Helping our child clients express themselves through creative arts

July 23, 2021

In May, KIND’s social services team partnered with Artolution’s “Jovenes en Movimiento” (Youth in Movement) for a 3-day online dance workshop with 10 KIND clients.  Led by Artolution artists Anna Alvarez, from the UK, and Kevin Ramirez, from Colombia, our kids, ranging in age from 12 to 17, learned steps to a Colombian dance called “salsa choke” and how to use movement to express their feelings without saying a word. The workshop culminated in a joint dance showcasing the skills the clients learned (watch below).

Each session started with an activity prompt where clients were asked to express an emotion using their body. Clients had fun figuring out their way of expressing themselves without speaking. For example, they could express anger by pretending to throw a ball fast and hard. By the end of the workshop, participants felt comfortable adding their own signature move to the final choreography

By providing an online space that is structured for healthy interactions and connection, clients were able to process difficult feelings that are the result of their often traumatic experiences and–most importantly–have fun.

Many of the children KIND works with have experienced trauma, whether in their home country, on their journey to the United States, and/or in the United States. Trauma is the result of experiencing extraordinarily stressful events that challenges how you see the world. A person’s sense of security is shaken, which can lead to challenges in functioning or coping after the event.

Trauma can be very difficult to understand, process, and express through words.  Creative arts have been used in a therapeutic manner to help individuals, especially children, who might not even have the language to explain what happened to them or to process their trauma. Dance, art, and play have proven effective in teaching individuals to “speak” about their emotions and traumatic events in a non-intrusive manner while also opening up positive new outlets to express themselves that help build self-esteem and confidence.

At the end of the workshop, the kids presented their virtual dance together for KIND staff and the Artolution team.  Each of the clients wore a face mask to help them express themselves freely and not feel inhibited.

We are so proud of the steps each of our clients took to build a safe space to express their feelings.  We hope you join us in watching the powerful dance below and cheering on these resilient kids!

Thank you for your patience in teaching me how to dance all week. I’m not a dancer at all, and this raised my confidence and was very fun.“- KIND client participant