There is a universal language of touch and non-verbal communication that is explored through creative dance. Dance satisfies the senses through movement, play with the body and play with others. What I found is that neglected children display sensory seeking behaviors. Why is a child starved of human affection, touch and positive attention so drawn to sensory pleasurable behavior?
In a society starved of human touch that is nurturing and supportive, the only self-help response is to create self-nurturing. Behaviors such as rocking, swaying, turning, twisting and rolling are the primal responses of the developing child. In creative dance and play, the body can find its way to feeling pleasure and a form of safety in their own body.
Neglected children are not the only ones missing nurturing touch. Adults and many relationships suffer from a lack of nurturing and playful touch.
Child trauma experts look at the effects of neglect on the development of the brain.
The vital ingredient of brain development of a child is human interaction. Play, touch, games, and talking are literally “food” for the neurons to grow and develop. Without human interaction and touch, brain sizes of children are smaller and certain parts of the brain do not develop. How you understand your body messages, your patterns and skills in human relationships and your body image is created by the child brain development and personality.
Neglect in a child’s development between 0 to 6 years can affect your human interaction potential for the rest of your life. Can we change the patterns that were created?
When you dance solo, there is the opportunity to experience your feelings in a way that is non-verbal and physically releases your emotions.
When you dance with others you have the chance to feel your boundaries and experience other people’s energy and experience your feelings about relating to others.
Dance awakens your physical sense of your body’s boundaries and the way you interact with others. As you dance you activate this very important neurological communication, which also allows you to be more sensitive to other people’s bodies and their boundaries. Your body gets a clearer physical sense of the neurological feedback results of making a movement or gesture and getting a response, which creates new possibilities for the mind.
In dance and creative movement, we call in non-linear parts of the brain and bring in play-acting, memory and imagination. Through improvised dance you can access parts of you that the controlling mind has tried to hide from consciousness. The more we involve OTHERS in our process of questioning, discovery, play and response – the more skilled we are at “conversation” with the body, touch and with skills of empathy, the feedback of joy, discovery and acknowledgment creates a circuit that encourages us to continue giving and supporting others.