We are close to 10,000 visits to this Blog. Amazing. People visit from all over the world.
Currently 170 of us are listed in the Authentic Movement Community Directory:
This month we have added the option of being listed in a Facilitator/Teacher Directory that is visible to all. You can check the Directory section of the Authentic Movement Web Site for more information about this new option.
Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the Web site and the Blog!
Elizabeth Reid and Ann McNeal email@example.com
Janet Thompson is working with students of the Wellesley College community to create a website honoring Mary Starks Whitehouse as an alumna and as a pioneer in developing Authentic Movement. Janet seeks writings about how Whitehouse has inspired the work, creativity or growth of authentic movers throughout the world. Do you have a poem, art piece, writing, word of thanks you would like to contribute?
Please forward directly to Janet at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Roberta Whitney at: email@example.com. Although contributions will be taken as they come, students are especially interested in submissions on or before 30 NOV 2008. Thank you!
It was mutually enriching experience for the practice AM, for personal and professional development. We clearly felt the importance of this meeting, the process and the connectedness.
Every day meeting yourself and the others we received new experience, new embodied understanding, went through the stories of the present and created the stories for the future.
The peer group experience was quite new for the AM community in Russia and certainly it was interesting to observe and participate in a such process of the group without a leader. Attention to details, tolerance – these are the other lessons of this meeting.
"My trip to Austria was following the flow. Everything: deeply touching Meetings that were happening, the process of Authentic Movement itself, magic of Vienna and responsiveness and care of the space in the Center "Gersthof" nourished me and the process that led me further. After that I traveled around Austria, to its towns and Alps allowing the new impressions, awareness and people to come into my life and get close to myself". Irina Muterperel.
"For me Authentic Movement practice is a moment of bigger awareness of myself in life, in the relationships with myself and with the others. It was important for me: the experience of being, connection in the group, contact, following the flow of the present moment – authenticy which the space brought up. Vienna gave me the feelings of beginning, inspiration and trust in the process". Elena Starikova.
"The Meeting in Vienna became for me incredibly refreshing and inspiring event. It is the meeting with the old, tenderly loved friends and meetings with new interesting people. It is the comfort space of the Center "Gersthof" and supporting atmosphere allowing to deepen into the own process. It is a lot of movement and long midnight talks about Dance and Movement Therapy and more… And the most important was the feeling of connection to the community. As I told on the ending circle: "I feel as some part of me came back that was lost and which I missed a lot"." Julia Morozova.
The other wonderful event following from AM International Gathering was the workshop "Authentic Contact" led by Brazilian participants Guto Macedo and Soraya Jorge, where the object of research became Contact Improvisation and Authentic Movement. It seems that Contact Improvisation can be enriched with the practice of witnessing, the "present moment" meeting and safety that gives AM. Guto and Soraya are the pioneers in this field of Authentic Contact; we wish them further advancement in their research and ideas.
The experience that we received in International Group of AM can provide the base for the going on AM projects in Russia and SNG countries. The following Gathering 2009 is scheduled in Brazil and 2010 in Russia.
© 2008 Irina Muterperel, Elena Starikova, Julia Morozova 21.09.08
First published in Russian Dance/Movement Therapy Association Newsletter
germaine fraser said...
It's so great to hear international voices! Thanks for letting us know of your very interesting experiences and invite me next time! (I'll come!)
warm wishes from a safe-to-come-out, about to reclaim her country (finally) American. Germaine
PS. I think a book should be written on your title alone. It says it all. If you need contributors, let me know.
Saturday, November 8, 2008 8:12:00 PM EST
Thank you so much for your comment! So let the international AM community be strong and grounded in inspiring meetings, new understandings and books with meaningful titles!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:45:00 AM EST
If you look through the Directory many who are participating have over 20 years doing
the practice. Is their long term commitment influencing our web site. Everyone who signs up to be part of Directory or communicates with me in any way expresses so much gratefulness that our web site exists. I feel the same way... kind of amazed and grateful to have this easy way to be connected with others who
share the same practice.
The web site averages about 500 different visitors per month from all over the world and has consistently for the past year. The Blog has had over 8,000 visits in one year.
Do you wish we could do something more with the web site and blog? Once again I
want to apologize for the learning curve on the technical glitches that happen with
the web site. I try my best to avoid mistakes, but because the technology is always
changing, sometimes glitches will just happen. Last month the blog letter error
was something I had no idea could even happen, but I keep learning..... and learning.
But also because things are always changing, maybe you will see something on another
web site that you think we should have. Or maybe there is something that you are
dreaming about that you could let us know about. Maybe you have something to contribute
to the Blog. Maybe you will want to announce your next event through the web site.
We so appreciate everything that comes.
Thanks to all who read and add to the Blog, who participate in the Authentic Movement
Community Directory, who list on the Events and Resources pages, and who contribute.
Your energy keeps the web site a lively place.
Looking forward to our future!
Dear Elizabeth and community,
A Big Open Arm Open Heart Thank you for everything and for your good words and feeling in your recent posting.
