Authentic Movements in Cappadocia (Turkey)

(Picture taken from a hot air balloon above Cappadocia:)

by Viktor Raykin, NYC, NY

It’s two months later and I still can’t wrap my head around Cappadocia. Had I gone there as a tourist, it would be a rich memory of land created by some extremist landscaper, land whose cultural heritage dates back to 14 century BC. I’d be happy to tell you about the underground cities (some 20+ floors down into earth), surrealistic “fairy chimneys”, phallic rock formations. About livable caves (my pension room was made in a cave). About early Christian churches carved out in the rock faces. And about the hot air balloons seen out of my window in the mornings.

But I came to Cappadocia not just as a tourist – I came to join the AM group there, and doing the Movements every day has transformed Cappadocia into my personal dreamscape. This is the only way I can now think about the land. And I dream on as I try to recollect the experience.

During the 7 days of the workshop (the group came from Russia, and the workshop was facilitated by A. Girshon), I had a chance to Move in the open spaces and inside a cave, on the elevated and sunken grounds, near the fruit trees and on the barren rocks. Each place has affected the Authentic Movement process by creating a unique circumstance, by projecting the outer space (or lack of it) inside me.

I invite you to look at the photos below. For a closure, here is a memory of the last Movement I did in Cappadocia. It’s just an episode.


… I am standing straight, my arms are hanging, and I am screwing my feet into the sandy gravel - deeper and deeper… Here is my root, I grow from this ground, and I belong here. My feet get strength from the soil. My ankles are being moulded; my calves get their shape and body, and go up into my thighs and hips. There is no upper body yet, and I patiently wait until it is given. It seems to be lowered from above and set precisely on my hips. Here I stand – the eternal sculpture.

I bend and squat and grab handfuls of the gravel, then stand up again and start to squeeze the gravel in the hands. I crash it and crackle; and I listen. The sound fills my whole body. The Ocean rustles and rumbles. My body is listening.

I start pouring the gravel over my head – left hand, then right. I get covered, I get buried. I am buried in timeless. Eternity has me.

I pour the gravel over my head again and again.

Photos – to view the slideshow of the whole album (which is missing 3 pictures below) click here.

“Fairy chimneys” and Rock waves in Gereme valley:

© 2009 Viktor Raykin

Fabulous photos and wonderful images in your words. Thanks so much for the post. The pictures can be clicked on to be seen larger. The photo slide show can be slowed downed and paused with buttons on the lower left hand side of the slide show. I hope people take the time to look at these beautiful images.


Sunday, December 20, 2009 8:37:00 PM EST

Christmas Present

One possible benefit for us all of being a part of the Authentic Movement Community Web site is to meet other members of our group who we don't know. When Kristine Maltrud updated her directory listing with the Authentic Movement Community Web Site, I noticed she was from Albuquerque, NM. Since I was about to vacation there, I wrote her a note wondering if we could get together while I was in town. She was actually planning on being on the East Coast at a conference in Providence, RI presenting on her new project called ArtSpark. ArtSpark is a new web based way to support artists with funding. Her words: Igniting widespread artistic expression via online micro-funding, collaboration and community building.

When it actually came time to meet, I found I was shy about it, but within minutes the sense of community I feel whenever I am with others who practice authentic movement came forward. We met over breakfast at a local place where she asked for Christmas, because she wanted both red and green chili on her eggs. That was the kind of treat this time was for me, like a surprise Christmas present. We talked and discovered more and more people we knew in common, ideas about the practice we were working on, things we had learned over the years that delighted us; we became friends in less than two hours. My dream is to meet everyone someday. Let's get together when we are traveling. Have you ever done anything like this? or visit ArtSpark's fan page on Facebook or Twitter: @artspark


Email Correspondence, after a weekend Authentic Movement workshop with Alton Wasson in NYC edited by Aileen Crow

Excerpts from an Email Correspondence, after a weekend Authentic Movement workshop with Alton Wasson in NYC. Alton started back in the 60’s with Ed Maupin (who was working with Mary Whitehouse) and with Janet Adler, in the 70’s. The exercise Viktor Raykin describes evolved over the years at the Contemplative Dance Week taught by Alton and Daphne Lowell, and was set up in this workshop by Eileen Kelly and debriefed by Alton.

Viktor Raykin writes: Alton Wasson, one of the veterans of AM, has visited New York City. His workshop last weekend was one of the most powerful in my life (I am relatively new to AM but have done a lot of other practices). Not to be too verbose I'll describe a process that has changed my view of the role of Witness. Participants were divided between 2 groups 4 in each, and given following roles:

A - Mover
B - Mirroring Witness: mirrors A, including voice expressions.
C - Expressive Witness: expresses in movement any impulses that may arise from witnessing A; anything is allowed but voice expression or physical interaction with A or B. (NB: it would be interesting to allow interaction between Cs of different groups)
D - "Regular" Witness.

