Dance is known to uplift the mood of both young and old. Therapeutic, it not only channelises one’s energy but also keeps one physically and mentally fit. It is stress relieving, joyful and healing since it releases endorphins in the brain.
Pune-based trained dancer Tonmoy Haldar, who has closely worked with Sunderji’s Institution, Asha School under Army Wives Welfare Association and Umeed Kiran School under Air Force Wives Welfare Association, has been organising dance therapy programmes for children with special needs to help them grow and express themselves freely. “Dance, in general, has many benefits and has always been associated with physical health. Start dancing and you’ll see the difference in your weight and your stamina,” says Haldar adding that dance is also beneficial for mental well-being. “Movement is something that all of us our born with, everything that we see around us has movement, and dance is made of technical movements, so why not use these movement for mental fitness,” he shares.
Haldar uses a holistic approach and changes the dance pattern based on individual needs. “I greatly follow the PECS model (Physical, Emotional, Cognitive and Social) to improve each aspect and different dance exercises to cater to the needs of students,” says Haldar adding that while a few need physical support, some need social support so that they are able to express themselves while mixing with others. “They are all different from each other, so the movement in dance helps these kids. And even if my said plan does not work, I let the children take the lead and we go about the programme according to their will,” he explains.
Many times these children cannot go to school, so they feel left out. The programmes and workshops help them to be themselves. “I just want to bring a little bit of dance into their lives to make it interesting,” he says.
Haldar provides both personal and group therapy but it is more a fun class than a therapy session. “Dance should be included in our education system because it has multiple benefits,” he says further mentioning that dance is actually a community activity which has been a part of the Indian culture for a long time. “That is one of the main reasons why we have so many forms of folk dances in the country,” he adds.
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An introductory workshop of dance movement therapy for special kids will be held at Yuteka Trripati Dance Studio, Viman Nagar, on September 24 from 4-5 pm. For registrations, call on 9881721420.