Dance/movement therapy (DMT) and social justice counseling came together in a workshop conducted by award-winning choreographer Marsha Parrilla who is also the founding artistic director of Danza Organica. This project was funded by an Antioch University New England Internal Academic Innovation Grant.
Kim Burden, MA, LCMHC, LCAT, BC-DMT, RDT/BCT, CP, course instructor for DMT and Counseling approaches to Trauma and Crisis, recognized a need for a more weaving of social justice principles and DMT, and heard about Danza Organica from students who attended a workshop with Ms. Parrilla. Burden wanted to find a way to bring Parrilla to Antioch and applied for an internal Antioch academic innovation grant, which provided the funds to bring Parrilla to her class for a special session.
Burden said, “The intention was to integrate DMT and social justice counseling more fully. And to plant seeds for student and professional advocacy and innovation, as well as embodied awareness and empathy for social justice and cultural/societal concerns.” What emerged out of the workshop was social justice oriented art creation through movement revolving around themes such as violence, gun shootouts, and microaggressions.
One of the participants shared, “The creation of each movement piece was a soul-stirring experience, with each participant coming up with individual social justice themes and then working together as a group in embodying the diverse threads. Strong feelings got evoked, dialogues and cross-cultural interchanges emerged, tears were shed and shared pain was vocalized.” The time for change and action emerged in the collective voices of dissent, raised arms, stamping feet, and hands joined together in a circle that symbolized the power of fostering community, connections, and embodiment through the process of creative art making.