Sole Expression: Trauma-Informed Dance Intervention

View Project Fact Sheet (PDF)

PROJECT at a glance:


To refine, implement, and evaluate a trauma-informed dance intervention that is innovative and creative and will promote healing and well-being for youth (ages 12-17) who have experienced child abuse and/or domestic violence.


  • To refine and pilot test a trauma-informed dance intervention for male and female youth who have experienced child abuse and/or domestic violence
  • To further refine the dance intervention based on pilot study findings and determine a sample size for statistical significance
  • To implement and evaluate a multi-site trauma-informed dance intervention in both Toronto and Muskoka/Simcoe


Year 1:

  • Establish Project Leads Working Group
  • Establish Advisory Committee
  • Validity-testing of trauma-informed dance intervention curriculum
  • Develop training session for group facilitators and dance instructors

Year 2:

  • Analyze data from the pilot study
  • Provide training to group facilitators and dance instructors in Simcoe/Muskoka
  • Ongoing analysis

Year 3:

  • Conduct individual interviews
  • Review findings from Pilot One and Two group series
  • Implement full intervention in both sites
  • Review findings with PWLG and present to Advisory Committee

Year 4:

  • Continue to implement group sessions
  • Implement intervention research in both sites
  • Continue to deliver 2 group series in each site

Year 5:

  • Finalize Knowledge Transfer plan and present to Advisory Committee
  • Develop draft program manual for ongoing program delivery in other centres



BOOST Child & Youth Advocacy Centre: a not for profit organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and violence through education, awareness and community collaboration.
Ryerson University: a public research university located in Toronto, Canada.


Ryerson University, UNITY, Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka


Fall 2017

  • Sole Expression recently started its 3rd group series in Toronto and has found that each time the program is offered, the response is better with a higher number of referrals as word spreads. 

    During one of the sessions, one participant said that the time when she is at the group is the only time that she is not thinking about the rest of her life. Another participant reflected and said, “I have such bad stage fright. I can’t believe I was able to do that.” This was week 3 and she continued to dance in front of others, to the point where she was doing it on her own. When project members asked participants to reflect on what they are taking with them from the group as a whole, responses included:

    Curiosity, acceptance, courage, connection, community, family

    “I’ve noticed I am way more confident. When I went back to school, I had a drama class and had to get up in front of everyone on the first day. Usually, I would have been so nervous and worried what everyone would think of me, but I didn’t feel that way. I did it and I was so proud”.

    “I’ve made so many friends here and I know they will continue to be my friends”.

  • Sole Expression is planning to begin two consecutive group series in Barrie and Orillia in March 2018.

Winter 2016