Just before opening this email I opened one from Unity saying to pay attention to experience one has when someone apologizes to you. Then - bingo! - your apology for technical errors last month.
Thank you so much for your conscientiousness.
Happy Happy Anniversary!
That the invitation to embrace all that we are is being presented within our ordinary lives and appears to be perfectly tailored to honor our own uniqueness
That not only the possibility but also the actuality of this emerging awareness of our existence within a joined reality is upon us
That the truth of who we are is being shared in so many ways, is becoming visable and felt by so many, that there exists a true livable sense that something both natural and miraculous is occuring within and around us
And at every instant that we bring our willingness, wholeheartedness and choiceful participation to bear upon our own arc of unfoldment, our embodiment of wholeness, that all of existence is simultaneously and mutually enhanced
That our aliveness and awareness exists within the means of this accomplishment being so, to live fully and uniquely as the love that we are
2008 Forrest Smithson
Your words sparkle like diamonds,
I got very excited reading Mark Coleman’s piece about his theatrical combination of Michael Chekhov’s Psychological Gesture and Focusing with his personal invention of Authentic Movement. It brought back to me my experiences as an actress when I was a member of an acting company that studied Chekhov’s work and did those exercises and psychological gestures. It’s also exciting to me to see how all that is still present in me in the form of the small sculptures that I make of the dream figures who come to me in my authentic movement. (And who speak to me via focusing.) I see that each of the figurines represents the essential movements of one of my many partial selves distilled into a psychological gesture.
Above are three photos and a drawing, only a few of the more than forty figurines I have made.
I totally love these! They add so much to the site and to the whole discussion. Thank-you!
Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:06:00 AM EDT
Aileen, I very often describe PGs to Chekhov novices in my workshops/rehearsals as "moving sculptures". I agree with Martha: these are truly extraordinary pieces of work, Aileen.
Monday, August 25, 2008 4:35:00 PM EDT
I am an actor/theatre director/drama teacher who recently stumbled across Authentic Movement through my interest in Eugene Gendlin's Focusing, after I recently came across some very illuminating articles about movement on the internet which drew parallels between the two methodologies. One was Barbara Chutroo’s Meet Your Body,
( http://www.focusing.org/bodywork.html )
I am new to the idea of AM, but I think I have been using it for a number of years without being aware of it, in my synthesis of Michael Chekhov's Psychological Gesture (PG) techniques with Focusing. I was immediately struck by the congruity of the creative/performance applications of Chekhov's PG & Focusing with the Authentic Movement process.
Chekhov taught actors what he called the Psychological Gesture: “the embodied essence of the character” which would condense the intricate psychology of a character into a powerful, clear and simple movement; an organic, moving metaphor.”
Of course, both Focusing and Chekhov’s exercises are psycho – physical processes and have much in common with Authentic Movement as I see it. All three connect the inner life to a communication with the body, which is really the essence of acting, it seems to me. All three techniques seek pathways by which the heart and soul can be fully em-bodied and in-corporated, the inner made outer, the invisible made visible.
I would love to know if anyone else out there has any experience of the extraordinary complementarity of these three techniques, particularly when applied to the actor’s creative process.
I will be visiting my daughter in Paris from Dec 13, 2008 -Jan 2, 2009, and would relish a connection with someone there who is practicing Authentic Movement...
© 2008 Catharine Drum Scherer
By Germaine Fraser
"Thirty spokes meet at the wheel's hub.
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel.
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows into a room.
It is the holes that make it useful.
Therefore, benefit comes from what is there,
Usefulness from what is not there."
—Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
Here I am in Beijing 's White Cloud Temple, one of the oldest temples in Beijing . An ancient walled-in refuge from the bright shiny new Beijing face the Olympics will be exhibiting shortly. I am in China with a group of Taoist Qigong practitioners, studying at various places in the ‘middle kingdom’, Beijing being our first stop. We will learn a shamanic form from a Female Immortal lineage holder, climb vertical mountains, explore and live in temple caves and search our individual practices in a place that has deeply cultivated these activities for over 4,000 years. Beijing is said to have the best fenshui of any city in this enormous country. The city planned 3,000 years ago, is very intentionally placed at the base of a ring of mountains. Even in the most hectic places in this hugely populated city and in its parks, there is a softness. Having walked through TianTan Park (their Central Park) and spent time watching and waiting there, I can tell you there are thousands of Cypress trees which aid and support this softness. I am intrigued, beguiled and charmed by them and how they diffuse energy.
