Meet Sarah Vella: Dancing to Heal - The Journey of a Dance Therapist

Sarah Vella. Photo credit: Lyndsay Bahia

In the fascinating world of dance therapy, Sarah Vella shines as a dance artist, choreographer, and dance movement therapist. Her passion for dance extends far beyond the stage; it’s a medium she uses to help individuals express themselves and find solace through the transformative power of movement. Join us as we step into the captivating world of Sarah Vella, a dance therapist dedicated to touching hearts and nurturing souls.

Sarah’s Journey: From Malta to the World

Originally from Malta, Sarah has spent over a decade immersing herself in the vibrant world of dance and movement therapy. Her diverse background includes being a dance artist, choreographer, dance movement therapist, speech and language pathologist, and an alternative practitioner for psychotherapy. With these multifaceted qualifications, she’s well-equipped to explore the profound connections between the body and the mind.

Having lived and worked in Berlin and across the globe for twelve years, Sarah returned to Malta last year with a mission close to her heart. She aims to increase awareness of dance movement therapy and make this form of therapy accessible to all. Her journey has been one of exploring and nurturing the link between dance and emotional well-being, bringing the therapeutic benefits of movement to a broader audience.

What is Dance Therapy? A Unique Approach to Healing

Dance therapy, also known as dance movement therapy (DMT), is a form of psychotherapy that uses movement and dance to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration and healing. It is based on the idea that the mind and body are interconnected. DMT allows individuals to explore and process their emotions, thoughts, and experiences through movement, even without relying on verbal communication.

Dancing to Heal: Real-Life Examples of DMT’s Impact

Real-life examples of transformation mark Sarah’s journey as a dance therapist include:

· Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Through her work, DMT significantly improves social interactions, communication skills, and emotional expression in children with ASD.

· Individuals with Trauma: DMT provides a safe, non-verbal means for individuals to release stored trauma, express their emotions, and regain control over their bodies and lives.

· Depression and Anxiety: In clinical settings, Sarah explains how DMT reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, providing a space for clients to express emotions and build self-confidence.

· Elderly Individuals with Dementia: DMT has been a source of solace and joy for elderly individuals with dementia, improving mood, reducing agitation, and enhancing cognitive function.

· Body Image and Eating Disorders: DMT offers healing for individuals with body image issues and eating disorders, fostering a healthier relationship with their physical selves.

· Stress Reduction in the Workplace: Some organisations have introduced DMT as a stress reduction and team-building tool, improving morale and communication among team members.

Tailoring the Dance: A Client-Centered Approach

One of the hallmarks of Sarah’s approach to DMT is her commitment to tailoring sessions to meet the specific needs and goals of her clients. Here’s how she does it:

· Assessment: Sarah conducts a thorough evaluation of the client, gathering information about their mental health, physical abilities, preferences, past experiences, and specific goals for therapy.

· Setting Goals: With the client, clear and achievable therapeutic goals are established, often relating to emotional expression, self-esteem, physical fitness, or communication.

· Designing the Session: Based on the assessment and established goals, Sarah selects or creates appropriate movement exercises for the client, often incorporating music, props, and other elements to enhance the therapeutic experience.

· Adaptability: Dance movement therapists must be flexible and adaptive, adjusting tasks to accommodate the client’s capabilities and limitations.

Sarah Vella’s journey as a dance therapist is a testament to the healing power of movement and self-expression. Her mission is to bring this transformative therapy to more hearts and souls, one dance at a time.

For more information contact: vella_sarah on Instagram or email