Ds were placed in a separate part of the room dedicated to Witnesses. Bs and Cs moved freely in the space for the Movers, without preventing each other's moves or those of A’s.
Every 10 minutes, by the sound of a bell, roles rotated, i.e. B becomes A, C - B, D - C, and A becomes D. Every participant experienced each of the four roles. After the process had finished the group got in a circle, and each participant could share their own impressions about their own experiences.

I happened to start as C and finish as D, and "regular" witnessing gave me - for the first time - a real pleasure. My mind was stilled by moving in three other roles. My body was also loosened and "allowed itself" free moves (though with a lower amplitude, not to get distracted from observing the Mover), reacting to what I was seeing. I experienced freedom from the role of a Witness as I'd understood it (a composed, "dedicated" observer). I was relaxed, uninhibited and attentive at the same time.

One more discovery. As a C I was moving freely - and stayed in a quality contact with the Mover. I simply loved her - just because I was allowed to be myself, fully express myself while reacting to her moves. This experience goes far beyond AM as it teaches me the new way of a quality contact with another human in "ordinary" life. First thing that popped in my mind was the inhibition I habitually experience when relating to my father.
P.S. I had another profound moment in this process, and I think it is quite characteristic of it: a sense of continuum, of unity of all that was happening. I was struck by it when I was in the Mover role. I guess closing eyes was important for the experience: sounds, moves, energy, co-presence of all and everything. Ocean of Life. One Soul.
There is much more, but I'd like to stop here.

Later, Viktor writes: Yesterday morning I posted, in Russian, to LiveJournal “Authentic Move” dedicated to AM. I described briefly the ABCD process that has struck me most. It took them less than 24 hours (accounting for time difference between NY and Moscow) to try out the structure in their AM Laboratory in Moscow, Russia and post back a short but profound analysis!
Here is the link for your curiosity, but, sorry, it's all in Russian: Russian web page:

Blog editor writes: Can you translate it for the Blog?

Viktor answers: U-uph! I've done it - I've translated it into English as was requested. It was quite a job, but interesting, I've learnt something new. I am sure some of the expressions are not very English (you know, English is my 22nd language).

Any comments, questions, exclamations, mutilations, aggravations, condemnations, exaltations, solicitations - are cordially welcomed!

Here is a comment by Alexander Girshon from Moscow, written after they tried out the process in their "laboratory" next day after I posted.

Alexander Girshon comments: We tried this format out, 15 min in each role. Naturally, more attention was given to the less familiar roles: Mirror Witness and Moving Witness. As Sasha S correctly noted, these roles implicitly exist in the Witness, and this format allows them to unfold. Mirror Witness role allows to define more exactly physical side of the process, but seems to lessen the emotional side of contact. Moving Witness is a borderline role, as you don't stop asking yourself: am I moving from what I am seeing, or these are my personal movement associations? We observed 2 positions: identification (mirror variations) and complementarity (moving in counterbalance to the Mover). Essential contact (meeting of M&W) - or the absence of it - may happen in any of these roles. It was also noted that this format has under taste of performance art, and it would be nice to introduce in it a Meta-Witness as observer of the whole scene. All in all, thanks to Viktor and to Alton.

Germaine Fraser writes: Thanks, Viktor, for this great translation effort. The response from Alexis was very interesting. I was struck by the analysis aspect; the fuller experience (such as you described in your own experience impression) seemingly quite absent. Alton's universal question of 'how does this have to do with me' begs for us to be more whole and all-encompassing in our being when engaging in AM. Empathic compassion for self and others is an integral and necessary aspect of the work. Even though clear structures offer safety and often help create a container, analyzing a technique for its value as a structure solely, kind of misses the point of why we engage in this way.

It is a tribute to Alton that our weekend's experience was so expansive; he (and Eileen Kelly) model holding space in this complete way, infusing the movement/witness space with a sense of holism, allowing others’ (and their own) work to be deeply spacious and safe. I am certain this fact is quite grounded in longevity and decades of practice / trial and error. As simple as the form is, my sense is the 'normal' human factor response to a relatively new anything is prone to initially get bogged down in the 'technique' and structure before it is comfortable enough to allow for other. So be it. Aren't we lucky to be human and have the influences and opportunities we have?

All my best, Germaine

Viktor responds: Hi, Germaine, I totally agree. Alton and Eileen have created a wonderful field where we could work, and play, and experience. I felt truly safe to go as deep as possible, never felt a danger. There was a Field of Acceptance. I was also struck by the dryness of Alex's analysis, but I was told by my friend in Russia, who is a part of this AM Lab, that they use this sort of very concise formal report to inform those who missed the Lab about the general course of events. These reports are always dry and don’t contain any experiential / emotional stuff. This is important to know. I know that at least one participant in Russia had a very deep process, but it's up to her to share. I believe that absence of intellectual analysis was very important in our group. I also believe that absence of direct verbal sharing of witnesses to the movers gave a totally different slant to the process. These two factors allowed deep integration to happen effectively and safely.

