This week’s Dance First Member Insight is from Dr. Jamie Marich, founder of Dancing Mindfulness

“Dancing Through Troubled Times”

When I sought out my own recovery from trauma-related disorders and addiction in my early twenties, one of the reasons that I was open to accessing the emotions needed for healing is that the arts (and especially dancing) were with me. As I grew up in a dysfunctional home and was frequently bullied at school, the arts were there for me – not just as a refuge, but also as a vehicle through which I could express my emotions. In the Dancing Mindfulness approach to expressive arts, we teach that dancing or any other expressive arts practice is not about pushing away what is coming up for you. Instead, we use the practices to embrace and then either contain or process what we are experiencing. And to intone the translated words of Rumi, we welcome and entertain them all.

So for me, dancing through the pandemic and the related stressors that surround it is second nature…dancing through troubled times is what I’ve done my entire life. I decided to ask some other members of our Dancing Mindfulness community to reflect on how dance and the expressive arts have supported them during this time:

“Movement and music have helped me feel more connected to others and have been a regular reminder that I have the power to create internal changes here in this very moment. Moving my body to music early in the day has been especially helpful and reminded me that I don’t have to source the energy I need from inside myself!”

-Michael Deaton

“Even when I do not know how to articulate what you are feeling, to identify it and move it on along and out of my system, I can do so unspoken through dance. It’s like a different form of dialogue between my physical and emotive self, and also between myself and the universe, one that I know the universe understands without any need for verbalization.”

-Debra Bogart

“My dancing mindfulness practice has provided me the opportunity to be in the present moment, to feel the feelings that come up, to move with those feelings and then, if needed, to release them. I’ve found that when my words fail, music and movement give me a way to express what I didn’t have words for and to just be in the present moment with no judgment.”

-Janet Harland

“My body knows what I need to do to heal even when my brain doesn’t. Movement has been incredibly powerful for me during this time.”


“The pandemic has renewed my practices of dancing mindfulness as a way to both be with and move through what feels overwhelming. The pandemic has also inspired me to listen deeper to my own needs and I listening best to my wisdom through movement.”

-Elisha Halpin

“Creative writing, music, and visual arts have been the most effective ways that I have coped with processing distressing experiences during this season. I experience these modalities as a powerful way to ground and build insight that can bypass blocks to processing that come up.”

-Christy Dunn

“Before the pandemic I had only ever seen what dancing mindfulness looked like on YouTube. When it went virtual I got to dip my toe in quickly realizing how I hate my body because to me it feels like a trap while also having a place where the way I am able to move as a disabled person still counts so im getting to a place where I hate it less.”

-Destiny Aspen Mowadeng

“My kids and I do dance parties. My husband made me an amazing old fashioned radio that’s programmed to play Pandora. We all have our favorite stations on there. We just jam out! It’s amazing.”

-Amanda Chamberlain

However you have fared throughout the past year, know that you aren’t alone in this. I hope you’ll join me in dancing through these emotions.

Learn more about Dr. Jamie Marich and Dancing Mindfulness at