Q: What did you learn or develop at UArts that you have carried with you throughout your career?
As a Dance/movement therapist working primarily with older adults with dementia and other cognitive impairments, I often need to improvise and offer creative, in the moment solutions when interacting with this population. In my work and throughout my time spent at UArts, connection has played a central role; the overall quality and degree of connection to one another, to society, and to different parts of the self. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see and to connect with others through a different lens as a student, and to be able to channel my skills and empathy to help others to adapt and to achieve balance and mind-body wellness today.
Moving and improvising through the same physical space with my peers while maintaining my kinesphere and personal boundaries, adapting to changing tempos and rhythms, “feeling” the music and mind-body connection, and imparting this sense of discipline to others throughout my Dance Education studies at UArts helped to shape the professional dance/movement therapist I am today. Dance/movement therapy (DMT), a holistic modality based upon the principles that the mind and body are intrinsically connected and that movement reflects thoughts and feeling patterns, engages the psychological theory, movement assessment and execution, as well as empathic reflection that I practiced and fine-tuned while at UArts each and every day.
Movement is a universally understood mode of communication. I move and improvise with my clients during DMT sessions, helping them to adapt to emotional and physical losses, changes, and limitations. We create a safe and personal space for thoughts and feelings. DMT helps to connect individuals with one another and encourages self-expression in a structured and supportive setting.
While moving through life, we must improvise and adjust our approach, as we adapt to changing situations and make connections along the way.
Natasha Goldstein-Levitas BFA ’00 (Dance Education) is a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist with 16 years of experience working with high functioning to severely cognitively and physically impaired adults and older adults. She incorporates her extensive knowledge of music and vocal artists of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s into sessions, along with sensory stimulation techniques, props and reminiscence. She is a published author on the topic of dance/movement therapy with older adults. She is also a staff writer for the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) blog.