Enough analysis!

Love! Viktor.

Lisa Fladager said...

Viktor, thank you. I feel changed and opened after reading your post. I can't wait to experiment with this! best, Lisa

JANET ADLER: The 20th Marian Chace Foundation Lecture by Cathy Appel

Janet Adler's essay concerning her experience of her Mother's eight day fast into death is now published in an online magazine called Natural Transitions: Conscious, Holistic Approaches to End of Life Volume 3 Issue 3. It can be accessed through The title of the essay is: "Witness to a Conscious Death". There is free access to this full volume if you provide your email and other contact information.

It was with eagerness that I waited for the 20th Annual Marian Chace Foundation Lecture, on Saturday morning, October 10, 2009, at the 44TH ANNUAL ADTA CONFERENCE in Portland, Oregon. The topic, “Witness to a Conscious Death,” had been described briefly in the catalogue:

Dr. Adler will offer her experience of mid-wifing her ninety-year-old mother’s nine-day fast into death. Witnessing this journey creates awe and unshakable commitment, visions and contained despair, and gratitude, indescribable gratitude for such a privilege.

It had been many years since my Authentic Movement training with Janet and Zoë Avstreih in the mid-eighties, and, from the time I had sat alone in a film-viewing room at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library watching “Looking for Me.” However, the effects of my encounters with Janet and her work were formative and remain a vital part of who I am today. What is Janet going to say in this lecture? I am particularly interested since I had lost my own mother right before Thanksgiving in 2006, two years after spending a 23-day vigil sleeping on the floor of a small hospital hospice unit as I said good-bye to my father. The opportunity to hear Janet’s experience with the death of her mother, who also died during the Thanksgiving season of 2006, feels important to me, especially since I know of Janet’s hospice work.

Sitting in the ballroom of the Hilton Portland, waiting for the lecture, I feel excited and sad as I study the large projection of an old photograph of Janet and her mother to the left of the podium. I remember, as I look at the photo, how Janet’s mother’s name was Posy, and how, during my AM training, I had thought it was the loveliest name a mother could have. I pictured Posy as a radiant flower, an eternal blossom always in bloom for Janet, who had talked about how she and her mother were close. I was intrigued by their loving kinship, by Janet’s openness about her mother’s emotional support and love of dance. Someone must have pushed a “show slideshow button,” because, suddenly, there begins a flow of other photos of Janet, including one of Posy alone – looking not young but not terribly old – and it hits me that I am about to hear Janet speak about a relationship and a person I really know nothing about.

Janet begins her talk in a quiet but always audible voice, first thanking the Marian Chace Foundation and then several people, culminating with thanking her youngest son who is there as her escort. Emotions begin to well up inside me, but I feel compelled to hear what Janet has to say; so I make every effort to focus. It feels as if everyone around me is listening hard, too, as Janet sets out to describe an end-of-life decision that had been made by her mother many years ago. Janet takes a long time to outline the background for the path her mother had chosen. Her subdued voice conveys a complex story of her family’s journey to and through the fast that ended with her mother’s death, and never wavers. I feel Janet attend to every word. Listening is often painful. Tears burn in my eyes. It is work to follow Janet’s story, because questions keep competing with my emotions.

Even though much of the death process is recognizable to me, I soon realize this had been no ordinary decision and no ordinary ending to a ninety-year life. Not surprisingly, Janet does not hurry her talk, which is filled with exquisite details I want to savor the way they did the last morsels of their Thanksgiving leftovers: the beautiful table, the prayer reworked for the occasion by the Rabbi who was both son and grandson, the image of mother and daughter lying on their sides facing each other in bed, and of the neighbor approaching her 100th birthday, who would no longer have Posy across the street. My imagination stirs, my eyes burn, and I push away worries and questions.

I was seated between two friends. The friend on my right had lost her mother very young, and I worry that this talk about an end to life that was “chosen” might be troublesome for her. The friend on my left lives near her 86-year-old mother, with whom she is very close, and I also worry that she might find the talk difficult. Keeping my anxiety at bay, I remain focused on Janet. I notice this is not a clinical talk, and it is not about dance in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, I resist my questions and fight to listen and not become flooded by my personal experiences of death.

