The Dancing Dialogue: Using the Communicative Power of Movement with Young Children

Author: Suzi Tortora

Format: Paperback, 552 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781557668349
Price: $39.95

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Children's nonverbal cues can uncover critical information about their emotional, social, physical, communicative, and cognitive development. The first approach to focus exclusively on the importance of observing nonverbal expression, The Dancing Dialogue shows early childhood professionals how to assess the behavior and movement of children with a wide range of issues — and use what they learn to develop appropriate interventions. Designed for use with children from birth to 7 years of age, and equally effective for those with and without special needs, this book reveals how to

  • skillfully observe children's nonverbal cues and develop a keen awareness of the feelings and messages behind them
  • expand children's abilities in key developmental areas by engaging them with movement, dance, music, and play
  • use these nonverbal interactions to strengthen social and emotional bonds with children
  • help caregivers and educators use the same types of interactions to connect with children and stimulate their development, both at home and in the classroom

This eagerly anticipated volume brings to book format the popular program Dr. Tortora has presented to thousands of professionals. The Dancing Dialogue is a one-of-a-kind resource that combines insights from diverse disciplines, including psychology, neurobiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dance movement therapy, and early childhood development. No dance background is needed — the ideas and techniques are accessible for professionals from any field. Strategies are brought to life by the author's vibrant, encouraging voice and the fascinating stories of children and adults engaging in the communicative dance.

Whether used in an early intervention program, in a classroom, or with individual caregivers and their children, this is an innovative, effective way to assess and enhance the development of young children.


Review by: G. Williamson, Associate Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
"Has exceptional originality and power . . . clearly demonstrates how to read the nuances of movement and nonverbal expression in order to guide assessment and intervention."
Review by: Susan Loman, Antioch New England Graduate School
"Will enhance enormously [readers'] understanding of the 'whole child' . . . Over and over we learn how movement is the point of entry for interaction and communication."
Review by: Robyn Cruz, Lesley University; Editor-in-Chief, The Arts in Psychotherapy; Vice President, American Dance Therapy Association
"A huge achievement . . . will most certainly become a classic text for dance/movement therapists, educators, clinicians, and parents."
Review by: Susan Recchia, Teachers College, Columbia University
"A treasury of information on observing and assessing non-verbal communication unlike any that I have seen . . . help[s] professionals across disciplines move beyond the limits of our usual assessment tools."
Review by: Myron Hofer, Sackler Institute Professor of Developmental Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University
"Remarkable . . . shows us . . . how to enter, understand and engage in a realm of communication with young children that spoken language can never reach."
Review by: Isaura Barrera, University of New Mexico
"[A] seamless blend of anecdotes, theoretical perspectives and specific strategies . . . I will recommend it to everyone I know!"
Review by: Rebecca Shanok, Institute for Infants, Children and Families, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
"Nothing less than a tour de force . . . layers of non-verbal, experiential, and movement 'knowing' literally dance to life through the inspired words Tortora has selected."
Review by: Karen Bradley, University of Maryland, College Park
"Absolutely the most comprehensive and lucid explanation of what is so often a mysterious process: how to observe and intervene in the dance of learning, the dance of interaction, the dance of expression, the dance of healing, and the dance of being human."
Review by: Gilbert Foley, Associate Professor of School-Clinical Child Psychology, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University
"This book is the reflection of the heart and mind of a therapist who possesses exceptional kinesthetic insight, interpersonal intuition, and a refined attunement to the psychic harmonies and rhythms of the inner life."

Table of Contents

About the Author

I: Historical and Theoretical Foundations

1. Introduction
2. Communication without Words: Early Childhood Development and Interaction
3. Ways of Seeing: Movement Development, Expression, and Body Awareness
4. The Language of Movement: From Dysfunction to Creative Expression

II: Observation and Intervention

5. Elements of Movement Observation
6. Nonverbal Observation in Context
7. Witnessing, Kinesthetic Seeing, Kinesthetic Empathy
8. The Ways of Seeing Technique
9. Movement and Dance-Based Tools

III: Movement as an Interdisciplinary Tool

10. Working with Parents
11. Focusing on the Child: From Nonverbal Assessment to Intervention to Educational Programming
12. Adding Nonverbal and Movement Awareness to the Classroom

Appendix A: Movement Signature Impressions Checklist
Appendix B: Recommended Resources
Appendix C: Glossary

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