Grounded free trees

Main topics  

Dance therapy

How much time do you need?

75 min

How many people do you need?

Up to 12

Material required

Music, percussions

Preparation Stage


Make sure you have time to prepare the space before the workshop starts. The room should be as empty as possible. Any objects or furniture should be put outside the room, if this is not possible, try to put them aside and create free space.

Organize a safe corner where you can plug your devices to play your music. It is important that you have already prepared a playlist so as to know which music is suitable with the activities that you will do.

If there are specific materials that you are going to use during the session, organize them in a space accessible to you.

Make sure that those who are hosting you in the room (for example a reception centre, a school etc) and participants have clear the date and time of your meeting. Do not assume that these things are clear for everybody and do not be ashamed to give the same information more than once.

Ask participants to dress comfortably during the workshop. 


Before meeting with the group, focus on some key questions that can allow you to better think about the activities that you are going to plan.

If you are going to meet the group for the first time, what do you know about the group? Who are the participants (age, nationality, background, gender etc)?

If you already know the group, ask yourself how you expect to find them: think about the previous meetings you had and which was the development of the activities so far. What is the development of each person in the group? And of the whole group?

Moreover, what about you? What are your feelings towards the group and each participant?

Any fears? Any expectations?

Sometimes we tend to propose activities because we like them but maybe they do not suit the participants’ needs. This self-reflection is fundamental to make the best choice for the group and for yourself.

Finally, remind yourself that you, as a conductor, have the responsibility to act as mirror for the group. If you enjoy, they enjoy. If you have any doubt about the activities that you are proposing, they can have those doubts as well.

Keep always in mind that the workshop can be very different from what you can expect it to be , so be always ready to be flexible and adapt the activities according to the situation. 

The workshop

Warm up activity

Participants are invited to leave the shoes outside the working place and to join the group in a circle.  In the circle, participants are invited to find a comfortable position and let themselves be led to do exercises focused on breathing, and analysing the perception of their own body. This phase if fundamental to help people to enter gently in a context that is much different from the ordinary life.  This phase can take from 10 up to 30 minutes; it depends on how the group responds. 

Core activity

Once people get more familiar with their breath, the facilitator leads them to stand on their feet and explore the connection between earth and sky through the body, that is breathing. Each person will have different perceptions. Invite them to focus on their spine and feel it during the exercise.  Moreover, the facilitator invites them to initiate slowly a series of movements, even little movements, exploring how the feet are grounded on the earth and so how the upper body can raise toward the space around and above them. As a tree, with strong roots and light leaves. The facilitator invites them to keep a fluid breath and a relaxed muscular tension that can allow them exploring deeper the movement in this way. Then the facilitator invites them to start exploring free movements whcih allow the legs and the upper body to move lighter and freely staring from breathing. Who feels ready, can move around the place and meet other people through movements.  While moving, the facilitator asks the participants to focus on one or more movements that represent them in that specific moment and repeat them by themselves till the movements take shape. Split participants into small groups and give them time to combine together each participant’s movement in order to create a small sequence. At the end ,each group will present the sequence to the others. 


Gather all participants in circle and close the session connecting again through the breath.

Propose a ritual where each participant greets the others with a very personal movement. 

Learning Outcomes

The outcomes expected at the end of the session are:

  • Being able to express yourself and interact with others through movements
  • Gain awareness of your own way of breathing
  • Gain awareness of yourposture and your way to stand
  • Being able to feel strong and rooted and at the same time free to move