Achieving therapeutic goals through dance!
The use of dance as therapy is an emerging topic of study in the rehabilitation sciences. Besides the fitness element dance has to offer, there is evolving evidence that dance can provide individuals with social, physical, and cognitive benefits, (Scharoun, Reinders, Bryden, & Fletcher, 2014) in addition to emotional and behavioural functions, which traditional therapy may not provide (C. Lopez-Ortiz et al 2012).
Dance can also improve self-awareness and social communication (i.e. empathy, expression) (Scharoun et al., 2014). Dance, specifically ballet, focuses on increasing flexibility, strength, postural control, and motor control, which are all therapeutic benefits for children with cerebral palsy (C. Lopez-Ortiz et al 2012).
Furthermore, dance can provide physical benefits such as increased coordination, strength, endurance, and motor abilities along with social benefits including increased self-esteem and self-confidence for individuals with Down Syndrome (Becker & Drusing, 2010).
Overall, the use of dance as therapy allows one to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual (American Dance Therapy Association, 2009).