MARA: Movement Assessment and Reporting App

MARA: Movement Assessment and Reporting App

The world’s first iPad app
for dance movement therapy assessment


The next version of our app, now called MARA, will be released in April 2018. This includes a much expanded range of outcomes, further developed through trials; new security features allowing two levels of access and the option of different users on the same app licence; and expanded graphing and exporting options.

In the meantime, we invite people to join our trial of the version under development, helping us advance the resource and contributing to knowledge in dance movement therapy. Contact to join the trial and access the app version being developed, or to be advised when the new version is released.



If you’d like to try MARA for free for 30 days, follow these simple steps:
1: Download Filemaker Go
Download free app Filemaker Go onto your iPad. Versions 15 and 16 will both work with the app.  If you are not in Australia you might need to directly google iTunes store in your own country to find Filemaker Go.

2: Download MARA  To download MARA onto your iPad, click here.
 iPads give very little indication that a download has started. Please tap the appropriate MARA download icon only once to avoid multiple downloads. It may take a minute or two to download.


3: Open MARA.
Your iPad will ask you which app to open MARA in. Select Filemaker Go. If this option is not available, check that you have installed Filemaker Go 15 or 16. Then open MARA within Filemaker Go.

Return to MARA at any time by opening Filemaker Go and choosing MARA from the list of files on the left.

Thank you for trying MARA.

If you have any technical difficulties please contact us.

About the App

MARA (Movement Assessment and Reporting App) is the world’s first iPad app for dance movement therapy assessment.

This product helps dance movement therapists and other dance specialists assess their clients’ progress effectively and efficiently. It provides a portable option for assessment, which is essential for professionals who are on their feet throughout the therapeutic process. It enables gathering and systematising of data and export of this into user-friendly reports.

Currently dance movement therapists have few well accepted tools for assessment. Many agencies employing these professionals also lack assessment protocols and practices that support evidence-based practice. MARA provides a theoretically supported, methodologically sound assessment tool that is practical and easy to use.

In enabling practitioner-collected data, the app can contribute to better therapists and therapy, offer agencies employing dance movement therapists stronger data about client progress, and potentially improve the evidence base for dance movement therapy.

How mara works

MARA’s assessment schema is based on the Framework for Dance Movement Assessment (Dunphy & Mullane, 2017), developed especially for dance movement therapists.  Therapeutic domains, goals, assessment indicators and scales are informed by theory, evidence and practice knowledge contributed by dance movement therapists across the world, through a decade of research and development.

The Framework is applicable across the broad diversity of contexts, populations and cultural groups. Therapists are able to select therapeutic domains and goals to assess each session or program, from a comprehensive range encompassing physical, emotional, cognitive, cultural and interpersonal domains.

MARA is simple to use.  The app technology allows therapists to assess as they go. No paper, pens or sitting down required. Therapists just tap the screen to record their score on assessment scales provided, as many times in a session as their assessment protocol demands.  This reduces the need for laborious transcription of data from notes to computers to assessment reports. The app turns the tap into data, which is collated into table and graphic form automatically.

Numerical assessment can be augmented by photo and video recordings, hand written notes or drawings, and sound recordings enabled through the app. Notes, drawings and sound recordings can also be provided by clients, as triangulation of assessments made by therapists. All of this data can be exported into reports.

MARA enables client progress to be compared for any period: within or across a single session, a series of sessions, a year, or more. Client progress can be compared for an individual over time, or between clients or groups of clients.

MARA’s features

Technology structure: MARA operates through software Filemaker Go, which is freely available for users from the Apple store.

Client information storage: MARA’s functions include storage of client personal data such as name, contact details, information about health and an identification photo.

Attendance function: An attendance function allows monitoring of client participation in a program, including the number of sessions the client has attended compared with the total number of sessions offered. A ‘Groups’ function enables individual client records to be organised into groups as clients might be in DMT settings.

Security features:  MARA’s security features include password protected access, two levels of access for managers and users of the assessment process, and the option of different users on the same licence.

Data export: Data can be exported in Excel form, via email and transfer to iTunes. This enables it to be used in other contexts, for archiving or back-up.

who could use mara?

Dance movement therapists work with clients across the lifespan, in diverse settings including community based, agency and institutional locations. These include schools, aged care, mental health and disability services, counselling and psychotherapy, recreation and health and wellbeing programs. Funding for DMT programs is provided by NDIS, local and state government funds, agency internal funds and clients themselves.

All of these stakeholders in the dance movement therapy process could be benefitted by improved data made available by MARA. Assessment elements prioritise use of plain language as far as possible, to enable assessment results to be understood by program managers, funders, and clients themselves


We’re pleased that our work developing MARA has been acknowledged in two awards, one in the US and one in Australia.

2015: Award for innovation in dance movement therapy, American Dance Therapy Association, ADTA Conference, San Diego, USA, October 2015.
2014: Award for outstanding presentation. Using new technology for classroom assessment: an iPad app to measure learning in dance education, Excellence in Professional Practice Conference, ACER, Melbourne, May 2014.


MARA has been developed by dance movement therapists Kim Dunphy and Sue Mullane to address identified needs of their profession of dance movement therapy. It has been presented and discussed at conferences and seminars across the world since 2010, and refined in response to this input.

Support for MARA’s development and trialling has been provided by the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation (of the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australasia), and the PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia) and an anonymous charitable foundation. Current developments of MARA are being supported by a Mackenzie Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Melbourne for developer Kim Dunphy.

Developers: Advaita Digital (Frank Ryder and Dennis Claringbold).