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Valerie Blanc

Assistant Professor/Coordinator of Dance Movement Therapy

617.349.8248
faculty Valerie Blanc

Valerie Blanc, PhD, LMHC, BC-DMT, CMA, has been a part of the Lesley dance/movement therapy specialization faculty since 2011 and as a core faculty since 2018. She is currently the Coordinator of the Dance/Movement Therapy specialization working with a vibrant team of innovative educators. She teaches in both the on campus and hybrid low residency distance learning programs and was a part of the design team to create the low residency curriculum. Her teaching work includes the DMT Theories courses, Clinical Applications and Supervision, and the span of Body Movement Observation courses. She has been an integral part of curricular redesign in these courses, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the dance/movement therapy pedagogy both at Lesley and nationally.  

Currently, Valerie is a dance/movement therapist in private practice specializing in work with young children and their families as well as and clinical supervision. Her clinical experience has centered around work with children with a focus on work with attachment patterns and sensory integration work- especially with the deaf population. She has extensive experience in inpatient psychiatric work with children and adolescents as well as community mental health support. She worked for 13 years with the Boston Children’s Foundation implementing the Rainbowdance and CBI programs in acute trauma response and resiliency building utilizing the expressive therapies. She acted as a lead trainer in the Rainbowdance and CBI programs, traveling to Taiwan, Mississippi, and New Jersey in response to acute natural disasters in these areas.  

Valerie’s research interests center around the pedagogical practices of dance/movement therapy and building pedagogical theory in the field. Her recent research studies have explored the dance/movement therapy hybrid low residency student’s sense of embodied presence in their core courses as well as pedagogical practices of dance/movement therapy educators in ADTA approved programs. She was also part of the planning committee for the 2020 international Pathways to Practice: Conversations in Arts Therapies Education conference, as well as co-leading ongoing departmental workshops exploring pedagogical themes in the expressive therapies at Lesley. In collaboration with music therapy colleague she has also explored a critical perspective of the histories of dance/movement therapy and music therapy through a duo-ethnographic and arts based lens.  

With national and local leadership in professional organizations, she has acted on the American Dance Therapy Association’s Committee on Approval, collaborating with educators across the United States to assure educational standards for DMT education. She is also an active member of the ADTA Education Committee where she currently asks on several task forces addressing educational standards revision, critical examination of movement observation lenses in DMT, and revision of the application process for board certification in the field.  

Valerie grew up in Massachusetts where she now lives with her husband, two children, and pug. She is active in the arts community in Cambridge and dances with the Guardians of Isadora dance group who perform the repertoire of Isadora Duncan.   

Scholarship

Publications:

10/16 Beardall, N., Blanc, V., Cardillo, N. J., Karman, S., & Wiles, J. (2016). Creating the online body: Educating dance/movement therapists using a hybrid low-residency model. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 38(2), 407-428 

5/17 Blanc, V. (2018). The experience of embodied presence for the hybrid dance/movement therapy student: A qualitative pilot study. Internet and Higher Education. 38, 47-54.  

5/19 Blanc, V. (2019). The dance of becoming: Pedagogy in Dance/movement therapy in the United States. (Doctoral dissertation) Lesley University, Cambridge, MA 

6/20 Blanc, V. (2020) Book review: Martha Eddy, Mindful Movement. American Journal of Dance Therapy. 42(2), 139-142. 

4/21 Thomas, N. & Blanc, V. (2021). Break it then build again: An arts based duoethnographic pilot reconstructing music therapy and dance/movement therapy histories. The Arts in Psychotherapy. 73, 1-9. 

In press Blanc, V. (2021). The dance of becoming: Pedagogy in dance/movement therapy in the United States. American Journal of Dance Therapy. 

Selected Presentations: 

National American Dance Therapy Association Conference Brooklyn, NY “Hearing with the Body: Strength in Movement Patterns of Deaf Children,” 2013 

National American Dance Therapy Association Conference Chicago, IL “Line-dancing and Online Dancing: A Hybrid Model for Training DMTs”  Co-presenters: Nancy Beardall, Shira Karman, Jennifer Wiles, and Nancy Jo Cardillo, 2014  

Practice and Pedagogy: Clinical Instructor Workshop Lesley University  “Embodied Teaching and Embodied Learning,” 2017 

The Creative Therapies in the Helping Professions: Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care Conference St Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, A Time To Dance: Multi-Age and Multi-Ability Liturgical Dance for Connection and Healing,” 2018 

Adjunct Faculty Workshop  Lesley University, Cambridge, MA  “Activating Student Engagement: Strategies for Expressive Therapies Instruction” Co-presenters Dawn Burau and Jason Butler, 2018 

ADTA National Conference Presentation  Miami, FL “Landscapes of Learning: Pedagogy in Dance/Movement Therapy, Co-Presenter Dr. Eri Millrod, 2019 

Pathways to Practice: Conversations in Arts Therapies Education, International Arts Therapies Online Conference, Co-chairs/co-facilitators Dr. Marisol Norris and Dr. Jason Butler, 2020 

Education

  • Ph.D., Lesley University
  • MA, Lesley University
  • BA, University of New Hampshire
  • Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist (BC-DMT)
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor, MA (LMHC)
  • Certified Movement Analyst (CMA)