Dance-therapy and well-being at the Grands Ballets canadiens

La danse-thérapie et le mieux-être chez les Grands Ballets canadiens

Photo: les Grands Ballets canadiens
The courses of dance therapy are suited to different conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.


In relocating their premises in the Space dance of the Wilder, les Grands Ballets canadiens de Montreal (CBG) have found the space to realize their national Center for dance therapy (CNDT), which was imagined from the years 2010. On the eve of the international Symposium on dance and well-being, which will bring together some 200 participants, a look at the new Centre, its strengths, its aims and its caveats.

The CNDT seeks to be “a unifying expertise, a catalyst,” explains Christian Sénéchal, director. “We are here primarily to provide a service to the community, illustrates, and accessibility to the dance ; in general, it is the vision of the GBC to the promotion of dance for well-being. But if I have the opportunity for one of our dance classes adapted to become a laboratory for a research group with which one works, why not ? The idea is to find ways to work together to improve practices, offer better services, have the best types of training based interventions and be able to better document the actions. “

With only three employees, the CNDT relies on a variety of committees with variable geometry, depending on the projects and the required expertise. A scientific committee of twenty researchers just think the research or the dance-therapy, for example, as for this project, with Sainte-Justine hospital with anorexia. Another committee help to mount the dancing lessons adapted to people with down’s syndrome, autism and soon the blind (see article below). Because one of the desires of the CNDT and his director is helping to mend the gap that persists between researchers, dance therapists, and dancer. And build within ten years a top professional training in dance-therapy, between the universities of Concordia, McGill and UQAM.

La danse-thérapie et le mieux-être chez les Grands Ballets canadiens

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The director of the national Centre of dance therapy, Christian Sénéchal

The CNDT breath a dynamism on a medium often undermined by the slowness of academia, and promotes suddenly greatly dance fit and dance-therapy. The Centre comes hard and fast, advertising in support. Too fast ? Don’t he afraid to shake up an ecosystem that was, more discreetly, since the 1980s-1990s ? “I do not understand the question, replied M. Seneschal. I don’t see how it changes the universe. We work in close collaboration with UQAM, Concordia and McGill. “

Hypocrisy denounced

The leaders of these bastions emit nevertheless, under the cover of anonymity, of large critical. “It is as if the GBC were inventing the wheel “, said a researcher, ” occasionally forgetting to mention, if we do not remember to do so, that the credit of some of the courses that they offer and promote is up to the universities “. The GBC will highlight some of the researchers, an initiative welcomed, but tend to pull the blanket over them. “They come in with a strategy that is very aggressive, very commercial — it is unsettling, for the dance-therapy — who plays both on the prestige of the ballet, and on the ignorance of the dance that the general public and institutions “, shall appoint another specialist.

The cost of the classes, at $ 20, is high for families to live with a disability. However, the GBC have a rare ability to seek private funding, which could help to solve this situation. “A donor, the Molson Foundation, offers courses for young adults with autism for the year “, illustrates the head of media relations, Natalie Dion.

The integration of dance and health at the heart of a company classic, one of the forms basically the most exclusive, surprising. “The classic offers a workout almost unnatural, by relying on a greater technical sophistication, by repeating always the same movements,” says an academic. “It’s a training virtuoso ; to advocate for the well-being is, to say the least amazing. “

“There is a hypocrisy to claim to the well-being of body to one side while demanding criteria specific tangible for its dancers and of the other “, said Sylvie Marchand, activist. “In the therapeutic setting, the classical ballet has no legitimacy. “A contradiction that M. Seneschal designs do not, replying to this topic an elusive” our directors are involved a lot and deeply believe in the project “.

France Geoffroy, a dancer and professor of dance integrated in Corpuscle Dance, founded in 2000, cannot endorse the current vision of the CNDT, based on ” the separation of the groups by diagnosis. What is important is the diversity ; whereas, it is in the process of breaking the taboos of disability and disease. If the goal is to come together for the love of the dance, you have to join all the world, and to put the disabled and standing together, without judgments or prejudice or competition. “True, however, that the separation by diagnosis allows for a more precise approach, to meet specific needs.

Joanabbey Sack, of the Department of arts therapies at Concordia University, welcomes the dynamism of the CNDT, which is in the process of making Montreal a stop key, an american road alternative for the actors of dance-therapy. However, it would seem essential that there is a dance therapist in the permanent team of the CNDT, upstream of all the reflections and decisions.

“To each his own ground, named Christian Sénéchal in an interview. Me, I am able to help in regards the links with the community. And yes, it was a side business. We want to see how we can work together. “Then who in this dance will have to adapt ?

International Symposium on dance and well-being

From 24 to 26 may, to the dance Space of the Wilder

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