by Denny Dew
A dance to raise awareness about teenage depression
Kick Teen Depression is a group of teenagers. They think that depression in teenagers is a problem deserving much more attention. They gently ask us to get around our reluctance to care about psychological problems and to give these latter some consideration.
They danced this call for attention last 9th of February 2013. It took place in Conshohocken. It’s a town in the state of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Does it matter that they are American? No, it doesn’t because depression is a psychological problem and human psychology is the same in the USA, in the UK, in Australia and in Brazil. There is only one mankind, as too often we forget.
Their call for attention is gentle. It’s about inviting love. We all need kindness in a world that attracts our attention so brusquely.
We also need to listen carefully to their call because it’s about a society deteriorating fast towards an inhuman way of life.
Why I like this event
I like to see teens helping each other. It gives hope. Schools set teens against each other, a needlessly competitive society creates conflict. Money and power makes enemies of people who could be friends.
Helping each other, instead, is healing. It breaks barriers and makes people happy. We all want to be happy despite all the efforts made to divide us.
I like dance. Dance is life in a culture of death. I like life. We all do. Even if we feel suicidal we actually love life. Suicide is an extreme cry for help that deep down one would like to be heard. One would like to hear that one has a right to live no questions asked, no judgments inflicted. Man has been dancing life for thousands of years.
I like dance because it’s a very old and powerful way to tell the story of our feelings. It reminds us that our feelings aren’t there to be dissected and judged, but to be lived.
Dance heals depression. Let’s see how. But first let’s see how teens can help their depressed friends.
But, can teens help?
“There is no need of faith in the robot, since there is no life in it either.” This is Erich Fromm speaking loudly about the robotisation of modern life in his book The Art of Loving.
Adults are deeply conditioned by the pressures of social conformity, and to them robotisation is just routine. It’s like taking coffee in the morning.
They accept being manipulated by advertising, mass media, companies, ideologies, political parties.
Teens have a sensibility for authentic human feelings that will be destroyed when they adopt adult insincerity. But, until then, they are still sincere and human. Robotisation happens later. The production-and-consumption machine will make robots of them and replace their true feelings with the ones required for the smooth working of the machine.
It’s a child who shouts that the emperor has no clothes. Adults don’t dare and even if they dared, they wouldn’t see the naked emperor. They accept the absurdity of modern life as a given.
Teens have a message and they would like to be listened to, but who really wants to listen to teens knowing that their social role is to become robots? Robots are to be programmed. They aren’t supposed to have something useful to say.
To tell them what to do, what to learn and what to feel is easy, and there is no need of faith to do it. Just that all humanity is lost in the process.
How dance helps
Dance is a therapy for depression because it creates an oasis where teenagers can rest from the pressure to become well-functioning robots.
When dancing their feelings, teens are in control. They can express themselves freely and their interpretation of rhythm and music is personal and no correction needs to be made.
While in their daily life teens have to suffer the humiliation of character moulding, in a session of dance therapy they are allowed to live their personality without needing to fake it.
Dance gives the opportunity to express problematic feelings like fear. When fear is depicted through a dance routine, it becomes less of a problem.
Dance reminds depressed teens that they are human and can create. Something they can forget at other times because they are carefully and continuously prepared to be used.
Industrialization wants to control everything, even creativity. In dance therapy depressed teens are reminded that human creativity is an animal that can’t live in captivity.
A therapy for depression based on dance has an advantage over talking therapy because teens might associate the latter with judgments. Judgments are delivered by talking, not by dancing.
Every therapy for depression needs a therapist who has trained himself to be non-judgmental. This is important for dance therapy too.
Dance is a form of art. One of the main elements that are present in every form of art is a truly genuine interest.
Modern life requires us to fake our interests and have them manipulated or simply ignored. If we have a genuine interest, it will be used by someone else for his own purposes, in which we have no say. This is very depressing. Dance reminds us that the best way to disperse the clouds of depression is to bring into our life the creative inspiration that makes us human. This is how we invite love into our lives.