My main intention coming here is to find a little corner to do some Authentic Movement (a spontaneous Qigong form which is very like AM). Since I woke up this morning, it has been very clear this is what I am needing to do today. The temple, like most temple compounds is maze-like. Composed of little houses juxtaposed and connected to each other, divided and related to narrow pathways that take you to yet other small squares of one-room clustered buildings, small gardens or temples. Fat sticks of incense burn in large cauldrons outside specific temples which house huge ceramic figurines bedecked in ornate silk clothing. I meander, mostly alone, happily getting lost in the maze. I find a temple dedicated to Kwan Yin. She is the bodhisattva goddess who refused to become immortal until all suffering was alleviated from the world and who is very present in all our travels on this trip. I credit the softness in the mountains and in the country at large at least in part to her radical spirit of selfless caring. Her spirit is very active. She's everywhere. So I try to keep her message of compassion close, to keep my heart open as I travel forward or sideways (or backwards!) in these alleyways. Her temple, not surprisingly, is very crowded; not the place to do moving so I keep wandering.
At the farthest backend of the compound I find a lovely open square pleasingly framed off on all 4 sides by open corridors and small gardens. Someone’s laundry hangs on a short line. There is a large square raised platform, off the uneven stone ground 10-15 feet. The side near the building’s wall has an exquisite painting; the other three sides are open but have a protective wood railing serving to contain the space. The floor is wide red-painted wood planks. Here I am. I’ve found my Authentic Movement space.
I am one of the more furtive seekers looking for a movement space from my group of 40, so I have reached this far end first and am quite alone. I go up to the space and walk around it a few times and take some time to look at the floor to ceiling painting. It’s one of these impossible epic odyssey paintings that has ten plots happening at once. It is depicted from the angle of an angel looking at the aerial side of a mountain. There are deities riding chariots through clouds, expressive humans and immortals creating peace and havoc at various landing spots, while different precipitations and weather patterns move through and flying dragons get ready to make their move. Beautiful. Overwhelming. I feel humbled before it. The rafters in this covered platform are brightly painted and gorgeous with little vignette paintings in the center of each beam. I am surrounded by nature and art, my favorite place to be.
I sit quietly for a bit, sinking into the depth of the space and the self. I am aware of the light white pollution soot that covers everything and which is everywhere. I feel it on my skin, in my mouth; my clothes are dusted with it. It’s impossible to escape. So, I take it along with me. Some of my qigong colleagues are beginning to filter in and out of the space below. I feel quite safe and unencumbered up on the platform. A couple of dour monks have walked by, hands behind their backs, scowling as they inspect today’s invasion. Some young assistant-initiate monks, their long black braids swinging, look curiously from one side to the other. And there is a nondescript old woman. She is sitting on one of the high thresholds of the corridors watching me. She is my Authentic Movement witness. The distance between us is considerable, but even from here I can see how centered she is in her own body and I can feel her female interest. I decide to have a relationship with her from 200 yards. I move into the space exactly when it feels right, rising to stand to face the painting.
One of the great things about being fifty years old is I’ve stopped caring who sees me do what anymore or how I look doing it. (Or maybe this is from doing AM for 20 years?) I feel very free, unrestrained, un-selfconscious, caution is to the wind. I am only interested in this Moment, Now, and how this body’s intelligence stays with that. And it’s a ride, alright. Perhaps the dragon, chariot and deity energies have jumped off the wall and entered this body. The movement starts off in large fast dynamic arcs, eating up huge quantities of space in short periods of time. There is leaping, arching and high legs, deep dips and extremely fast pivoting turns. The panting is surprisingly minimal. I am wearing a loose opaque rayon shirt over a silky camisole. I find myself enjoying the shirt lightly gather around my ears as my torso is thrust forward, or whipping around the back, sliding easily over the slippery camisole as the body torques left and right and legs/arms whip along with it. The raised wood floor makes its uneven heaving sounds as I pounce and flash about. I find myself running the circumference of it at fast speeds, the inner arm playing the sharp stabilizing point on a compass’ needle.
My witness has moved to a different viewing angle, but is still quite strongly attentive in her body. I think I see a small smile as she sits very still on a step under one of the corridor arches. There are a few still points in the session where I find myself facing her, these many yards away. There is something so liberating in just facing another person, a person you don’t know and they are facing you, and you are breathing together. For some reason, this is such an unlikely occurrence in this world we live in. But there we are, in the back of the temple compound, steeped in time, simply facing each other. Open. Don’t know each other. But do. She’s my grandmother, mother, my sister. She’s me. She is the cut door and window in Lao Tsu’s room. Maybe I am the spoke to her wheel hub. Or maybe I’m an eccentric Caucasian woman leaping around her temple’s compound. When I see her as I am standing there, I have a sense she is seeing something she never thought she’d see, something imagined or hoped for. I feel like I am making her day. God knows she is a part of making mine. Her gaze is very strong and steady and she is very planted in herself. I too am reflecting this. And I think maybe this raised platform was meant for a woman to move ecstatically on it and here I am answering some ageless bequest or perhaps, the prayers of masses of others, be they painted on a wall or delivered osmotically from ages past. Obviously, this movement is not my own; hugely influenced by antiquity, this place and a time. I am somehow embodying something someone in me understands, but damned if the rest of me knows what it is. Mystery. China exudes it. And it is the Authentic Movement form’s unspoken understanding.
