Get-hooked October 16, 2020
Dancer & teacher Vishakha Verma vouches for dance therapy, its benefits on people with disabilities
Videos of Vishakha Verma dancing along with disabled people are a hit on social media. Vishakha, based in Dubai, has taught over 250 youngsters with disabilities. She also runs a dance institute in the UAE. Vishakha talks to Newz Hook about her foray into dance and how the art is therapy for people with disabilities.
Social media users wouldn’t have missed lovely dance videos of Vishakha Verma, a 47-year-old dance teacher from Dubai who trains youngsters with disabilities. Her videos of dancing to beautiful songs along with disabled people have won hearts of many social media users. Vishakha, who runs Vishakha’s Dance and Music Training Institute in UAE says that her inclusive center is one for children with and without disabilities. She talks about her foray into working with disabled people and how dance therpy works.
Vishakha’s tryst with dance
Vishakha started learning dance when she was seven years old. As she puts it, “I was born to dance, I live through dance”.
Her mother being the ideal role model, Vishakha was introduced to classical dance very early. After pursuing training in Kathakendra at Delhi under Guru Geeta Lal, she moved on to learn dance from Shri Ram Bharatiya Kendra under Guru Nandini Singh. Being part of these renowned dance centers helped her to understand the art form in-depth.
Talking about her tryst with teaching disabled people, Vishakha says, “At the age of 18, I taught my first disabled student who was a deaf person. It was almost 12 years ago that I formally started training more disabled people and it happened after attending a concert. It struck me that they could do more than just walk on to and off the stage. For them, dance was like a privilege. Since then, I have been working with many disabled people to provide them with opportunities to dance”.
Vishakha has trained over 250 students with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and Rett Syndrome from across the world. She also claims that her Dubai-based institute is the first inclusive dance and music training institute which opens its doors to people with and without disabilities.
Vishakha’s family, comprising of her two children and husband are her biggest pillars of support.
Benefits of dance for people with disabilities
Over years, experts have pointed out how dance therapy can do wonders to people with disabilities. Vishakha vouches for that.
“Dance therapy is about connecting movement to psychological processes. It focuses on everyday movements of the body and helps to enhance motor skills. It helps to reduce anxiety and stress while building self-confidence and self-esteem”, she says.
According to Vishakha, she could learn a lot from her students. “Teaching my special angels has taught me to become more patient, calmer, accepting and to love unconditionally. My mission is to create an inclusive world where all abilities are celebrated”, she says.
Vishakha was recently awarded a Global Disability Empowerment Award by the Indian government for her contributions towards the disability space.
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