Friday, February 27, 2015

Great Things Come in "Mini" Packages

Natalie Eggert. Photo Credit: Lori Teague
One of the many wonderful programs Emory Dance offers is our Friends of Dance scholarship. This year, Friends of Dance extended its range of funding to include mini-grants designed for dance majors interested in a focused area of movement research. Senior and Dance & Movement Studies Major Natalie Eggert received a Friends of Dance mini-grant, and traveled to Antioch University to learn more about Dance Movement Therapy. Read what she has to say about her experience and what she learned!


Upon learning the news about the expansion of the Friends of Dance scholarship program, I jumped to utilize the program and attend a workshop in Dance Movement Therapy. ‘What’s dance movement therapy? I’ve never heard of that before?’ Well, you’re not alone. I had never heard of it either until last summer. After spending a dismal three months in front of a computer screen at your run-of-the-mill college summer internship, it hit me that a career path without creativity, without movement, without my body would surely land me in a place of depression and lower back pain. I have known for many years that trying to ‘make it’ in the professional dance world would not suit my personality. Therefore, I researched dance related career paths until I found The American Dance Therapy Association website. I haven’t looked back since.
From that day forward, my choices have been driven by my intention to become a Dance Movement Therapist, or DMT. Our lovely director, Lori Teague, introduced me to several Atlanta DMTs, one of whom I now teach dance with at Moving in the Spirit, an Atlanta based non-profit that provides dance education and youth development to the local community. But as I lamented to Lori, I still could not answer the question What is Dance Therapy? She suggested a workshop to experience it first hand and together we found Antioch University’s three-day introduction to Dance Movement Therapy workshop.

I look back on those three days with immense fondness. I felt present in my own body as well as present in the room of like-minded movers. Our three teachers gave us a range of perspectives, as their work encompasses populations of addition recovery, trauma recovery, and children on the autism-spectrum. But unfortunately, I still cannot give you a sentence or two that sums up what dance movement therapy is; I don’t think anyone could. It’s not an experience that easily translates into words—maybe that’s the point. We hold valuable personal information in our bodies that we often neglect to explore. Dance movement therapy opens the lines of communication between our minds and our bodies, assuming that if these two are friends, having conscious dialogues with each other, the whole person can find clarity, contentment, hopefully growth. At least that’s what I found.  

Thank you, Natalie!

For information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.