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Updated: Sep 12, 2022

How many trauma support programs mention intimacy? Perhaps none! Yet for the human heart, this can be one of the deepest most rewarding aspects of being alive.

Trauma inhibits physical and emotional closeness. It’s hard to trust, to let go. It doesn’t feel safe to be swept up into the sensations of bliss or of deep connection.

Of all the therapeutic avenues, dance offers the best training wheels for close relationship. The first reason is simply being more ‘in’ the body – at home with movement and sensation. The second is that, unlike sports training or gym, dancing often includes a sensual element. Music elicits emotional responses, bringing the feelings ‘online’.

Circle dances offer a safe tactile connection through hand holding. There is an awareness of those around us and a mutual accommodation. For example, if one tends to take large strides and another takes small dainty steps then each will find a way to step in tandem. This builds relationship skills.

Certain partner dances, such as Salsa and Tango, contain improvised sequences which are like nonverbal conversation. The moves are not planned and arise in the moment through mutual communication. This echoes some of the most intoxicating and pleasurable ways of connecting intimately.

Dance helps us to feel calm, safe and confident. Then it takes us forward beyond our individual trauma release. We are capacity building for intimate, tactile and loving connection.

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