Footloose

Natasha Agrawal, a marketing professional, quit her job to help people connect mind with body, and manage stress through dance movement therapy.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Updated: May 11, 2014 4:13 pm

To help people explore inherent movements, Natasha Agrawal (32), a dance movement therapy trainer, set up ‘Three Left Feet’ in 2010. After learning the science and art behind dance movement therapy from renowned artistes like Tripura Kashyap and Sohini Chakraborthy, she made imparting dance movement therapy the objective of her dance company.

“I believe that dance is all about movement, which is present in every person, like a tap of the foot or a shrug of the shoulder. Dance movement therapy helps people be happy, and manage stress, anger and depression. It connects the mind with the body,” said Agrawal, who earlier worked as a marketing professional in a global consumer products company. In 2007, she decided to quit her job and take the plunge towards being a full-time dancer.

Besides holding open sessions, Agrawal conducts dance therapy movement classes for several non-governmental organisations, foundations and special homes. She works with rehabilitated children of sex workers, senior citizens, differently abled, visually impaired, and those with hearing impairment. ‘Three left feet’ also has a counsellor, who is available after therapy sessions.

The classes begin with a soothing music being played in the background to the tune of which participants loosen up. Then everyone gets together in a circle and the class kicks off with basic rhythm. Not elaborate dance, but just rhythm – a click of the hand, a clap, a tap of the foot. Every person adds something to it and a sequence is created.

“Dance can be very daunting for some people, especially in front of a group. This activity helps them get comfortable as they feel even their rhythm is accepted,” said Agrawal. This is followed by basic warm-up where Agrawal initiates some simple dance steps and the participants follow to gradually immerse in their own movement and create their own dance. From here on, Agrawal senses the general mood of the class, if it is more celebratory, or if movements of the people are restricted to indicate they might be holding on to something bitter, or there is more of stress, anger, depression. With her wisdom, training and experience, she senses the emotions, and the class proceeds accordingly.

Over the years, she has treasured several letters of feedback and special moments from the class. A woman suffering from cancer had undergone chemotherapy and was sapped of all energy. Yet, after a session of dance therapy, she felt more vibrant. Similarly, a dance therapy session had once helped a widowed woman come to terms with the loss of her husband. Several times, through dance, people have simply discovered themselves. A note from one of the participants, which Agrawal cherishes, says, “Thanks for bringing back a semblance of that old self I so love, so desire, and so miss. Thanks for giving me the greatest gift.”

manasi.phadke@expressindia.com

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