Dance Movement Therapy and Kathak

IW pic2India Post News Service

Riya Bhatia, a junior at Amador Valley High School, recently led a Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) & Kathakworkshop at the Fremont Senior Center recently. She has organized several workshops in India and in local communities to not only raise funds for her non-profit organization Virya Foundation, but also raise awareness of Kathak as a therapeutic way of healing. 

Kathak is an Indian Classical dance style that Riya has been learning for the past eleven years. After performing at numerous prestigious events as a professional dancer, she decided to take her passion for Kathak a step further. In March 2019 she traveled to India to collaborate with a non-profit organization Protsahan India Foundation where she led a workshop for 30 underprivileged girls. After running a successful workshop abroad, she decided to create her own non-profit organization that helps individuals focus on mental, physical, and emotional healing, through Kathak as a Dance Movement Therapy.

DMT is defined as the “psychotherapeutic use of movement to integrate the individual’s emotional, cognitive, social, and physical wellbeing.” Dance therapy is based on the idea that the body and mind are correlational; when the body feels good, the mind does too. The fast footwork of Kathak helps to release anger and tension. The delicate hand movements helps to find beauty within ourselves. Additionally, multiple studies validate the physiological and psychological benefits dance has on individuals.

The workshop started with a meditation to help bring the attendeesto first relax, and then bring their minds to the present moment. Riya then explained the benefits of DMT and how she uses Kathak to help individuals to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. She also performed a dance sequence to showcaseKathak Yoga demonstrating the therapeutic elements of Kathak. She explained how Kathak Yoga is portrayed through complex rhythmic dance patterns while the dancer simultaneously sings and plays an instrument. By empowering the dancer to become their own musician, it allows the dancer to fully connect the mind, body and soul. IW pic31

The seniors at the center were mesmerized by Riya’s elegant performance and applause filled the room. Afterwards, a few individuals told Riya that they themselves felt empowered just by observing her! Seniors Gurdarshan Grewal, Amrit Chugh, Prem Aggarwal, Pushpa, Manju Sharma, Mahesh Patel and Romesh Patel graciously donated to Virya Foundation to aid Protsahan Indian Foundation, to break the intergenerational cycle of childhood abuse and poverty with Healing, Education, Art, & Recovery. Virya Foundation strives to guide individuals to mentally, physically, and emotionally heal through Dance Movement Therapy in order to lead more peaceful and powerful lives. 

If you are interested in learning more about Virya Foundation, visit