When Janet finishes, the room is silent and slowly everyone stands. We stand for what seems like a long time in silence. It does not escape my notice that this is unusual, but I have no impulse to clap or sit back down, or to say anything. I think about Posy being gone from Janet’s daily life, and I feel an excruciating love in Janet’s choice to honor her mother in this way. I also feel the presence of other conference attendees, standing in front, behind and on either side of me. It is as if we are treading water in the sea of the life of Posy and Janet together; as if we are underwater creatures come to the surface as witnesses to what happened after the moment we had seen captured in the projected black and white photo of Janet as a child: Janet wearing big sunglasses sitting in a boat with her legs spread wide apart and smiling at the camera; her mother, also in sunglasses, sitting with her legs toward the water, seeming to be holding a fishing rod.
I feel overcome with the wonder of being a witness, of being part of a community of witnesses, as we hold a deeply felt and complex rendering presented by Janet Adler, a woman whose life has been dedicated to the role of witness. My heart aches and tears fall not for Posy, or even for what Janet endured, but they spill in a wave that wishes for Janet to feel herself witnessed by all of us standing before her, who owe her so much, and, for her to have plenty of time to bask in the light of her own voyage knowing she is not alone.

© 2009 Cathy Appel


viktor-raykin said...
Deeply moving article. Thank you, Cathy.


yogidancer said...
Thank you, Cathy. I feel that it is possible to be a witness via the internet

Roberta said...
Thank you for the sharing. You brought me to my own witness with such beautiful relating of Janet's experience and your many layers of witness are there, especially in these major turns of life? Funny it seems that we should ever think we are alone.

In me, I also felt deeply the connections, past and present between mother-daughter and student-teacher. May they be with you always.

AUTHENTIC MOVEMENT and HEALING By Aileen Crow and Mie Sato


This story of the healing through AM of a minor catastrophe begins in my kitchen. I’m home alone one evening, calmly sitting at the table sewing and watching TV. Suddenly the chair I’m sitting on breaks in half and falls apart. I am dumped down on top of it and my back is badly hurt. Shocked, and not moving for a few moments, I switch into my healing mode, which is mostly not pathologizing what is happening by going into “Victim”, with her familiar trauma-derived “catastrophic expectations”. I move gingerly --- is anything broken? No, I can move. I am humming as I put my healing hand on my back and lie there a while. Will I still be down here on the floor on top of the askew chair when my husband comes home? A funny picture.

It is interesting to me to see my beliefs about healing jump into action in emergency. What is healing, anyway? To quote neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, “Joy is conducive to health.” And, in “the ultimate state of well being”, there are “sustained feelings of harmony, ease and joy.”

Although my back hurts and I have a huge dark purple bruise and I feel sick, two days later I have a scheduled session with my phenomenal Gyrotonic coach and Graham dancer, Jennifer DePalo. I know I won’t be able to do the usual strenuous and ecstatic movements she usually leads me into. I fantasize in advance that I will roll around carefully a la AM, with her knowledgeable and intuitive hands on my back. She does just that. Yes, it is certainly healing to me to get exactly what I want in a completely mutual interaction.

Two days later I fly to Maine for our annual Authentic Movement gathering at Carol Zahner’s great house. It’s a loose group that has been meeting for years to move, play, make art, dance and eat. We are six this year, only one of whom, Mie Sato, I don’t yet know well.

Feeling sick and hurting, I am treated lovingly. Carol gives me her bed and giant bathtub, and we all make and eat scrumptious food. I am given soft foot massages and Germaine Fraser gives me a beautiful aroma therapy massage in which I am more than happy to be completely receptive. Not just a massage, it was like being completely cared for by a perfect loving mother. Who could imagine more wonderful healing?

One afternoon between our AM sessions, I’m sitting on a bench at Carol’s dining table with my hand on my hurting back. Mie says, “Would you like me to put my hand there?” Yes. We are quiet for a while, then my body starts to do AM and Mie follows. After a while I think of saying, “Follow your intuition”. I say, “Move with me”, and she does both. Mie does not initiate, but follows, matching me. We are equally active, both of us following my AM impulses. We go on for a long time, as the leading/following gradually turns into mutually matching AM. Perfect. I open my eyes and see Germaine watching. I say to her, “Will you get a camera and catch this? It’s so good.” She does. Mie and I continue in our mutually matching AM. Perfect. An “ultimate state of well being, with harmony, ease and joy.”

Authentic Movement in real life, not just during official sessions within given forms. No designated external Witness, just two movers with Inner Witnesses in relationship. Being in one’s own AM while following another mover’s AM. Mutually matching AM. AM as healing without a program, protocol or system. Healing without solicitude. Love without sentimentality.

I am reminded of Shelley Tanenbaum’s intention in her “Intuitive Life Movement”, a form kindred to AM, to come to have one’s everyday open-eyed interactions enlivened by the continual presence of one’s spontaneous impulses. (See A Moving Journal, Summer, 2004.) And my AM buddy, and contact dancer, Lucy Mahler, tells me that mutual matching, a la AM, is not uncommon in Contact Improvisation.

