The Dance program at Sunshine SDS is reflective of uniquely expressive, creative and communicative forms, which engage the mind-body to help students

  • understand themselves and their world, and
  • make statements about this understanding and its impact on them.

The program is informed by the principles governing creative dance in education and dance movement therapy. Creative dance merges action with awareness. Outcomes of creative dance include body mastery and control; self-awareness and self-identity; stimulation of the imagination and intellect; confidence in one’s own capabilities; and communication with and sensitivity toward others.


Dance movement therapy, as an embodied form of creative arts in therapy, is based on the fundamental principle of the importance of whole-person experience. It understands the mind and body as inseparable, so what is experienced in the mind is also experienced in the body, and vice versa.


As a process-oriented therapy, dance movement therapy supports students’ existing physical and emotional states, and seeks to provide expressive, non-verbal experiences to clarify and develop these states.


Dance at Sunshine SDS is about:

  • imagination
  • curiosity
  • humour, play and having fun
  • authenticity within the expressive and aesthetic self.

The priority of the program is for the dance therapist to establish an equal and authentic relationship with each student, which develops over the period of time in which the student participates in the program. 


Weekly sessions draw on non-sequentially led improvised creative movement, with the focus for the student to move spontaneously and in a way that feels enjoyable to the student at the time. Movement in each session aims to engage each student individually and as a member of a group, and provides for the student’s body-in-motion to explore open-ended aspects of ‘self to self’; ‘self to other’; and ‘self to the environment’ (internal and external to the dance space).


Implementation of each session is wholly improvised within a defined structure and in sympathy with student responses as they become apparent in the dance space at that particular time.



Facilitation of student engagement is influenced by the primary means of communication used by individuals within each group. Nonverbal facilitation is valued highly in the program and includes gesture, eye contact and facial expression, proximity and body posture, and signed language.


 Materials are sometimes utilised to enhance student engagement and include lengths of fabric, cushions and soft toys.