North Shore Dance Therapy

Organization Associated with Program
North Shore Dance Therapy
1516 Greenwood Avenue
Deerfield, Illinois 60015

North Shore Dance Therapy of Deerfield, Illinois partners with organizations to provide expressive movement workshops in place to older adults who are living with memory loss resulting from neurocognitive disorder diagnoses, as well as to their care partners. NSDT utilizes dance and movement to promote and facilitate emotional, cognitive, physical, social, and spiritual wellbeing. NSDT’s Reach Training and Speaking Involvements programs typically serve four to five groups of between 12 and 15 people each week. NSDT additionally provides counseling and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups dealing with various life issues including neurocognitive disorders resulting in memory loss. NSDT offers Alzheimer's disease care counseling as well as caregiver supportive counseling. NSDT serves approximately 1,700 people each year, and all classes, workshops, and programs are conducted by a highly trained professional specializing in the area of dance and movement.

Dance and movement therapy is a holistic body-based approach to psychotherapy that treats the body, mind, and spirit to integrate the individual. Individuals can use their bodies to express how they are feeling instead of using words and in doing so experience a heightened sense of wellbeing. During the program, the dance/movement artist engages the older adults who are participating through mirroring and attuning to their movements, gestures, and posture, as well as through verbal communication in order to get a more accurate depiction of the individuals’ state. NSDT focuses on creating meaningful connections for older adults in a safe environment where they can freely express themselves and focus on the here and now instead of on the past. Participating older adults and care partners receive opportunities for social engagement, reducing isolation and creating a greater support network.

Program History

North Shore Dance Therapy was launched in March of 2011 with the mission of helping individuals and their families cope with the challenges that the diagnosis of neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease can present. NSDT provides services to this population through dance therapy programming. 

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Programs are evaluated on an ongoing basis through the use of informal interviews and individual assessments by staff and partner organizations.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Always be true to the participants of your program and make the effort to meet clients where they are. Work with participants and their families to set realistic goals.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Participate in a Class, Participate in an Ensemble
Arts Discipline: Dance, Music, Theater
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine
Target Audience: Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Adult Day Care, Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Assisted Living, Education (e.g. School / University), Healthcare - Long Term Care, Healthcare - Home Care
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices