Training (n°11 75 50 965 75)

The details of the Atelier du Geste Rythmé training


France Schott-Billmann, doctor in psychology, psychoanalyst and dance therapist, teaches dance therapy at the Art Therapy Master of Paris Descartes University. She is the president of the Danse Rythme Lien social et Thérapie (DRLST) association. She is the author of several books concerning anthropology of dance and dance therapy.

All the other Atelier du Geste Rythmé tutors, dancers, musicians, psychologists and art therapists, intertwine an artistic mediation (music, dance or others) with their own domain.


There is not a legislation concerning the profession of dance therapist. Therefore, if you want to attend the training, it is wise to have already a professional diploma. So the training of the Atelier du Geste Rythmé can be considered mostly as an additional training, that allows to enrich and deepen the capabilities of intervention adding the artistic mediation through dance. In fact, the practice of dance therapy in many domains, like in associations, is precarious since it does not guarantee neither social advantages nor retirement.

So, the Atelier du Geste Rythmé training is mostly addressed to people who have a profession in health (doctors, psychologists, psychomotricians, healthcare assistants...), in the social field (social assistants, social workers, sociologists, educators...), in art (artists, experts is art and cultural mediations, teachers, students), and in education (teachers, educators). However it does not exclude all the ones who might be interested in it.

This training concerns as well all the ones that are engaged in creating or restoring social bonds, or in fighting against social exclusion. It is addressed also to the ones who desire peace because we think that sharing dances and rhythms can have a political role of promoting union among nations.

AIMS: to give theoretic and practical tools (rhythms, songs, dances, expression primitive) that could be used in the frame of a therapeutic or social project, and skills corresponding to the requirements of the European professional associations of “Danse Rythme Lien Social et Thérapie”. Thus, health experts will discover original and effective tools to take care of the others, while art experts will learn to develop and deepen their relational and intervention skills toward this kind of public.


The Atelier du Geste Rythmé training requires 450 hours: 350 hours attending the workshops + 50 hours of practice with a specific public + 50 hours of research and the elaboration of a thesis concerning an experience made by the participant in the frame of an artistic mediation.

300 hours of training of the Atelier du Geste Rythmé are in common with the ones of the DRLST training (see the window DRLST Association).

The Atelier du Geste Rythmé training is organized in workshops according to a flexible structure. You are free to start whenever you feel to, in every moment of the year, to take part in the workshops following the order you wish, to choose your own rhythm and your own schedule.



Baccalaureate+2 or 4, or validation of the professional or personal experience [VALIDATION DES ACQUIS (VAE)], especially if the professional experience regards therapy, art, social or education fields.

Preliminary audition (for instance through the practical participation to a workshop). The audition will allow to evaluate the level of dance (sense of rhythm, coordination) AND relational skills. Interview with a tutor who agrees with the participant his personalized schedule, giving a bibliography and a “feuille de route-roadmap” to report the attended workshops with a summary of their contents.


  1. The training is not organized according to a fixed annual program with a closed group. Everyone proceeds following his own rhythm, deciding in which workshop participate depending on his obligations and commitments. The whole price of the training has not to be paid in advance, you can pay the workshops one by one. You can choose your order. Thus, a “unique class” pedagogy is offered, mixing experts and novices.
  2. Theory and practice are transmitted at the same time, never in a dogmatic way. However, a personal engagement and a work to do at home is required:
  3. - you can select readings for each teaching unit from a bibliography given at the beginning of the training,
  4. - you will be given written or audio documents during the workshops, in order to revise and complete the oral teachings.

During the workshops everyday life unfolds along five fundamental axis:

practical learning of dance; participation in the collective life; theoretical teaching: classes, videos; group leading; analysis of the practice and group supervisions.

These axis structure the days and the teachings are alternated in a balanced way through an interaction between practice and theory: theoretical contributions, practical workshops, group conversations and video sessions for an self-evaluation, films and/or audio-visual documents, personal creations.

We can also suggest readings and research tracks (museums, films, performances, web sites) in order to nourish the participants' desire of knowledge. However, we hope to transmit such a strong curiosity to make them discover more by themselves.


Expression Primitive is an accessible, particularly powerful and effective form of dance. We prefer it among other dance therapy techniques because it corresponds to nowadays worries and concerns: the search for roots, the need of finding essentiality through simple, stylized, strong and shared forms. Expression Primitive experiments this essential in the pulsation. Since Expression Primitive transposes the vital beat of the heart and the breath in the rhythm, the pulsation is alive, it lives and we are enlivened by this contact. As the Haitian dancer and choreographer Herns Duplan, founder of this technique, writes: “the pulsation is a perfect cycle: it appears, lives and disappears; thus, it obeys to a ternary law that governs all of us. When it repeats at regular moments of time, it becomes a frame of life, a way to fix, regulate, build and elaborate time” (www.

Expression Primitive is “the result of a deep blend” which has made aware its founder of the universality of the pulsation. This technique is marked by the works of the Afro-American choreographer and anthropologist Katherine Dunham, who wrote her thesis on Haitian voodoo and the sacred Caribbean therapeutic rituals in the fifties. Dunham, so sensitive to cultural blend and to universality, considered the pulsation the universal invariant that was present beyond the diversity of the forms of expression.

