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Dance therapy in China

Dance therapy was rarely known in China.  There are only less than 10 ADTA registered professional dance therapies in China including mainland, Hongkong and Taiwan.    In Taiwan,  dance therapy is relatively better developed.  In March, 2002, the Taiwan Dance Therapy Research Association was established.   It provided great helps to the medical professionals mentally suffered during the SARS epidemics in 2003.   In mainland,  dance therapy is underdeveloped due to the lack of public consciousness, professional education and support from government.   Because of  the fast economic development and social transition, mental and psychological dysfunction and illness, intertwined with the conflicts with old tradition and culture,  have emerged as a big challenge to the national health.   Just to give an example, there are about 26 million people suffering from depression (Shenzhen News). A research conducted by Teh-wei Hu, a professor of health economics at the University of California Berkeley, shows that suicide and other consequences of depression cost China at least $3.5 billion a year, placing it second only to the US (Business Week).  Patients turning to medication usually carry heavy burden for medicine payment, let alone the side effects from the medicine.  Therefore, there is an increasing and urgent demand for dance therapy as a creatively approach to tackle this kind of health problems for Chinese people.

Joan Wittig, BC-DMT moves with Chinese audience in Chengdu Science & Technology Hall after a public lecture on dance therapy, 2010

However, China has its advantage due to the body-mind integration concept rooted in its culture. The country is also currently very open to the new ideas from abroad. Dance therapy focuses both self expression and group connection which meets the needs of the Chinese people and soceity nowadays.  In some cities, creative art therapy is included in the public insurance.  Dance therapy also finds its application beyond hospitals, e.g. corporate, children's center etc.  We will not be surprised China will make good progress in some fields and become an innovator for other country to follow.

In the following years, many work need to be done to establish dance therapy as a profession in China.  These cover the systematic training program, public education, credential and practice guideline, research etc.  Inspirees, as the leader of creative arts therapy, is committed itself for the further development of dance therapy in China.




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