This session is about 45 minutes long, during which time I occasionally slow up and look around to see my colleagues doing their slow, focused practice, sometimes watching each other, sometimes quietly moving out of the space. I feel supported here, whether I be sweating profusely, sooty whiteness sticking to wet flesh or crossing diagonals backwards in large swooping gestures. I finish by sitting quietly as I began, on the dusty ground. I feel released, that universal prayers have been answered, that wide red planks have felt a woman’s thunder. Upon rising to go, the air is clear and cool against my damp skin, my body is loose and grateful. I see my witness’ back enter a door into a small house beyond the corridor. I pause, face the maze back from where I came, transformed from when I entered.
ⓒ Germaine Fraser 2008
by Teri Viereck
When describing AM, I would prefer to use some verb other than "doing" AM. When I use the verb "doing" AM, it seems that I am not receptive enough to invite the witness or the messages from the unconscious.
We are not human doings, we are human beings. The same issue arises in yoga, tai chi, etc. And it sounds so much like a duty to say that I "do" my AM. Then I might feel guilty because I did not do it. How about "I practice my AM" or "I get in my yoga practice". Or "I explore AM".
Words make a difference in our bodies. Consider the difference between "Lift your arms" and "Allow your arms to come to lifting". Try it.
by Barbara Chutroo, firstname.lastname@example.org
I first encountered Focusing as a dance/movement therapy student. I came to dance/movement therapy because of my conviction that the body is central to psychological healing. I could not imagine an effective therapy that didn’t include the body’s responses and stories. In that first encounter, I felt my body respond with that famous “felt shift” Focusers speak of that happens when an issue is understood on a new mind/body level.
It was natural for me to continue to work with the relationship between Focusing and movement and I studied Wholebody Focusing with Kevin McEvenue. For many years, I have also been involved with other internally directed movement practices including Authentic Movement, Contact Improvisation, Continuum Movement, and Body-Mind Centering®. These processes all invite us to explore inner sensation with curiosity and to follow subtle movements of our bodies, emotional responses, and energetic shifts as they unfold in action. They can be looked at as Focusing in movement
For the past two years, I have combined Focusing with Authentic Movement in a small group created with my friend and authentic movement practitioner, Aileen Crow and in a personal practice. These excerpts were drawn from a paper I wrote which grew out of this experience. The complete version can be downloaded on the Focusing website at http://www.focusing.org/bodywork.html . In it I look at the contributions of inner directed movement to growth and healing, the ways in which Focusing and Authentic Movement differ and support one another, and the role and experience of the listener or witness. The witness, in Authentic Movement, corresponds to the listener in Focusing and the mover corresponds to the Focuser.
As we know, in Authentic Movement, a person moves with eyes closed in the presence of at least one witness. Witnessing is based on the premise that there is value to being seen and value to the experience of seeing. In being seen without words, the mover senses his or her whole being as acknowledged by the witness. As the witness tunes into the mover’s presence, disguises and pretenses fall away in the simple attentive awareness of the physical, energetic being before her.
In Focusing, a Focuser usually sit quietly and waits for a sensation, image, emotion, or life situation to arise. She says hello to it internally with the same friendly and careful curiosity of the Authentic Mover and waits, again, for her body’s response. Focusers call the unclear, inchoate, sense that sometimes surrounds an issue or feeling a “felt sense”. The Focuser, then, describes her experience out loud to a listener paying special attention to the quality of this felt sense as it shifts and changes. The Focusing listener, unlike the Authentic Movement witness, reflects back the Focuser’s own words trying to precisely understand the Focuser’s meaning. The Focuser’s process goes from felt sense to verbalization and the listener accompanies her without leading or directing. This active listening helps the Focuser bring the felt sense into cognitive clarity and accurately verbalize an inner experience. Projections can jump out in the use and choice of words so the listener is careful to remain true to the Focuser’s meaning and experience. The listener’s intention is to support the Focuser’s process. There is no invitation for the listener to offer her own experience as is done in Authentic Movement. Instead, the Focuser, in touch with her felt sense, is helped by the listener to bring forth and illuminate her experience. This forward movement continues until the Focuser is satisfied.
A main difference between the Authentic Movement witness and the Focusing listener is the intent. In Authentic Movement the witness and mover each offer their experiences. Although enhanced awareness and a sense of connection may blossom from this exchange, the mover's inner process ends when she stops moving. In Focusing, the listener’s intention is to enable the Focuser’s process to continue. The listener’s verbal responses help the Focuser’s investigation sharpen and evolve. As the experience is heard and acknowledged, as well as seen, it gains dimension.
The role of the witness and listener can bring a sense of awe and humility. In not taking center stage yet being active, there can be profound pleasure. It is sometimes a humbling revelation to see how misguided we can be by our own identifications and projections. On the other hand, there is the excitement of being with what is revealed when our projections are put aside.
