This is a 4-week workshop with one session per week. This workshop is a "child" of my psychology student Kristína Klačanská and myself. We combined neuroscientific knowledge and dance exercises from Margaret Morris Movement and created a unique method to guarantee relaxation through dance.
During the workshop we perform exercises from Margaret Morris Movement coupled with techniques to stimulate the vagus nerve. For example we use breathing patterns, swallowing, neck rotation, social interaction etc. to stimulate the vagus nerve, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that signalises to the body that all is fine, and it's time to relax and enjoy).
After practising these aforementioned exercises for about one hour, the last 15 minutes of each session are devoted to a choreography. The choreography is composed of parts of the exersices but also some free movement and opportunity for individual expression. The choreography is intended to serve as a personal relaxation technique, to be danced when one feels acutely overwhelmed.
THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY BEHIND THE WORKSHOP
This workshop was first created in October 2020 and took place online via zoom in the midst of the global pandemic in November and December 2020. The workshop was part of a bachelor thesis project, which targeted the effects of dance on relaxation and well-being.
Before and after every session, as well as before and after the whole workshop, we asked participants to provide self reports on how stressed they were feeling. Indeed, we found that our method significantly increased relaxation and well-being for each session separately but also for the whole workshop.
Because the workshop was so well received, it was invited to be part of the "Well-being Movement" for students and staff of Maastricht University in March 2021.