'We hold our stories in our bodies' – meet the dance class offering disabled adults a new lease on life

A dance programme in Auckland is offering a unique form of therapy for intellectually and physically disabled people, and is proving to be a mighty hit.

Dance Therapy NZ is based in an Onehunga community centre and aims to provide those with disabilities a place to express themselves. 

Dance Therapy NZ offers a unique outlet for intellectually and physically disabled Kiwis, but the growing programme needs funding. Source: 1 NEWS

It offers a Dance 4 Us class every Tuesday - most sessions packed to the rafters - with dance therapist Angie Richardson describing the programme as a "little bit magic". 

"My core goal for these sessions… that they have moments where they feel delicious and scrummy, that they are able to share with other people," Ms Richardson told 1 NEWS NOW.

"I think we hold our stories in our bodies and I think movement allows us to tell our stories.

"This is a way to deepen relationships, when sometimes it’s not easy for them to verbalise what it is that they would like to say."

However with immense popularity comes an increasing need for funding, something the programme is desperately trying to muster, says operations and finance manager Stephen Dallow.

"We're funded by a multitude of different funders, local community board funding, councils, pub charities, grants... we literally apply for everything we can to try and offer as many programmes as we can," he said.  

The programme is hoping to expand further around Auckland, and even to the South Island in places such as Christchurch to offer the alternative therapy form for those still affected by the quakes.

A Givealittle page has been set up to financially assist Dance Therapy NZ and its programmes around Auckland.