Definitions Page

Research studies/projects may be submitted in the areas of dance movement therapy, therapeutic dance or dance for wellbeing, which are defined as follows:

Our Definitions

Is the relational and therapeutic use of dance and movement to further the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and cultural* functioning of a person. (source – DTAA website)

*Culture is that complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a human] as a member of society (UNESCO, 1982).

Dance for wellbeing is broadly defined as dance that is offered to support the health and wellbeing of participants.  Dance for wellbeing may be offered individually or as a group process.  Whereas dance movement therapy has clear therapeutic goals and a strong relational element, where the relationship between dance movement therapist and client is paramount to the therapeutic process, the focus of dance for wellbeing is on offering the dance experience itself, rather than on the individual therapeutic needs of participants.


Dance for wellbeing may include wellbeing goals that are related to the dance experience. It is led by a skilled dance facilitator who may or may not have dance movement therapy skills, but often has dance teaching skills.  It is unregulated by the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australasia, and whilst there may be an evidence base for the beneficial outcomes of the dance form being offered, there is no requirement for the facilitator to have and maintain dance movement therapy skills, qualifications or registration.


Offering dance for wellbeing can make an important contribution to a healthy community.  It can also provide a pathway whereby an interest in the therapeutic nature inherent in dance will lead to the facilitator continuing their study to become fully registered as an associate, professional or clinical professional dance movement therapist.  The nature of the program itself, however, remains dance for wellbeing unless it progresses to include: a therapeutic assessment of individual client needs, articulated therapeutic goals with the individual(s) attending, a therapeutic relationship between therapist and client, a monitoring of client therapeutic progress and therapeutic clinical supervision for the therapist offering the program. 

Additional aspects inherent in dance movement therapy can be more fully understood by reading the DTAA Competency Framework for dance-movement therapists ( ) and the DTAA Scope of Practice ( )

Dance with therapeutic goals, facilitated by non-Professional DTAA members (or equivalent).