Moving helps us explore our bodies as the basis for our experience in several ways. It brings a fullness and authenticity to emotional expression that goes beyond words. It opens the door to enlarging our emotional vocabulary and to further investigation and understanding of the complex human drama we all embody. Emotions find their affective expression in the movement and neurology of the body. Anger, joy, and grief, for example, have gestural and affective components we all identify. Movement, also, has the power to awaken mythic images and connection to primordial life forms. The mover becomes wind, earth, snake, eagle, root, and water. These images carry a rich complexity. The felt sense around them can move us toward a deeper knowing of life's fullness.
Growth is a neuromuscular reorganization. Through movement and sensory explorations our bodies discover and develop their capabilities. Likewise, through active touch and movement we interact with, and bring the world into, ourselves. A Focusing awareness and an inwardly directed movement practice enables the reorganization of our cellular bodies - a formulation of new meanings that inform our personalities as well as our physical selves. In this way, the knowing of who we are is physical, emotional, and cognitive, as well as a living, breathing process.
I am interested in meeting with a small group of experienced witnesses/movers who would like to use the discipline of authentic movement as a vehicle for anchoring and amplifying one's vision & focus in the creative/expressive arts and teaching. Interested in once/month studio meeting in Marin area. I have access to a sweet, clear, clean studio in San Anselmo.
© 2008 Roxanna
I am starting a program for women and teens with eating disorders to use authentic movement as a means of self discovery. Would love to hear from others who may have taken the work in this direction.
© 2008 Sara
The Authentic Movement Community Directory has a listing of 140 people who want to be connected to each other in practices of Authentic Movement.
Here is a small sample of recent requests (with permission from each person) that were made on the Authentic Movement Community Directory.
Lucy Mahler.....would love to start an AM class and/or peer group in upstate NY in the Catskills near Phoenicia, NY. Call if you are in the area.
Laura Hays....I am looking for other experienced committed movers to form a weekly peer group in the Berkshires of Western Mass. Please contact me via phone or e-mail interested.
Jeannine Salemi: I am a dance artist and dance/movement therapist (finishing my thesis). I would like to find a community of like minded movers/explorers/artists to practice with.
Joan Webb:Co-editor of A Moving Journal. Authentic Movement and Jewish mysticism. Integrated Kabbalistic Healing
Paula Sager: I teach Authentic Movement to individuals, small groups, and in workshop formats. I am interested in how Authentic Movement serves contemplative practice, creativity, and social change.
For more information on the Authentic Movement Community Directory go to:
© 2008 Elizabeth Reid
In 2005 I experienced a clear opening within me that the opportunity to heal into wholeness was before me. Briefly after that the words Radiant Heart became part of my regular thoughts. Those specific descriptors have been with me ever since.
About the same period, I had a desire to attend to some physical issues that had afflicted me for some time.
I discovered a Rolfing specialist with a very intuitive approach and worked with her for 8 months. A surprising byproduct of this physical therapy was an ability to map out my inner being, to locate and follow my energetic process as it revealed itself to my awareness, and to discover my own inner silence.
Concurrently I was experiencing more frequent occurrences of intense emotional triggers.
I resolved to respond differently to whatever arose. I sought out a gifted transformational therapist, Roberta Godbe, to assist me and worked with her for several months. This personal work quickly moved towards finding my own personal meditative process, a key element of which was a self informing process of organic movement.
As I moved into this self arising process, I again desired to work with someone on very specific terms. I found another very gifted practitioner of transformational coaching and embodiment, Amrita Davidson. My inner guidance was very strong at this point. I enrolled her to work with me, for a couple of hours every week, in total silence, and for her to follow, support and accompany my meditational movements and process.
For some time, the process of transformation and embodiment was quite intense. However, the self informing process and accompanying revelations were consistently reliable, in spite of being completely non-linear and experienced out of time, and the process was highly reinforced by the unfoldment of innate and highly personalized abilities and an expanding awareness.
After working with Amrita for about a year, an unwavering certainty led me to move to a place of complete reliance on an inner authority. I continued to deepen my personal practice. And even though I embraced much of this process in private spaces, I was continually directed to bring subtleties and nuances of this process within my ordinary daily life, and is now deeply embedded within my moment to moment awareness.
I frequently made notations of the discoveries and expressions of this process as it has evolved. About a year ago I decided to set up a personal website for making entries from those notations. This can be found at www.energeticawareness.com
Many times while this process has been unfolding, I have sought for forms of corroboration. Interestingly enough, at every turn, if I felt the need, I was able to discover outside forms of information that described practices or experiences that were similar to mine. One of which is Authentic Movement.
However, because of the deeply personalized and uniquely tailored course of my process, I have never felt a need to adopt or follow any formal practice, as I am being informed from the inside out, so to speak. My coming to know of myself and existence is through my direct and ongoing encounter with the unknown.
For myself, the act of expressing from wholeheartedness, of sharing from unity awareness, actually activates, deepens and evolves the pathways of truth within me, moving me through the maintenance of unity awareness towards sustainability of the awareness of all that I truly am.
