THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Dance has always been a vital part of Thara Ravisankar’s life. An assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies at Christ Nagar College in Thiruvananthapuram, she has been practising dance for the past 25 years. The multi-faceted artist has also been particular about using her skills for the good of society. This is what prompted her to learn Dance Movement Therapy, a method that is hardly popular in the state, and use it as a carrier of socially-relevant messages.
Dance Movement Therapy is a psychotherapeutic process that uses personal movement language and dance to improve various aspects of a person’s well-being — physical, emotional, cognitive, social and behavioural. Thara recently conducted the psychotherapeutic dance workshop named ‘Rhythm Republic’ for the inmates of Sree Chitra Home for Destitute and Infirm in Pazhavangadi.
The workshop was organised by the Dance Club and the Department of Media Studies in association with the IQAC, Christ Nagar College. “The dance movement therapy aims to give psychological relief to those struggling with physical and mental challenges. It follows the principles of Natyasasthra and Indian classical dance, letting people express their thoughts and feelings through body movements and physical activities. Around 75 inmates from the destitute home participated and we got good feedback from them about the three-hour workshop session,” says Thara.
Thara says the therapeutic technique is for all ages. “Before conducting the workshop, we also made a syllabus for it. The body movement does not only provide a way of expression, but also helps devise strategies to synchronise the mind and body,” she says.
Participants were exposed to mudra language, rasa theory and nrithya for psychological enlightenment and empowerment. The programme was part of the social outreach programme of Christ Nagar College, named Gestures of joy.
“We focus on exploring the talents and capabilities of our teachers and students alongside college resources for the benefit of the society,” said Rev Fr Dr Titto Varghese, manager, Christ Nagar college. Thara’s dance club team has over 100 students who are also experts in dance therapy. “We are looking forward to associating with social welfare organisations, charitable institutions, old age homes and NGOs to continue the workshop series and create more awareness,” says Thara.