My goals in AM are: (1) To use AM as my main resource in my on-going project to undo the trauma-induced patterns in my life. (2) To have my AM impulses and feelings present in my daily life and during my interactions with others. (3) To identify at least half the time with my understanding Witness/Listener, who helps me go into problems and projections without getting stuck in them. (4) To easily be able to choose to move out of my old trauma victim’s kyphosis and scoliosis, into the liberating high twisting chest arching that Jennifer and Gyrotonic and my spontaneous twistings in AM have taught me to love and trust. My twistings tell me, “You’re on the right track.”

I am fortunate. The main source sustaining my well being in life is living in love with my husband of nearly fifty years. Thank you, Bill.

My back still hurts and my bruise is still colorful, but it is talking to me. It wants me to be a loving mother to it. It wants me to call it, not ‘Hurt Back’, but ‘Honey Love’, (seriously, and without embarrassed joking) and give it all the time it needs. So I’d say that my (5) goal is: (as Germaine says), To be in love with myself. Harmony, love and joy: that’s healing.


Initially, I responded to Aileen’s gesture of self care because I was in a better physical position to hold that spot on her back.

I was willing to be there and knew that my warm hand would be soothing on her sore back.

I was also willing to be there without doing anything, just witnessing and holding space.

When Aileen started to move I began by following her impulse.

When I surrendered to the dance of just flowing and following I felt my heart open to trust and caring.

There were times when we switched back and forth gently moving energy between us. It felt effortless and healing for me as well.

The other gift was I got to know Aileen intimately as well.


Martha said...

Aileen and Mie,
Thank-you so much for this post! First of all, I could picture and follow you, Aileen, as you sat, fell, talked and un-talked to yourself, moved, opened yourself to caring, discovered, twisted in those yummy gyrotonic moves....

And then, what came up for me was the "choice" we have in witnessing ourselves, in choosing to heal, in choosing the form that healing takes in any given time, in particpating in others healing...

I hope your back continues to feel better and better...

Thanks again,
Martha Lask

Margaret Knight (by CZ) said...

Dear lovely ones, I just read the blog entry by aileen and mie. couldn't figure out how to comment so I'm commenting here. Thanks for writing that up. I also want to have AM be me, be authentic, be moving, be whatever is needed. When I was just camping in northern VT and the tent was covered with snow and I had to undress to get in my sleeping bag, I found myself making all kinds of sounds. They helped me deal with the cold. I think your spontaneous session at Carol's table could happen because we did authentic living while we were there. Love to you all, Margaret

Minsk Peer Group Rules by Alexey Konstantinov

The Blog editors asked Alexey if we could post on our Blog this policy from his web site in Belarus ( to stimulate discussion of the different ways peer groups practice and set up safety.

Here is his response: "Hello Elizabeth, I attach a file (copied below) with our peer group policy.
It is also posted at our web site:
I'm looking forward to an opportunity of discussion of peer groups policies.
Best regards, Alexey.

Minsk Peer Group Policy

Common Goal
Our common goal is to practice regularly and successfully the amazing and fine discipline of Authentic Movement in its classical form. We regard it successful when the practice becomes supportive, challenging and meaningful, letting us achieve our personal goals in this practice.

Sharing the value of a regular practice we group together to create and sustain necessary conditions and to facilitate each other’s personal practice within the discipline.

After seven months of weekly practice during the first season we came to an understanding of the necessary conditions for our AM peer group. We state them in the following rules. The rules cover safety, processes and organizational issues.

Organizational Issues
1. We have the common goal, vision and group policy. The facilitators have an executive privilege to ask you (a participant) to leave the group in the following cases: your participation does not help attaining the common goal; you don’t share a value of the classical form of AM; you permit
yourself to break these rules
2. The facilitators have an executive privilege to make a decision in case group discussion is deadly dragging on
3. We practice in a closed group.
4. A participant should be able to attend a major portion of sessions.
5. We meet only on a monthly prepaid basis.
6. Being late is not acceptable.
7. We use a mailing-list to discuss various issues. It is private and only for current participants.

Safety issues
1. Participants are responsible for their behavior with respect to themselves and others as well as for observing these rules. Those who are in witness position take additional responsibility for observing group and individual safety.
2. If a participant has any acute complicated experience (disease, trauma, mental stress) or abnormal sensations in the body it is important to let others (or just to the witness) know before session. Such particular personal information will provide more adequate and secure work of the witnesses.
3. We keep all the content of the sessions within the group. All personal and processes information is confidential and cannot be shared outside the group and session time.
4. It is prohibited to express aggression directly to another mover. If you are going to commit abrupt and vigorous movement, make sure you will not harm anybody.
5. It’s prohibited to express sexuality directly to another mover.
6. Experiencing severe affect or distress as a mover it may be proper to open eyes or become a witness.
7. It is possible to deviate from earlier agreed format of a process in case it is a matter of safety orand psychological ecology.

