily practice and form of meditation to connect with myself and with Spirit. The body holds wisdom that can lead to greater self-awareness and one way to tap into this wisdom is through dance and creative movement.  

Dance therapist Anna Halprin said: Movement has the capacity to take us to the home of the soul, the world within for which we have no names. Movement reaches our deepest nature, and dance creatively expresses it. Through dance, we can gain new insights into the mystery of our inner lives. When brought forth from inside and forged by the desire to create personal change, dance has the power to heal the body, psyche and soul.  

I have found this beautiful statement to not only be true for me in personal practice, but also for the individuals and communities I have worked with. In addition to dance being an excellent vehicle for self-expression and developing greater awareness, dance is helpful in treating depression, relieving stress & anxiety and it supports trauma recovery. Dance heals. 

Here is a simple daily practice for you to try 

You will need- A song, a word, a notebook and a pen. If you choose a short-average length song it’ll take only 10-15 minutes to complete this practice.

First, decide how you will start- sitting, standing or lying on the floor. You have your one word, and you’ve got your song.  Start your music, be still, focus on your breath and bring the chosen word to your awareness. 

Next, notice where you feel the energy collect in your body. Slowly, let that part of the body lead and explore where the movement takes you. 

From this exploration choose 3 movements or gestures and with these three movements or gestures, create a movement sequence. 

Repeat this sequence, experimenting with tempo (fast/ slow), size (big/small) and energy (light or gentle/heavy or strong). Continue until the song ends. 

Take a moment to be still and focus on your breath for a few moments. Then play the song again and follow the same movement sequence or improvise using your three core movements.

When you are done, grab your journal and note anything that may have come up for you during the process. 

What kind of  word should you start with? It’s really up to you, some words I have used in my practice include

Joy  Fear  Love 

Darkness  Longing Pride

Hope  Patience  Acceptance

If you don’t consider yourself a dancer, right now you might be saying, “This is nice and all Shanel, but I don’t even know where to begin with the movement.” For you I have this handy list to help get started. Experiment with different levels (high/tip toes, mid level/standing, or low/kneeling or lying down) and use various parts of your body to play with some of these movements


Jump  Shimmy  Dip  Sway

Push  Pull  Slide  Spin 

Turn  Stretch  Tap   Shake

Bend  Lift  Roll  Kick

Step Stomp Drop Reach




There are many ways creativity and the arts can support your healing and personal growth.  If you are interested in gaining a deeper connection to self and the world around you through a unique healing arts process, Contact Me today to learn more.






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