Change through dance “From Process to Performance”
Dança Movimento Terapia or DMT (Dance and Movement Therapy) is a corporal psychotherapy which uses movement as the main tool to facilitate communication between each other and oneself. It allows an open space for corporal, mental and emotional expression, when words are not enough to convey it.
Núcleo de Dança Terapia (NDT) started in 2008, initially as a challenge for a single performance in Palácio das Galveias (Galveias Palace) in Lisbon by the permanent and outpatients of the Occupational Unit Care of the Rehabilitation Services of CHPL (Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa/ Psychiatric Hospital Center of Lisbon). Patients range from all types of mental health disturbances. The experience was extremely successful and gratifying for the patients and coordinators. It was then decided to give continuity to the experience as an established and ongoing project: NDT, now also referred to as muDança “Do Processo à Performance” (Change through dance “From Process to Performance”).
For the last 14 years the group has done several performances within the Institution and surrounding communities. It has been an integrant of the CHPL since 2003 as an additional therapeutic intervention in different units: Rehabilitation Services, Internment, Community Services and Outpatients.
NDT sessions are about an hour and a half and run twice a week at the Salão Nobre (Great Hall) of the CHPL. They start with a welcome speech, followed by an either individual or group warm-up. Then the core part of the practice begins. The participants explore movements and body-expression, either based on a theme chosen by the coordinator or without one, inciting for a creative approach to the movements. These are mainly improvised. The participants are free to roam through the room either individually or engaging with each other, if they choose to do so. At the end of the session, there is a group-sharing moment of the experiences and emotions felt during the exercise, in order to build self and group awareness.
The weekly sessions take place at the Salão Nobre (Great Hall) of the CHPL in Lisbon, Portugal.
NDT has performed several times in multiple places, almost exclusively in Lisbon but not only. Here are some examples (for a full list of the performances, visit the website):
Eu, Tu e Nós (Me, You, Us) 2008
– Palácio Galveias, Lisbon
Retalhos de Vida (Shreds of Life) 2014
– Teatro S. Bernardo, Coimbra
Momentos (Moments) 2015
– Teatro Pax Júlia, Beja
– Cineteatro, Sobral de Monte Agraço
Mundos (Worlds) 2018
– Salão Nobre, CHPL, Lisbon
– Auditório Carlos Paredes, Lisbon
NDT is intended for all mental health patients of CHPL who have the ability to work in a group and who have the motivation to be part of a continuing therapeutic/artistic project such as NDT; always with the final intent of sharing the outcomes with the community. To be part of NDT the patient needs to be directed by a CHPL medical assistant to the Occupational Unit Care.
“At the base of DMT there is movement and from that the journey begins. It is not a dance class, there are no choreographies, and you don’t need to have experience in any dance style. At these sessions we can be ourselves and learn to be in contact with our truest emotions. It is a space where we can free ourselves, without judgment or pressure. We can learn about the different “selves” who inhabit each of us and understand that, through the process, we can go further. The body talks and expresses itself according to our state of mind. There is no pressure to reveal our emotions through words, which often do not exist because you can only feel them in the body. I have learned that despite our fears, we are able to evolve in our own time, and in the way that is possible to us, because this space invites us to do so. We work on our connections with others, on trust, focus and sharing. Within the hour and a half of the session, we are uncovered from fears, daily anguish, and loneliness. And we are sure of one thing: we will feel again the comforting sensations and emotions which were dormant because of life itself. The process begins at the session, but it continues beyond the door.”
-Testament of a participant of “NDT”, patient of the CHPL