Just Dance—at Work!

A Faculty Staff Assistance Program dance therapy class gets employees on their feet and focused on wellness of body and mind.
Employees learn how dance therapy can improve their mood and energy during the workday.

Things you have to do today: answer emails, attend meetings, write reports, dance. According to Carol Kaminsky, coordinator of the Dance Program at the Frost School of Music and a board certified dance movement therapist, every University of Miami employee should add at least one dance session to their daily agenda.

Employees who attended a recent Dance Therapy for Stress Relief class on the Miller School and Coral Gables campuses, led by Kaminsky and presented by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, discovered new ways to focus the mind by engaging the body. In an exercise called “mirroring,” pairs of employees parroted each other’s spontaneous movements, using nonverbal cues to seamlessly shift between leader and follower.

“This exercise creates connections between people and fosters feelings of empathy,” explained Kaminsky, who has logged hundreds of hours at psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and other clinical facilities helping patients overcome fear, stress, addiction, and trauma through dance. “Changing the role of leader and follower balances out the pressure of always having to make decisions—while also teaching you to accept someone else’s influence. It helps you understand that relationships go both ways.”

Other exercises allowed people to express feelings of happiness or frustration through movement and to circulate around the room with a freedom of individuality that sometimes gets lost throughout the workday. “Better mood,” “more energy,” and “deeper sense of community” were the feelings many of the employees described after the session—which, at just one hour long, left them with plenty of time in the day to finish answering their emails.