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date: 24 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Dance movement therapy (DMT) is often applied to advance the education and development of children with special needs and intellectual disabilities. However, the relationship between DMT and contemporary educational theory—particularly the recently acknowledged link between learning and wellbeing—has not yet been properly explicated. This chapter addresses this issue by examining how DMT programmes in special education can contribute to student wellbeing and, therefore, learning. The practice of creative educational dance, the philosophy underpinning existential phenomenology, and influential ideas from education on relational learning and constructivist pedagogies, are discussed with regard to the way they inform dance movement therapy for this client group. A detailed example of a dance movement therapy programme in a special developmental school in Melbourne, Australia, illustrates the theoretical material.

Keywords: wellbeing, learning, creative dance, dance movement therapy, special needs, education, existential phenomenology

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