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Marian Chace (31 October 1896 – 19 July 1970) is one of the founders of modern dance therapy.

Marion Chace was born 31 October 1896 in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of Daniel Champlin Chace, a journalist and editor, and Harriet Edgaretta (Northrop) Chace. Her younger siblings were Marjorie (1899–1991), Olive (1905–1977), and Edgar Northrop Chace (1908–1983).

She studied modern dance and choreography with Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis at the Denishawn School of Dance and started work as a dance performer. However she believed that the body and mind are interrelated, and influenced by the work of Carl Jung.

She began to teach in Washington D.C. and noticed some of her students were more interested in the expression of emotions than in dance technique and began to emphasize this in her classes. Her students reported feelings of well being which intrigued local doctors, some of the National Institutes of Health, who began to send some of their patients to her classes. Her approach included body active, symbolism, therapeutic movement relationship, and rhythmic group activity. Eventually she joined the staff at St. Elizabeth’s hospital in southeast Washington D.C. and studied at the Washington School of Psychiatry. Chace started to teach in schools and hospitals advocating and lecturing on the therapeutic benefits of dance/body movement.[1] She worked for a number of years with patients at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, MD.

In the 1960s she founded a training program for dance therapists New York. In 1966 she founded the American Dance Therapy Association and became its first president.


  1. ^ Marian Chace Biography

> "Marian Chace: Her Papers" by Harris Chaiklin. Columbia, Maryland:American Dance Therapy Association, 1975.