Dance Movement Therapy Program Coordinator and Curriculum Writer
Stefanie D. Belnavis is a Jamaican-born, Dance Movement Therapist, and Founder of The Diahann Dance Movement Therapy Project (TDDMTP). She creative manifesto explores the convergence of movement, arts education, somatic choreography, expressive arts therapy, integrative disability collaborations, and, mental health advocacy, to broaden a collective cultural narrative around the body, movement, mental health and wellness through community building, professional learning communities, social justice activism, and, entrepreneurship.
In 2014 she created TDDMTP, a creative therapeutic collaborative wherein the integration of body awareness, movement responses to ones lived experiences, and, the ways in which the interplay between holistic self-care practices, body knowledge and improvisation informs ones dance/movement therapy practice is explored and celebrated. Stefanie hopes to propel TDDMTP’s initiative across the Caribbean Diaspora through continued cross-cultural collaborations and dialogue around the impact of mental health issues and the arts.
Stefanie’s movement-based choreographic work is greatly informed by her passion and advocacy for the recognition, integration and inclusion of dance movement therapy and mental health treatment in under-served communities, indicated by her work in Boston, Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic. Her experience as a visually-impaired dance artist and choreographer, has propelled Stefanie’s research within the Caribbean blind community, specifically through her duo-ethnographic graduate study which explored impact of trauma on the body through the lived experiences of Jamaican-born dancers and choreographers who had experienced partial blindness later in life.
Currently based in the Boston-area, Stefanie works as a Dance Movement Therapist providing early childhood mental health consultation and therapy services to children ages 0 – 8 and their caregivers. Her body/movement-based approach is focused on supporting her clients through adverse life events ranging from symptoms related to trauma and anxiety to disrupted attachment and multiple foster care placements.
Stefanie holds a BA in Contemporary Modern Dance from Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, and, an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance Movement Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.