In my case, the body prayer of authentic movement is a ceaseless motion of surrender into the openness of receptivity and acceptance, experienced as unity awareness within ordinary life
© 2008 Forrest Smithson
I am a graduate student completing my MA in English at Buffalo State College. I am working on my Master Thesis, proposing the concept of Authentic Movement as a way to approach teaching the meaning of Shakespeare's text. I believe it is essential to approach teaching the language of Shakespeare not just through a literary lens, but through what I call the "lived body" experience. A heightened somatic awareness can enable us to more fully discover, witness, and embrace our beings in the world. Authentic movement, as integrated as a discourse for approaching teaching Shakespeare's language can extend movement research, illuminating the possibilities grounded in bodily ways of knowing. Authentic Movement extends the student's ability to sense Shakespeare language in the body, taking the text off the page and embodying its meaning through the kinesthetic senses. In this thesis study, the body is the researcher and the movement the immediate source of data and meaning making. This research will define the relationship of the meaning of the text as understood through the practice of Authentic Movement. In Authentic Movement, Shakespeare's language and energy emerge from a physical awareness to a specific part of the body, felt internally through proprioception. Energy also surfaces from the body's relationship to the text through the kinesthetic awareness-- the brain's ability to recognize and respond to organic impulses. I hope this research will further illustrate the validity of Authentic Movement and its relationship to language, creating a new pedagogical discourse in teaching Shakespeare's text. Shakespeare's language becomes organic through working with the physical, the kinesthetic and the sensory. This thesis celebrates the important contribution of Authentic Movement in revealing the depth of language in its truth- to be present in the experience of language.
© 2008 Mary Jane Masiulionis
Hi, I am not sure I can make this post, but hopefully I'll get some guidance either way.
My therapist has brought up the idea of Authentic Movement a few times and it scares me a great deal. I'm overweight and nervous about what I'll look like... I can feel my mind trying to make up movements before I try this, and I know it's not the point of the exercise. I would love some guidance and reassurance. Has anyone experienced the insecurity and anxiety I am talking about?
Thanks for any help!!
© 2008 Vanessa
Shared Habitats: The MoverWitness Paradigm
This practice-led research thesis analyses and visualises central components of Authentic Movement, with particular reference to the work of Dr Janet Adler. By contextualising and comparing this improvisation method with modern, post-modern and contemporary movement practices the author describes the emergence of Authentic Movement and distinguishes it from other practices. A new and original viewpoint is adopted and the practice’s aesthetic, visual and empathetic characteristics are explored in relationship to and through visual art. The author, a learned Authentic Movement practitioner, critiques, deconstructs and reframes the practice from a visual arts- and performance-based, phenomenological perspective renaming it ‘the MoverWitness exchange’. Embedded aspects and skills of the MoverWitness exchange, usually only accessible to firsthand practitioners of the method, are made explicit through research processes of analysis, application and visualisation. Hereby the practice’s unique capacity to contain and express binary embodied experiences and concepts is exposed. Resulting insights are crystallised in a distinctive understanding of the MoverWitness exchange that emphasises its suitability as a new learning and/or research methodology for inter- and cross-disciplinary application. (© Goldhahn, 2007)
PROJECTION------- A GIFT?
Recently, I have been thinking about “projection” as a gift we can give one another, in Authentic Movement, in our everyday lives together and in my role as consultant and “coach” in organization settings.
I can see “my projections” as a gift to another because to share my experience of another, as witness, (coach and consultant), and to own it as my experience emphasizes our differences as humans. Paradoxically, it also creates a powerful connection between us, because rich dialogue and connection becomes possible when people share their distinct perspective and experience of a particular event whether in movement or otherwise. Together we can construct meaning based on my projection and yours. We are not striving for truth and we are not interpreting. We are discussing the frames of reference that inform our assessments, examining our assumptions, and discovering how we make meaning of what we see. Through that we can learn about the different ways people see the world.
When someone shares his/her experience of me that is different then mine, another possibility may open for me. Another’s experience of my movement or story, carefully shared, is a gift. Been truly seen and attended to by another whether their experience resembles mine or not, creates a wonderful, satisfying connection.
AGREEMENTS TO CONSTRUCT IN ORDER TO HEAR PROJECTION AS A GIFT
But agreements must be in place for that connection to occur.
I. One is the notion that Aileen spoke about in her post: owning the different “parts of me”. I have been influenced by the work of John and Joyce Weir, pioneers in self development and self- differentiation, who taught what they called “percept” language: “Here is what is happening in me as I watch you…As I listen to you, I am reminded of the ….part of me. I have you be the xyz part of me”. So, in my view, in order to establish safety, we must have the agreement that we own our projections as our own experience, not an interpretation of the others’ actions.
II. Another agreement is that not everything needs to be spoken – that each of us will be mindful in speaking our experience and will choose carefully. As a listener, I must agree that what is said is said in good faith.
III. A third agreement is that we will check out responses with the other person after we speak. That is how we illuminate our differences and our commonalities. From there we make meaning together.