Processes issues
1. The ritual of beginning and completion. We open and close each process standing in a circle with our arms stretched aside.
2. A witness in order to become a mover enters the circle’s space and establishes an eye contact with one or several witnesses (‘I see you’). When a process is over a mover opens hisher eyes and again makes an eye contact.
3. We use a bell ring to indicate a completion of a session. It can be done by any witness, usually the nearest one, after previously agreed time is over or agreed event has happened.
4. When a witness is going to ring a bell, heshe should rise hisher hand up to signal to other witnesses about it. And heshe is waiting other witnesses to raise their hands in respond to indicate their movers are not experiencing a culmination and that ring will not cause explicitly unfinished process.
5. Witnesses are responsible to maintain a safe circle space. They change their positions along the perimeter behind others if possible.
6. A witness should have enough energy to sustain an act of witnessing. It is recommended to become a mover (even motionless) when a witness feels exhausted.
7. When a witness observes a scattering attention heshe may raise hisher hands up for other witnesses to give support by raising their hands in respond. It’s OK to do it as often as necessary.

The Second International Laboratory of Authentic Movement, Belarus

April 29 – May 3 2009 

Alexey Konstantinov

The second gathering took place in Minsk region of Belarus in April 29 – May 3 2009. There were 34 participants from five countries (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Netherlands). The laboratory was facilitated by Alexander Girshon and Alexey Kapterev.

A special visiting teacher and guest – Linda Hartley,  who was supposed to introduce  aspects of Body-Mind Centering work with the senses, organ system and developmental patterns, and integrate them with Authentic Movement,( focusing on witnessing movement, sensation, emotion and image) was not able to come due to unforeseen circumstances.  Vitaliy Kononov – a co-facilitator of the first gathering was also not able to come.

Nevertheless participants discussed, planned and shared experience of more than 20 AM processes. There was a variety of experimental formats, classical and related forms: AM and New Code NLP, AM and Systemic Constellations, AM and Meditation. A unique Long-distance format with a group in USA.  3-hour AM marathons. In total we moved through about 17 different formats.    

Overall conclusion: During the first laboratory in 2008 we focused mostly on processes’ content and experimented with contexts. At this laboratory our focus was upon the form itself, a spectrum of feedback formats, rituals, boundaries and rules.

 A significant influence on this focus was exerted by participation of Alexander Girshon, Denis Turpitka and Yulia Morozova from the Authentic Movement Gathering in Vienna in 2008. At that Gathering there was a high level of ritualization, “the taste” of the classical approach, and a great value placed on integration processes – all was practiced and discussed.

Among valuable findings we note a “contract witnessing” which enables a mover to choose a particular form of feedback before a process. A long-distance format  taught us about creating and maintaining the conditions to experience a collective body with its deep level of participation and pervasive ritual.  

A combination of AM and New Code of NLP again displayed its high effectiveness as a “body-storming” technique. Our attempt to combine AM and Systemic Constellations resulted in a number of serious questions necessary to solve in order to continue.  AM with a meditative preface is a very interesting format which creates a unique state and space. We repeated a 3-hour night marathon format to clarify the necessary terms, advantages and drawbacks of the format. AM and performance is as usual, a highly workable and inexhaustible theme.

Important issues of the laboratory were  – integration of AM into ordinary life, AM community


Preliminarily, we are planning the third laboratory in early May 2010 in Belarus.  A week-long event will consist of three days retreat with classical forms and four days of laboratory work.

Organizers:  Alexey Konstantinov and Yulya Korzunova  

© 2009 Alexey Konstantinov 


Alton Wasson on Movement as Spiritual Practice

At the Contemplative Dance – Authentic Movement weekend workshop led by Alton Wasson, which we attended in NYC in March, 2009, the theme was Movement as Spiritual Practice. Alton invited us to be aware that we each have our own spiritual practices – that spiritual practices include more than the standard ones we usually think of, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.

Alton asked us to share the things we do in our daily lives which are spiritual practices for us. Alton set the tone by starting with a couple of examples from his own life. He does authentic movement in bed before getting up, for five or ten minutes; or in the bath: resting in the bath, letting movement happen, going under the water, etc. He rises to greet the sun, a Navaho and Hopi Indian practice, getting up at dawn and running to greet the dawn. We can all do this: go toward the rising light and introduce yourself (Indian names hold their ancestry and history) by saying, “Good morning, I am the son/daughter of …..” and list your ancestors as far back as you know.

After you have read the following practices participants in the workshop came up with, you are invited to respond to us via this Blog with any of your own practices you want to share.

* * * *

Doing a gratitude inventory: lying in bed at night before sleep and asking, what was my favorite thing today?

Riding my bicycle.

Doing the yoga Breath of Fire – doing it for 3 minutes (in a position lying with legs long and slightly off floor, head and shoulders off ground).

At any time: pausing, noticing my breath, coming back to my body.

