The Choreography Therapy

Article author Iuliia Sezonenko
A practicing therapiest in
sensory integration Founder/CEO in Sensoria

Dancing has been a means of people’s communication for ages and is a unique-universal

language which comes from our body and

In its turn, our body is directly connected with our brain, people have their internal ability to

change their thoughts and behaviour on the neuron level and this helps to improve the psychic

and physical health. We want to assist to setting this most important three level connection

Brain-Body- Behaviour. Building these links is an important basis for every person’s development

but we would like to concentrate on the people with autism spectrum disorders.

The traditional attitude to autistic people is stereotyped. They grasp the reality partially, do not

unite details into the whole picture, they perceive their environment as something they can’t

understand and something that threatens them. To keep themselves safe from the ruining force

of the environment, autistic children begin to protect themselves unconsciously; they block their

channels of perceiving the world around them. This is manifested in such actions as putting

hands on their eyes and ears, as well as in their desire to hide and also in their body tension,

creating a protective shell resulting in their imbalanced tonus, hyper-focused attention and

blocked speech. These are the symptoms when the choreography therapy can be an

irreplaceable helpful means to unblock and activate the body through moving.

Dancing is formed with a range of movement patterns united with music and results in a

complete structure. It is important to point out that the aim of the choreography therapy is to

understand autistic persons at first, to unite with them, and then to help them to arrange their

communication with the world around them. This is the starting point of this therapy direction.

Dancing in the choreography therapy contributes to:

● waking up the basic trust between the therapist and the child;

● developing skills to think in patterns and to remember sequences;

● synchronizing both brain hemispheres;

● sensory gross and fine motor planning and coordination;

● focusing on posture and breathing;

● improving physical and core strength;

● increasing self-confidence, self-awareness and self-discipline;

● developing patience during daily rehearsals;

● improving social skills;

● expanding every child’s artistic expression;

● exploring body – brain connection.

The methodological basis of the therapy is concentrating attention on the unique manifestations

of autistic persons and taking that into account while implementing the therapy which makes it

possible to arrange productive communication.

An autistic person’s strong traits can be described as follows:

● quick-wittedness, dominant nonverbal intellect;

● love to order and perfection, ability to understand distinctly defined algorithms and rules,

to follow them constantly;

● ability to get interested in something extraordinary;

● fine perception of another person’s emotional state, understanding what way they should

behave with different people;

● developed musical ear (in most cases);

● ability to orient in place and time.

The individual movement program of development is worked out taking into account children’s

strong traits and needs, considering their interests. The program contains the description of

aims and basic expected results which will be gained regarding the child and the child’s family,

the list of activities which will help to achieve the basic expected aims, the program

implementation algorithm description. Its duration and the intensiveness of the activities are also

specified in each individual program.

Dancing environment focused on its resources should be based on such key points as:

– safety, namely certain object and space environment arrangement which helps to

minimize the autistic child’s feeling of fear and uncertainty, makes it possible to orient freely in

the dancing space and to perform certain actions, owing to the acquired rules;

– intensity of culturally important objects. The educational environment provides children

with an opportunity to contact constantly with different information media, gives certain

information about the environment, introduces musical instruments remarkably stimulating their

cognitive activity, voluntary and involuntary attention, supports their positive motivation;

– accessibility of the poly-sensor perception. It implies that the educational environment

stimulates and secures the possibility to widely involve the information from different sense

receptors perceiving separate objects as well as their interrelationships.

Taking into account all the above mentioned factors we have a possibility to realize that the

choreography therapy is a reliable base for a person’s further multifunctional development and

formation. The experience of moving according to the common music rhythm unites, inspires

interest and desire to live of all the participants of this experimental activity. We agree

completely with Aristotle and his main idea running through his philosophy that “Life is