Art & Culture

Dancing to the beats of the song that life leaves in it’s wake | Dance Movement Therapy

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There are few amongst us who find our true calling in life. Even fewer are those who find some courage and pursue the said calling. We’re here to talk about one of them. Renelle Andrea Snelleksz.

Renelle was born in the city of Joy, Kolkata. Growing up she excelled in academics, sports, dance, and art and crafts. She moved to Mumbai to pursue a college education and then joined Media and became a television journalist. Everything was going well for her, she had everything one could ask for, but there was someone knocking on a door inside her, an opening to a new path.

“I never felt completely fulfilled with my job in Media. I always felt that there was something more out there, this wasn’t the whole picture. There was this nagging feeling inside me, what if there is something more. So, after a lot of procrastination, I decided to quit my job. I felt what’s the worst that could happen to me, maybe I won’t find what I am looking for and I will go back to my media job. But if I don’t step out in faith right now, I will never find out”.

She loved dancing as a child, it was an enthralling experience for her, it brought joy to her and made her feel free. But a career in media never left time for her to pursue this passion, so when she heard about Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), she decided to give it a try and she did a short course in it.

Renelle Andrea Snelleksz, Dance Movement Therapy

DMT is known to handful few people here in India, and only a handful of institutes offer a course in the same like TISS, Symbiosis school of Liberal Arts, et. al.

“It completely blew me away that dance could be instrumental for something like this. There are so many things within people which makes it difficult for them to live freely and it never gets addressed. That time I didn’t think that I would take it up as work or career. I just did it, because it was something I enjoyed”.

When you follow the calling in your heart, you might not know where it might lead you. But it’s the journey that becomes a learning process. Renelle thoroughly enjoyed having started dance again and cherry on the sundae was that it was helping her and those around her in ways that she never knew it could. It also brought to forth one of the difficult phases of her life from her childhood which she could never fully comprehend.

When she was 10 years old, she was sexually abused for three years. She never understood what was happening to her and could never find a way to process that trauma that she went through. Guilt and anger are two flip sides of sexual abuse. For her, it manifested in the form of anger and she ended up becoming a bully in school. She led contrasting lives, on one hand, she excelled at everything in school andg on the other hand something inside her was dying because she didn’t know how to process what was happening to her. Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) became a transformational tool for her, which albeit unknowingly, helped heal her.

“DMT was a turning point for me and that’s why I can very confidently advocate it because it has transformed me, healed me. What I couldn’t even vocalize, got healed through dance. A process of healing started for me. After the course, gravitated to working with girls who had experienced sexual abuse, girls who were rescued from sex trafficking.

“I have never gone through it but I can somewhere process it and work with them. The pain that I have gone through has kindled a process not just for me but has become a breeding ground for empowering other people. The power of using movement to address issues which are otherwise difficult to voice and that has been a big revelation for me”.

Renelle is now a professional Dance Movement Therapist and continues to use the power of DMT to help heal people. Apart from working with children who are rescued from sex trafficking, she also works with children who are cancer survivors, children from the slums and even does corporate sessions.

Renelle Andrea Snelleksz, Dance Movement Therapy

She believes that this transformation in her didn’t happen overnight, it has been a slow gradual process of learning, unlearning, constantly asking questions and slowly finding answers to it and of course through people in her life who showed her the path to find faith.

“When I was in Kolkata, things concerning God were uncool and I always said who does that. When I came to Bombay, in my first year I didn’t go to church and all. There was a couple Aneela and Uday Rao, who would come to our hostel and talk to us. In the second year, I thought of giving it a shot and went to church. And very gradually the idea of God started becoming real to me. And only through that relationship, I could take steps that were so risky, that were so bizarre, because the only thing that I was leaning on was that God will take care of me. I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams that I would lead the life that I am leading now. So, being able to find that faith was crucial to my journey”.

From growing up with troubling questions to slowly finding her answers in faith, Renelle has come a long way. She lives life with a carefree outlook on things because isn’t that the basis to achieve what you can truly achieve without giving your life space to things that aren’t adding value to who you’re as a person.

“Respond to the gentle nudging of your heart, sometimes it may seem as bizarre ideas and really whacked out risks, but the pieces of the puzzle come together and they come together for your own good”.

Whether you choose or you don’t, eventually whatever you do, your heart will guide you to do what’s best for you and push you there.


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Shinu Ramachandran

Shinu is a contributer to Chaaipani. If you have a passion for telling stories, you can also get published. To start writing, log in to your account, and we'll pay you to write happy, inspiring stories.

About the Author

Shinu Ramachandran

Shinu is a contributer to Chaaipani. If you have a passion for telling stories, you can also get published. To start writing, log in to your account, and we'll pay you to write happy, inspiring stories.

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