Identifying myself as a spiritual being.

Gardening – watching the perennial flowers bloom again in Spring.

Writing and drawing in my journal is my practice in overcoming self-censorship and focusing on finding my most authentic words. I write dialogues between my different partial selves, draw them, and make clay figures of them.

Writing my morning pages (from The Artist’s Way). Upon waking each morning, I write three pages, free form, without stopping.

Sewing – getting lost in making a tactile thing purges things and puts love into each stitch.

Sounding, harmonizing, making harmonic overtones.

Doing a specific practice a yoga teacher taught me (in India), which takes half an hour: in the morning I start lying down. During the half hour, I move to standing up, in any way I can/wish. Then in the late afternoon or evening, I do it again in reverse, I move from the standing up position to lying down – also a half hour process.

Talking to my cats, feeling blessed to have them in my life.

Saying three Shabbats (blessings), every Friday, lighting the candle, following the tradition with grape juice and bread.

Integrating spiritual practices into my daily life, not split off from daily life or rarified.

Upon waking, watching the light come in through the window, watching it suffuse the room as it lights up the objects in the room.

Acknowledging and orienting to the directions of the medicine wheel.

Dance movement is my spiritual practice. Before performing, before stepping on stage, I pray to be a channel, to let something bigger than myself work through me. Dance is also physically grounding, and focuses me.

Embracing all of who I am, all that life is.

Parenting, especially the challenges.

Holding an overarching view, a big vision, so that everything in my daily life is part of it. It is sacred. Every mundane thing as I go through life is sacred.

Making images, collages, colors when I have fear, not “thinking” about it.

Practicing not pathologizing my experiences.

Bringing heart to all that I do, from washing dishes to going to work.

Checking in with myself: asking, ‘what sensory channel am I in?” or, like a chest of drawers, asking, ”which drawer?” (emotion, visual, sensation, story, ritual, archetypes, spiritual, etc.)

Or asking myself, “who do I think I am? Which part of myself am I identifying with now?”

* * *

Again, please do let us all know what your own spiritual practices are, via this Blog.

© 2009 Janet Charleston and Aileen Crow
Germaine said...

everyday spiritual practice... (perhaps not EVERY day, but I'm aware of the potential in it often engage as I can)

preparing a meal, sensing the life of the vegetable, herb and how it asks to be cut and used.

eating a meal-- aware of the colors, textures, smell and taste. spine very related.

dragging on a cigarette squatting on the step of the back porch the potted plants sharing the stillness while something grateful (grief? loneliness?) in the lungs meets the smoke churling downward.

facing a patient, awareness of my self standing there, the weight in my hips and feet, awareness of them. i breathe, they breathe. i see them, i see myself.

Annette Geiger, Zürich said....

This article is very inspiring. Thank you Aileen and Janet.

I practice Authentic Movement while I pray. The movement happens on a very subtle level.

Inner waves move through me like a constant adjustment into the now.

When I walk my dog I allow these „inner“ adjustments to happen – while I am aware of other people, children, other dogs and traffic. If there is too much happening „outside“ it is a constant going in and coming out and going back in.

In nature I sink into colors, shapes and smells of trees and plants and the air and move along getting a sense of the big Oneness – and sometimes I even succeed to say a prayer while exhaling. All at the same time. That is Heaven on Earth.

Playing music or listening to music is a great inspiration to be with the inner Movement and enables me to listen and to hear very differently than when I use my intellect. It sharpens the perception and appreciation.

When I do bodywork with people I connect with this inner Movement. While listening and watching my client I ask the Oneness in me to unfold and to transmit healing energy through me.

Spiritual practice can happen at any given moment and anywhere if I allow it to happen and step out of my way.

Annette Geiger, Zürich, Switzerland, June 15th 2009

Learning to be a Facilitator

By Elizabeth Reid, Averill Park, NY

For the past three years I have attended Alton Wasson's Facilitator workshop. This year Daphne Lowell joined him in leading us through a very rich three days.

Ann Mcginity said..."Once again I'm noticing those ripples that spill out into my life after our time together...confidence, contentment...Thank you all so much."

Here are some of my(Elizabeth) thoughts on what I learned from the weekend:

On the practical level I learned again that set up and sharing takes more time than I think it will. I learned to practice reading the poem I want to read a few times out loud so I don't stumble over the words quite so much. I learned that if I do stumble or loose my place or lose the poem to take a breath and slow down and just be kind to myself about my humanness and lack of perfection in the leading process. I learned that if I cry a bit it is just because I am touched and that is a special part of the process.

On a more reflective level I learned that my own ambivalence for being a facilitator has do with the leadership having a performance quality to it. So the more I can focus off of performance and onto presence the more deeply nurturing it is for me to be a facilitator. I learned that even when doing a simple leadership structure I will likely be nervous, but by the end of the time my nervousness has transformed to excitement about what has unfolded in the session together.

