Founder Emily Nussdorfer, Formal Bio
Emily Nussdorfer, MA, LPC, BC-DMT, received her masters in dance movement therapy from MCP Hahnemann University in 2001. She is currently working in private practice with a specialty in trauma. She has intensive recent experience working with women with sexual abuse and addictions and is passionate about helping women to heal and find empowerment and joy in their lives after trauma. She has worked extensively a dance/theatre teaching artist, curriculum designer, and board-certified dance movement therapist, providing DMT services to diverse populations of all ages, both inpatient and outpatient for over 20 years. She has worked as a clinician in school settings in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey with children and adolescents with behavioral disorders, and in in-patient psychiatric facilities with children, adolescents, dual diagnosed adults in crisis, and elders with psychiatric symptoms in relation to dementia and alzheimers. She founded the non profit, Moving Creations Inc, in 2005 to provide dance and drama therapy based curricula to help develop empowerment and leadership skills in underserved girls living in resource deprived communities.
Prior to her dance therapy work, she lived in New York City, studied flamenco dance and worked as an actress for four years with the Living Theatre, performing movement theater around issues of social justice, in-doors and out, in a wide variety of locales, and engaging audiences directly in the performances. In 1994, Emily created and conducted an award winning curriculum in creative dance and theater for children living in a shelter in Chinatown, through a program called Art Start, (see article below) and upon moving to Pennsylvania, became a Pennsylvania State Council of the Arts teaching artist. As a teaching artist, she conducted workshops and residencies for children in elementary schools, summer camps, and community centers for several years across the United States. When she traveled to Hawaii in 1997 to study indigenous healing dance and ritual, she developed an after-school movement program aimed to support literacy development in elementary children in a local Hawaiian school.
During her semester of graduate studies in Hawaii, she began a study of the processes of transformation within indigenous healing dances. In 1998, she began her masters program studies at MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, and in 2001 published her master's thesis, "Moving Creation, a dance and drama therapy-based program for preadolescent identity repair," based on an intensive literature review into the identity transformational processes across cultures and fields of inquiry, and some exploratory qualitative research in classroom behavior change in elementary school children in Coatesville, PA in 2000, using therapeutic dance and drama curricula she developed to test her ideas. In 2002, she commenced a three year training process to become a certified Spirit Gateways® movement healing practitioner, a form of shamanic energy work using expressive movement and meditation processes developed by Iana Lahi.
In 2003, with the support of the Family Planning Council and DHS of Philadelphia, she launched the Girls on the Move® program to support the emotional, social and empowerment needs of pre-adjudicated and adjudicated adolescent girls exhibiting self destructive, high-risk behaviors, living in marginalized, low income Philadelphia communities. Girls on the Move® was developed from her master’s thesis research into the effectiveness of a synthesis of culturally-targeted dance, theater and creative arts therapy in promoting healing, empowerment and social change amongst marginalized adolescent youth. She founded Moving Creations Inc. in 2005 to expand this work. Together with a team of multicultural artists, chosen for their cultural and artistic expertise she tested and refined the program over a period of 10 years. Girls on the Move® has served over 100 girls since its inception, and garnered awards and acclaim (see website below). The program yielded important qualitative data regarding causative factors of self-destructive behaviors in this population of girls and the reparative properties of culturally-targeted art forms, creativity and female artist mentorship in transforming these behaviors, which she is currently going through to develop a series of journal articles and eventually a book on this work.
Currently, through LifeDance® with Emily she provides individual and group psychotherapy services, as well as dance therapy sessions ( both individual and group). She supervises graduate students, and develops and teaches workshops in a wide range of therapeutic, anthropological, cultural, spiritual and empowering educational applications of dance in a wide range of settings, from colleges and school classrooms, to yoga studios, community centers and corporations.