Published: 23rd March 2020
Here's how Deepa Sai Avula wants to spread awareness through dance therapy in Vizag
Deepa Sai Avula is a registered dance/movement therapist by the Certifying Board of the American Dance Therapy Association, USA, and has been trained to do psychotherapy from an embodied lens
If it were up to Deepa Sai Avula, she would settle down in her hometown of Visakhapatnam and initiate Dance For Mental Health, her dance/movement therapy clinic in the port city, but alas, the city isn't ready for what Deepa has in mind. This she gathered when she returned to Vizag after pursuing her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counselling, specialising in Dance Movement Therapy from Lesley University, USA. Working there too, she conducted two workshops in homes for the elderly, SOS Children's Village Visakhapatnam and even delivered a talk at St Joseph's College For Women. "People are curious about it but not curious enough to invest their time and money in it," says the 29-year-old. But this wasn't the case in Mumbai, a more open city. So, she took the opportunity to set up her clinic in October 2019 and through it, offers dance therapy to individuals, couples and families.
Deepa Sai Avula | (Pic: Deepa Sai Avula)
The principle behind this is that the body, mind and movement are interconnected and it has been proven that your mood can impact the way you walk and talk. So, dance therapy is free, improvised and creative movement that helps people with their mood disorders, relationship issues and other such mental health problems. "Even breathing is movement, so it's not a dance style as such, it is not choreographed," explains Deepa who went to Turkey to receive training for it and Greece, to volunteer at refugee camps. She is even a part-time counsellor at the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai. Phew! That's one experienced person. But just because Deepa opened her clinic in the City of Dreams, it doesn't mean she has forgotten the City of Destiny. She travels to Vizag as frequently as once every six weeks, as she wants to start awareness workshops to personally inform Vizagites about dance therapy and carry on the rest of the sessions online. "Eventually, if my finances line up, I would like to open a space of my own in Vizag too and hire a full-time practitioner who I can supervise remotely," she explains. And we hope that her dreams come true.
What is dance therapy?
- It is a psychotherapeutic framework that uses body and creative movement-based interventions
- It looks at the connection between movement and emotion
- Music, words, art and other mediums are used to support it
- Dance therapists use body movement as the inroad to their psychotherapeutic work
For more on her, check out danceformentalhealth.com