I learned that my own design of workshop time is likely to reflect who I am and what I need, so I want to be sure to give lots of room for other choices beyond my own design so other participants can find what they need. At the same time designing from my own authentic place of need and desire likely enhances what I have to offer. I learned I want to make room in my design for my own participation as a mover because of my own needs for that and because it reminds everyone that we are all in the end peers in this process.

© 2009 Elizabeth Reid

Hi Elizabeth,
I really enjoyed your blog entry. Thanks for sharing!

I wish I had more time to contribute to the blog, but I'm soooo happy to have this as a resource.

Thanks so much for all your efforts.

Be well,

Hi Elizabeth! It is lovely to read your thoughts about facilitation. So honest and resonant!

I hope to take another workshop soon....


Germaine said...

Elizabeth, you write so practically and yet with a burgeoning wisdom. It is so good to hear your clarity. thank you.

Poem Inspired in Peer Group Meeting 2008

By Stig Hjelland, Norway

Gods Touching Everything Human

In the authentic movement much energy is moved,
in simple, godlike ways.

Nothing is wasted, every condition used-
contacting the furthest reaches of human beauty.

Every single gestalt is beauty,
never is anything off the track.

The crawling, the walking, the snake and the prey,
the shivering life of an innocent sinner-
unfinished gestalts, almost deepest of all.

A being tries to crawl, but cannot fully,
a spear is in its side:
We see gods, touching everything human
turning it to perfect beauty.

From this is all and every art derived,
every drama and poem, any dance or display-
are like stills, humbly pointing at the actual movie.
This illumination of souls,
this abundance of energy-
where God´s beauty emerges in human form,
in time will call forth
the willed love, in every witness.

© 2008 Stig Hjelland

Irina Muterperel said...

Seems like I hear your voice again and I see you reading your poem to us as a witnessing respond.

It's inspiring for me to hear it.

Germaine said...

we are so lucky, aren't we?! yow.

Query: AM and Creative Process


I am a student at Marlboro College and I am doing part of my senior thesis on Authentic Movement. I was wondering if you know of any, or strongly remember, any articles that were published in A Moving Journal that have to do with Authentic Movement and the Creative Process. I'm researching how and if AM has been used by anyone as a place of harvest for the choreographic/dance making process.

Michaela Wood


Ann McNeal said...

Hi Michaela,
if you look in you'll see the titles of back issues, one of which was on performance. You can order these or perhaps find in libraries.

Also, see the Authentic Movement Vol 2 edited by Patrizia Pallaro.

Have fun with your thesis.

Monday, April 13, 2009 6:47:00 PM EDT

Elizabeth Reid said...

There is a complete index of all the articles from AMJ at:

Amazing resource still available to all of us.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 5:56:00 PM EDT

Kathryn Kollar said...

Thanks for listing those sites and making it easy for us to research other questions.
Though I have such limited time now to visit this site when I do it's like an old friend.I am always grateful to those of you who keep it alive and moving.

Kathryn Kollar
Saturday, May 2, 2009 10:36:00 AM EDT

Paula said...

Hi Michaela

I recommend the AMJ interview with Eva Karczag in the last issue Vol. 13 #2 also, Lauren Baldock in England did a dissertation called Finding A Voice about sourcing dance from AM. You might be able to reach her via

Good luck with your research!

Saturday, May 2, 2009 11:15:00 AM EDT

Meg Cottam said...

Hi Michaela,
In addition to these other great ideas 'Contact Quarterly' also published an issue on Authentic Movement including a variety of articles relating to sourcing and how AM works with performance/choreographic interests. I believe it's CQ, Vol.27 #2
Best wishes,

Monday, May 4, 2009 12:57:00 PM EDT

From INGRID BAART, an Authentic Mover in Netherlands, a witness response to the recent election in the US.

Congratulations, American women!

Today, even in a small country such as the Netherlands, I was clustered to the television and followed with joy and passion Obama's inauguration. For you I imagine it is a time of celebration and change. But also for many others all over the world it feels like that, celebration and responsibility, so clear in Obama's speech.

I was 10 years old when Martin Luther King was shot. It was a traumatic event, I couldn't believe people were able to do such injustice to other people. Because of that, I wrote his speech "I have a dream" in a little notebook. I wanted to save his words. I can still picture myself sitting, carefully writing on those pages. I expressed my feelings of helplessness and of hope by copying his words.

"I have a dream" and "Yes, we can," are both expressing so much our dance of life, our life energy and life power. The dreams we express in our dances are the embodiment of our dreams and life energy. In the act of dancing, we express we can, and I am. While expressing our dreams and images, we share an universal mind and a common hope and faith.

To me, but not only to me, this is an important day, the little child in me is heard and thrilled with joy and new dreams!

With love,