Dance for Therapy
By Noel Daniel
Dancing away your woes is more likely than you might think.
“Dance Therapy gives many of the participants, primarily women, the opportunity to network and build relationships with other women or men in the community,” said Keenon Krick, Program and Grant Manager of Riverbank Uniﬁed School District (RUSD). “Along with that, they are given the opportunity to participate in an activity that is going to help them feel healthy physically as well.”
Dance therapy provides time for the participants to deﬁne the parameters of their wellness—both concerning their emotional and behavioral health. This therapy identiﬁes certain characteristics in people that are associated with healthy outcomes, according to Krick, and provide understanding for the process of movement as it is related to their health and well-being.
RUSD is one of nine programs funded through Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) that over Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Services. RUSD uses these funds to implement a Dance Therapy program intended to support the emotional health of community members through movement.
The dance therapy sessions are not lead by paid instructors, but rather lead by dedicated community volunteers, referred to in Spanish as Promotoras.
“The funding received from BHRS has objectives intended to be achieved,” said Krick. “Approximately ﬁve years ago, the Director of Health & Human Services here at Riverbank USD developed the Dance Therapy program to meet the objectives of the grant.”
Since then, the classes have been giving community members the opportunity to develop their own leadership skills through both participating in and instructing Dance Therapy sessions.
“The philosophy behind the Dance Therapy is that when you have a community helping [itself], it not only develops opportunities for people to build relationships with one another,” said Krick, “but it also helps develop leadership and coping skills and gain feelings of support through the development of physical health, that leads to positive mental health.”
Class sessions are every Monday through Thursday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Rome Church in Riverbank and have approximately 50 to 60 participants. There are then evening sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 6 to 7:30 p.m., which receive about 40 to 50 participants.