Friday, March 19, 2010

Teachers learn jigs to treat differently abled

Dance therapist Pasha is conducting a workshop for special educators in the city

For 43-year-old Delhi-based Syed Sallauddin Pasha, the word impossible is alien.

A classical dancer, choreographer and dance and movement therapist, Pasha has dedicated over 25 years of his life towards the cause of empowering the differently abled.

Pasha is the founder of Ability Unlimited, a one-of-its kind Therapeutic Theatre Production, for people with disabilities. He is holding a two-day workshop for special educators who have come from all over Maharashtra at the Bal Kalyan Sanstha from Thursday.

Pasha has received many accolades including the National Award in 2007 for his outstanding performance in the field of empowering persons with disabilities.

"I use a combination of many therapies such as dance and rhythm therapy, emotional freedom techniques and group therapy to relieve the stress in the differently abled and help them open up," said Pasha, fondly known as Guruji. The exercises and therapies have been adjusted to suit the requirement of the differently abled.

"I am here to teach these skills to the special educators who can in turn use them to heal their students," he added.He said during group therapy, the participants feel secure. "We use various themes such as those of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Students get into a certain character, where they get a different identity altogether," he added.

He has worked with differently abled people across the world. And through such dance therapy sessions the differently abled get opportunities to showcase their creativity, said Pasha.

Claiming that the mindset of people towards the differently abled is slowly changing, Pasha said they don't want sympathy or mercy. But they need opportunities to prove themselves. The workshop will focus on the theory and practice of these therapies, the adaptation and the implementation of the dance therapy for multiple disabilities which includes both physical and mental disabilities.

Ability Unlimited is known for its dance performances from Indian epics by the differently abled, mostly using Bharatnatyam.

Published in DNA, Pune on March 19, 2010.

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