TEACHING THE "WITNESS STANCE IN ORGANIZATIONS" As a consultant and coach in organizations, I teach what I call the “Witness Stance” as the foundational skill within the context of team or peer coaching. First and foremost, the stance of witness is to create a compassionate non judging, non interpretive environment. But, how can we not form judgments? We constantly develop judgments to help us make sense of the world; it is the suspension of judgment of another as right or wrong, bad or good that is the gift of the witness stance. There are 2 quotes I use to help establish the environment:
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there."
Rumi 13th c Sufi
"The experience of being understood versus interpreted is so compelling you can charge admission."
B. Joseph Pine II
The Experience Economy
Quoted by Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations
I also use witnessing in my individual coaching work. I have felt tremendous freedom in allowing myself to have whatever experience I have when witnessing someone. Then, what I choose to offer depends first on my role vis a vis the person, and our agreements, (facilitator is different than therapist is different than peer). As a consultant, which parts of my experience would be helpful? What are the benefits of containing and not speaking? I, myself, have learned to be much more discerning; I contain much more. At the same time, I also venture more. I am more willing to speak from my heart about my experience, which is different than offering my impressions of the other person, or what we commonly think of as feedback.
I find this subject of projection continually interesting, as I debrief interactions in my personal and professional life.
© 2008 Martha I. Lask
I am writing my PhD thesis at Trinity College, Dublin, about Irish performer Joan Davis who uses Authentic Movement and Body-Mind Centering to create her performances. The area of Authentic Movement and performance is a vast field. I want to create an overview of the use of Authentic Movement in dance, theatre or film. I wonder if this is possible? Are you a performer who uses AM for performance? Can you tell me about the way in which you use the form to create performance? Can you suggest some people or projects that use AM for performance? I'm looking forward to your help in this research, as I am very excited about what AM has to offer performance.
Emma Meehan email@example.com
but it IS SO GOOOOOD we have this forum. For me, it just means adjusting, reaclimating, switching gears. I should be able to do this more naturally before long. I hope.
I did think of something to contribute. I actually wrote somethng for AMJ years ago about AM moving out of the studio into life. And I lately have been reinspired by my life work, and my time in a narrow kitchen and these awesome, divine moments of AM impact, where I am revealed in all my selfness. an absolutely divine connection graces me. whew. very powerful even if its not AM in its most classic form.
so let me get by this next life hurdle in front of me. and i will mull over what is this experience of living AM outside of a studio in the meantime. Looking forward to writing. and I so appreciate this is here as a forum for us all. I wish not to take it for granted.
And again, thank you for the reminders. The magnanimous, benevolent electronic parent to an errant resistant non-electronic child.
are archetypes always to follow us around? another thing to muse about.
© 2008 Germaine (Fraser)
I am making a documentary film about movement therapy - including dance, yoga and martial arts based modalities in the greater Olympia\Seattle\Tacoma area. The film will also speak to the healing and growth potential of the movement arts in general - even when not practiced as therapy. I am looking for professional therapists, clients or movement practitioners who would be willing to be interviewed or filmed doing anything movement related. This film will be displayed for public viewing at Evergreen State College - during their annual spring fair. The goal is to raise public awareness around this growing field. I will be filming through April. Participation in this film is on a volunteer basis - but I wish I could pay people!
Tristan Elliott < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Authentic movement has often afforded me a tool I'm not conscious of. I write and think about things on paper without relating it consciously to the work I have done over several years now in Contemplative Dance. And yet, once written, I can see as can others, that the very process of attuning to my body and letting words flow from a mind-body connection elicits even more as the spirit and heart join into the relationship and there is a touching of the human...of the universal...of something I might name as "inner knowing" or even "inner divinity". Here is an example that came through a look at the moon at the close of 2007. I'd love to hear of others' creative deepening through Authentic Movement.
The Moon at First Light by Roberta Whitney
I stand in the early morning darkness, save a blue glow on the kitchen wall phone. The ceiling lights are now off. I had switched them on to avoid stepping on either cat as I fumbled toward the cupboard for their food. I let my eyes adjust. I stand still at the back door, rhythmic crunching from the bowls off to my left. Looking out at the picnic table now covered with a brown tarp in anticipation of snow, my eyes are drawn up toward an almost-full moon as I tilt my head back slightly and open my throat to yellow-white beams streaming through nine glass panes. My eyes close. I bathe in this soft stream of light. Eyes reopened, I feel grateful that I may look at the moon in a way I cannot at the sun.
I slice green beans on a rectangular wooden board, aligning the lithe strands of green so the knife can separate several at a time. I don't often cut them this way. By habit, I usually snap the ends and sometimes the midsection of the strand. Seeing the neat slices before me, I recall canned produce I grew up on, a metallic wave crossing my nostrils amid a yellow-brown swirl of mildly salty water and floating beans…I wonder whose hands lined up the vegetables at the factory from where the cans were prepared? What machine was fed by a gentle hand…a large hand…and to whom was that hand attached? Their hands are on mine now.