Dunham and Duplan's work have been continued by others. France Schott-Billmann has been teaching it since1976. Furthermore, she has added therapeutic basis drawn from human sciences (anthropology, psychoanalysis, ethology, palaeontology...).


The formation is conceived as a process starting from a personal experience, allowing everybody to work on his own implication in the observed processes.

The participation in the collective life is essential, since it focuses on the openness to the others, on the self-management and on taking responsibilities through its tutoring system in which the more expert ones take care of the new ones.

We think that what is at stake about dance can recall to be alive, to create bonds, to share. Sharing dances and rhythms can activate deep transformation effects on the self and it allows the invention of new modalities of living, more open toward ourselves, the group and the others.

This experience at the heart of the training cannot replace the therapeutic path that should be undertaken by all the ones who wish to dedicate themselves to a therapeutic or psycho-pedagogic relation. For the ones who wish to dedicate to the animation, it is suggested.


The evaluation is done through a continuous control, a practical exam and a research thesis.

a. Continuous control: the training develops autonomy and the sense of collectivity. The evaluations at the end of every workshop are self-evaluation made in small groups starting from a questionnaire.

b. Practical exam: it consists in leading a session simulating a professional situation (animation or therapy). Then it is asked to be able to argument the choice of the exercises during a collective discussion. The exam is filmed by an expert and the videotape is given to the candidate.

  1. The discussion of the research thesis during a training workshop. The thesis is about the application of the technique to a specific public.

The training is attested by a certificate by the Atelier du Geste Rythmé, that will bring the mention “Animation” or “Dance therapy”.


Each of the 10 teaching units (35 hours each) studies dance therapy and Expression Primitive under a different perspective. Every workshop deals with themes from the list of the teaching units in the interaction between practice and theory. Our principles: never “theory for theory sake” without practical tools, never practical “recipes” without theoretical bases.

This method, that has given its results for 25 years, will give effective tools to the participant allowing him to practice dance therapy with different kinds of public.


UE 1 : The body: biology, anatomy, history, representations

UE 2 : Neurobiology and ethology:

The mechanisms of the brain. Emotions. Modified states of consciousness: trance, ecstasy, possession. Genetically programmed behaviours, between nature and culture. The game. The ritual. Non-verbal language.

UE 3 : Human sciences applied to music and dance

· Music and society.

· History of dance.

· Social functions of dance.

· Dance and spirituality. The repression of trance in the West.

· Dance therapy in traditional societies: conceptions of illness. Music healing through trance.

· Its applications in dance therapy nowadays.

UE 4 : Psychology: genetic psychology, psychopathology, comparative approach of different therapeutic methods and the place of art therapy.

· Psychological operative concepts in art therapy.

· Children evolution stages: the evolution of the child, the mother-child relationship, the game. Symbolization. Fort-da.

· Main nosological entities.

· Comparative approach of therapy: the shaman, the psychoanalyst, the behaviourist.

· Place and specificities of the art therapist in these different trends.

UE 5 : Artistic teaching

  • Main artistic trends of the 20th century. Primitivism in plastic arts: aesthetics and stakes.
  • Primitivism in dance: the coming back of the pulsation in the 20th century. Cultural blending and Afro-American culture. Common rhythmic structures at the base of the blending: pulsation, repetition and symmetry.
  • Expression Primitive basics: « black dance », traditional Haitian dances and their interpretation by H. Duplan and K. Dunham.
  • Deconstruction/reconstruction method.

UE 6 : Expression Primitive practical teaching

· Rhythm and movement

The training presupposes a sense of rhythm and of the group. This UE is not only a learning of the technique, but it aims to reactivate resources related to rhythm, voice and dance, to encourage a playful relationship with the other, to awaken body memory and skills of moving, singing and playing. It makes you reconnect to the creativity rooted in the transitional area, nourished by the training with several various contributions.

· Voice, singing and vocal improvisation.

The voice is an essential dimension in Expression Primitive, that is a dance using melodic or rhythmic vocal expression. Its “singing” is not made by words, but by asemantic phonemes created by the animator from vocal improvisations that are transmitted to the dancers.

· Expression Primitive practice in different applied devices: the circle, the mirror, the traversées (traversing the space)...

· The role of the musician. The video and its use.

UE 7 : Dance-rhythm-therapy

· Different approaches in dance therapy.

· Specificities in dance-rhythm-therapy.

· Indications, different types of public, ethics.

· The relation in artistic mediation.

· Expression Primitive in clinic and educational practice.

· The profession of dance therapist.

UE 8 : Group leading

The participant will learn how to build effective devices in dance therapy. He will be given a group or a subject and he will be asked to lead and animate a practical session in a creative way and to reflect on the practice.

UE-9 : Analysis of case-studies

Studying published, reported or observed cases by therapists or students during their internships will allow to learn how to observe and intervene in different clinic situations in a dance therapy frame.

UE-10 : Methodology/thesis

Methods for gathering and analysing data concerning the thesis. Current researches in France and abroad. Promote and alert to the interest of researching.

© DRLST // Atelier du Geste Rythmé