Creative Movement as a Form of Expression

Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

People have expressed themselves through dance and creative movement for as long as humans have been around. In this lesson, we'll learn a little bit more about how dance helps people express themselves without words.


Have you ever been in a foreign country where you don't speak the local language? It's at this moment, when trying to ask directions to your hotel or order a meal, that you get creative. When words fail you, what do you do? International travel can quickly become one large game of charades, and it's remarkably effective.

Whether you are aware of it or not, you express yourself all the time through nonverbal communication. Your facial expressions, your posture, your body language - all of that sends a message about how you are feeling or what you need without the need for words.

Self-expression is any type of emotional release that reflects a genuine reaction to a situation or event. This can be verbal or nonverbal and can use the body or external media. In this lesson, we are interested in learning more about creative movement as a form of expression, but music, painting, sculpture, drawing - ALL of these are artistic forms of expression humans use to portray intense emotion.

Benefits of Creative Movement

What is creative movement? Creative movement is a form of dance that uses rhythmic, patterned, or improvised body movement, and it's one of the oldest art forms found in every culture around the world. Dance is often accompanied by music, but it's also a form of nonverbal communication and self expression because when people feel free to move their bodies without judgment, you often get a glimpse of their innermost thoughts and feelings.

Dance and creative movement can benefit people of all ages, but there has recently been a surge in teaching children the benefits of this art form. It's believed that dance helps people:

  • Gain confidence
  • Develop healthy self esteem
  • Learn problem-solving skills
  • Learn cooperation when they work in a team
  • Learn to respect differences between people and cultures
  • Learn spontaneity, leadership, and self-control
  • Boost creativity
  • Gain physical strength, flexibility, and stamina
  • Improve posture, balance, and coordination
  • Build freedom and autonomy

Creative Movement and Community

With all of these benefits attributed to movement, it's no surprise that individuals, communities, and cultural groups have used dance as a form of expression for ages. Cultural anthropologists (scientists who study humans and culture) have noted dances specific to aboriginal groups, as well as blended dances that develop after settlers arrive in a new location.

Dance unites people of different cultures through synchronized movement, costumes, and music.
cultural dance

These traditional dances are passed on from generation to generation and slowly evolve over time, but the main point is they provide a connection between humans and their ancestors and often carry a lot of cultural significance.

For example, Africa has 54 countries, each with multiple cultural groups with their own beliefs, religions, and art forms. African dance encapsulates and highlights major life events, spiritual beliefs, and is directly tied to the very identities of tribes and clans throughout the continent. Dance is an integral part of ceremonies and rituals, and even finds its way into daily life.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account