We are all seated before an almost-dry but nevertheless magical waterfall at Yosemite National Park one warm evening in July. Newly arrived, we have already sighted a baby bear bouncing through tall meadow grasses and have seen a deer five feet from our room. Talk circulates of hiking possibilities, of the threat of bears to our rented car (did everyone empty food out?), of shuttle schedules to a mule ride booked for the next morning. We are graced with a menu of delicate foods and desserts. It is cool enough to have tea afterward. I look across at my husband, whose work has brought us here. I look to the eyes of the person serving us…I think of the kitchen and cook staff making my ease possible. I consider the drivers who carried the fresh produce and meats here…and the garden and ranches from where these grew…The hands that nurtured them for us.
Sometimes I feel like a moon made full and bright by another who like the sun's rays, shines full and steady on me whether I am aware or not. There may be encouraging words as I work to write, a joke that gives me laughter, the professional hands that support my healing, a voice of family and friends on the phone, the patient hand supporting me as I try Ian's skateboard, the cry of a hawk centering me as I walk, free DVD rentals that my family is given by a generous man, a yellow day lily opening in the front yard, a blue sky as I hang clothes, or the mind behind the complexities of cell phones and computers that allow me to do so much with the "press of a button/key".. the washer that faithfully does the work of my hands.
Other times, I feel like the dark side of the moon washes over me. At such times, I am reminded that unlike the sun, I am not pure light. I may become angry. I can grow impatient in the evening when I am tired. I might seem evasive in my response or stubborn in my desires. And when I fight the shadowy parts of me in a day, like the phases of the moon, my light wanes. I feel a loss of energy expended at war with myself or another.
I speak before an eighth-grade social studies class on being a veteran. How do I convey what I myself do not know, having served during a cold war? My mind wanders to those who are fighting for us now. Five of eleven 13-year old boys raise hands and say they will consider the military as a career. These boys are Ian's age, his peers. Several are his friends. I don't want them fighting in my name in the future. I try to see through the eyes of parents, spouses and children of those fighting now…in my name.
So much of individual and collective suffering seems brought about in fighting deep, less-than-savory aspects within, especially those hidden or want to be kept hidden. Experience has taught me that to truly live, I need to bring these to light and this often necessitates that another light my way, like the sun does for the moon as it swells and waxes into light. Bright rays stream always behind the moon I call myself. You are there, encouraging me to fullness, pushing me into my own light.
Your rays connect me with something beyond human experience, like the heat of the sun…like the miracle of a birth in the darkness of night. There I know something vast is part of me and that aspect may serve as the ray I offer to someone else who is a moon in the same galaxy...on the same planet. That he/she might feel light embracing the darkness within. That in this shared human relationship, we both might experience love.
May 2008 bring you abundance of rays.
Yes, AM is a spiritual practice for me. As a yoga teacher for 40 years I’ve learned to appreciate the awareness of breathing as a beautiful practice for gaining access to the unconscious. And in Jungian thought this is a very spiritual process. Other somatic disciplines such as Feldenkrais, Continuum, tai chi, Sensory Awareness, trance dance, and sports have entered into my personal and idiosyncratic path of finding my way towards awareness. I practice out of doors a lot, even in the dark at thirty below zero F in the interior of Alaska where I live. A thousand dollars worth of expedition equipment make this quite comfortable and quite mystical. Moving in two feet of powder snow generates a relationship to gaia and gravity. For one thing, one can fall any time and land on a soft, springy cushion. Higher vibrations seem to manifest in different ways when it is cold and dark. I learn to appreciate the shadow and the yin as well as the light and the yang.
© 2008 Teri Viereck
If AM IS perceived as a branch of d/mt, it seems to me that it would be helpful to actually collaborate with ADTA to officially come to terms w/ these issues, to promote it and to help regulate the practice of it. Currently, I/m confused re WHO is considered skilled enough to practice and how that’s communicated to the public. I believe though that one doesn’t have to have a dance background or be a d/mt in order to be a facilitator of AM and that they could do this in a private practice setting although only our ADTRs would be considered acceptable to provide similar experiences in a private practice setting. I have many questions re how AM practitioners can do this without having some kind of credentials or license.
As I express myself in this message my questions grow and I hope there will be some discussion re these issues.
© 2008 Susan Kleinman, MA, ADTR, NCC
But I just reread many parts of this blog and find it so inspiring. The comments we have so far are helpful and remind me that the practice is a great source of joy to me.
One advantage of this form is that you can take your time with it... go back and reread and savor other's thoughts on these subjects. I myself and still thinking about how to respond to Aileen Crow's thoughts about my article. It has been in my mind for a couple of weeks now and I am still not sure what I want to say, but it is nice to know that when I am ready to write the blog will be there. So even though it may be a response to something written a while back anyone can respond anew and refresh the conversation.
A great part of the joy of practicing is a deepening sense of myself. I hope the blog can bring us all into deeper and broader conversations.
© 2008 Elizabeth Reid