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Happy Feet

The movement of understanding one’s body,mind and soul through dance is fast picking up in the city.

Violet Vaz

Priti Sanghvi is a typical Indian homemaker. Her schedule includes attending to daily chores,looking after her family and occasionally helping her husband out in their business. Sounds familiar? With most Puneites living life in the fast lane,there is rarely time for oneself. But Sanghvi loves to dance and has started taking out time once a week to attend her dance therapy class — which has been rewarding and fun. “I was able to rediscover myself and find inner peace through dance therapy,” says the 40-year-old,who has been attending dance therapy classes for the past six months.

Like Sanghvi,many Puneites are slowly taking to this new form of therapy to improve self-awareness,self-confidence and interpersonal interaction. “I joined class because I felt I needed something that would help me cope with frustrations and disappointments of everyday life,” says Sanghvi,adding that she has experienced a lot of improvement in herself over the past few months.

While many agree that a dose of therapy is essential to deal with every day anxiety and illness and also to re-energise oneself,one form of therapy that has proven to be effective time and again for many people across the globe is dance. “Dance is great therapy because it provides exercise,improves mobility and muscle coordination,and reduces muscle tension. Emotionally,dance serves as an outlet for expressing oneself,” says Nikita Mittal,a city-based dance therapist and physiotherapist who has been conducting dance therapy classes at her studio Life and Dance in Kalyani Nagar.

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She defines her clients as “urban nomads” who join her with the aim of de-stressing and rediscovering themselves. Some join for the simple joy of dancing. “We,in India,often attach a negative connotation to the word therapy,” says Mittal,who feels that people need to understand that dance is beyond entertainment and dance therapy is for everyone.

Dimpy Bhardwaj,46,has been attending dance therapy classes for the past one year. “There comes a point in our life where we feel stagnant and experience burnout due to stress and tension,” says Bhardwaj,who works as a corporate trainer. “Over time,dancing helps you lose all your inhibitions. The classes have made me more confident and comfortable with my body image,” says Bhardwaj. But that’s not all,Bhardwaj is occasionally accompanied by her teenage daughter for the classes.

“Dancing together has helped us strengthen our bond and it’s an altogether unique experience to be in sync with each others’ movements through dance,” she explains.


Dance therapist Suchitra Date,who is the Director of Nritya Prerana,dispels the misconception that staying fit is only physically fitness. She has been teaching dance therapy to people suffering from autism,polio,ADD,ADHD,learning difficulties and other motor disabilities and has noticed that slowly people are opening up to the fact that these classes are not restricted to medically unwell. “I’m happy that now days spouses and children are often accompanying their family members who are ill for these class,” says Date.

She informs that the frequency and level of difficulty of the therapy is tailored to the needs of participants. Besides,these therapy classes are conducted in group,which makes it a lot more interesting and fun,helping people form new dynamic relationships.

First published on: 01-12-2013 at 01:14 IST
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