Empowering Women through Art

Our own Morning Dew host, Sage Tanguay, and Dorothy Stephenson of Sundance Studio in Monterey, Virginia have developed an eight-week program to empower women by using the arts to help liberate them from their emotional shackles. I met up with Dorothy recently and I asked her where the idea for this program came from.


This was one of those “wouldn’t be cool to have a course that allowed women to empower themselves, gain more self-confidence, gain more self-awareness through the arts,” because Sage and I have both had our times where being performing artists or literary artists say any kind of arts, has really helped us.  Sage and I are performing artists, but we do have experience with writing, different kinds of writing, whether it be poetry or informational writing or things like that. So we’re going to try to use any method as far as arts that we can.  Or, even individual methods. If somebody is really drawn to photography, we may incorporate that.  But it’s all taking art and how art can help you and be so therapeutic and just rolling it together so that people can process whatever emotion or whatever problem they have.

For me personally, it was mostly with anxiety and depression. So just having the art to funnel emotion, funnel aggression, funnel depression, process it, have it as, almost like, not only an outlet, but also camaraderie. So kind of all those things involved, we kind of put it together and said, this has really helped us, let’s try to use it to help other women.  Even though people don’t want to talk about it, anxiety and depression is a huge issue. Some people are perfectly fine talking about it, other people are not so much. But if they’re not comfortable talking about it, if we can show them a way that they can use art to process their emotions, find out more about the root of why they’re feeling that way, and then use art, then they can start to delve a little deeper and find the root of the issue, find out why they feel that way, and then process how they want to feel in the future.


What’s the connection between movement and processing emotions?


Physically moving your body to that emotion is so therapeutic. Like if you’re mad, and you’ve got a punching bag in front of you, you punch it, you feel better.  If you’re sad, and you move, it’s therapeutic enough to somehow work it out.  It’s like sweating that emotion out of your body. It helps you process.  At the very least, it’s liberating because you’re able to execute something for that emotion. When you’re depressed and you’re driving down the road and you hear that song that just nails what you’re feeling, when you are able to put movement to that musical emotion, it is very liberating. It allows you to take physical control of your emotion and it’s healing. It’s therapeutic. There’s something to it.


Where does the concept of liberation fit into the program?


It’s so hard for some people to do so hard for some people to let other people in on their emotions. But when once you do it is strengthening, liberating, and you get to the point where you don’t care anymore. You don’t care if somebody doesn’t like the way you feel.  That’s the way you feel and to let it out and to experience your emotion in front of other people in a way that may not make you feel comfortable at first, you eventually get to be comfortable with it. As a result, you get to be more comfortable with yourself and your own emotions and you get to you, you run your emotions and your emotions don’t run you.


How can listeners get more information about the program?


Any ladies who are wanting to give this a try, who want more information about the class, a class description, outline of the course, fees, anything like that, can visit our website, www.SundanceStudio.net and classes will take place at the studio on Meadowdale Road in Meadowdale, Route 640.


This is Mickey Frank Thomas for Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By


Mickey Frank Thomas

Mickey Frank began his radio career in October 2017 when he was offered the impossible-to-fill 9:00 p.m. to midnight slot on Saturdays, where his coordinated mix of pop, soft rock and R&B from the 60s through the 80s met with little acclaim. Deciding that he needed a more awake audience, he added the 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. afternoon drive slot to his workload when it became available in December 2018. Originally from Morton, Illinois, good, old Mickey Frank has lived in more places than he can count on his fingers and toes, but now resides in Highland County.  Email Mickey Frank at  mickeyfrank@amrmail.org.

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