Galleries for Images by Kathy Chowanec

The Authentic Movement Community Blog would like to open the door wider to the visual realm, by creating personal galleries of visual art images or creative forming results. We hope you would enjoy seeing your creative forming pieces from a gallery perspective of a whole group of your own work and a group of other's work as well. There is a strong belief that our mind/body tells us things through our artistic expressions. Most pieces currently on the AMC Blog are narrative. 
The idea is to have a place for art strictly from authentic movement experience.  We are inviting artistic expression that has happened in conjunction with a movement session. These galleries  are not for art that has been judged, juried, or awarded any level of expertise. These galleries  are not to be art work that is for sale anywhere else. 
This is an invitation to send photos of art pieces you may be shy about showing. They can be entered anonymously, or not. This is an opportunity if you want to have comments on what others see in your expressions.  
From a personal standpoint this idea came about because I think I’m shy about pieces “I don’t like”. I’m not sure what that means. They are certainly mine, a part of me I love, and yet it would be courageous to have others see them. So I think I need to let others see them to surpass my fear of these art pieces being ugly, unfinished, or out of character, the shadow in me. Putting them on the blog allows me to set them free, see them from a longer lens, be non judgemental about them. They now belong as a part of the blog gallery. I can claim them, or not and decide to remain anonymous. I hope you join me in posting images. ---Kathy Chowanec

Send your images in an email or email attachment to Elizabeth at
Please include any titles or wording you would like posted with your image.  We need written permission to publish your images and any pictures of you.

Kathy invited the September Reunion of the Facillitator's Group to try these Galleries.  Below are six galleries as our first effort.  Witness response welcome!   

Kathy Chowanec's Gallery

Ann McGinty Gallery "Nourishing Art"


The whole gallery goes together.


Bottom---My Blue Wings

Bottom--Holding Fire

Nephron--From nothing comes something

Burning away, letting go

calling card





power shield

lightning lifting light

she whispers the door is open

fire in her spine


the dancer sees

Kathryn Kollar Gallery

I really like this one. It feels safe to me. It's odd isn't it?

Safety from a different angle

Safety from one more angle

Let--What's on the table.

Safety--upper left
Dog--lower left
Party--upper right
Let--lower right

Authentic Movement: Creative Forming Roberta Whitney

SEP 2011

On Mexican Yams

It was a time of the Mexican yam and I am on the edge of creating...
It was a time of estrogen and I am well-beyond ovaries and carrying potential within.

And yet—I can create externally now...

I am the fecundity in a marigold
and flowering broccoli in the gardens.
I am the flow of a watery stream
running off the clay vase, made fountain.
I am stillness drinking in the sun.
I am the warrior--slicing--protecting.
I am the roaring lion-fiercely sounding out
to an [American] culture devouring the children.
I am one half-
one pole-
one side.

In the coolness, I rock.
Waters shift gently within.
I am a silent prayer for life
No longer between hips-but in
the world-wide mother.
I am of Her.

My vessel is She.
It is bigger and more beautiful
than all of time and space.
She is my estrogen,
My Mexican yam.

On Sound

There is a phenomenon
With noise—when it
There is still silence...
And in that space, is there no sound?
Night bugs of summer orchestrating after a flaming sunset.
The moon—
Does it not have a sound?
Perhaps, a moon wind whispering over the craters.
And then,
Your breathing.
The most beautiful sound in the world—
Life, singing into you.

The sound between us.
The vibrations do not
Know the color of your hair
Your weight, or mine.
There is no eye color
Revealed in the notes
Only heart—
And there, we meet.

I draw a circle around me—
It is the circle sound creates around us.

Then, as if too staid,
Cacophony erupts.
Sound and pace shift.
Again, I hear noise.

Until that refines
Creative overlay of individuated expression
That finds rhythm and expands

Then, ends
After a beat of your foot on the wall—
now still, now silent.

I want A Circle

I want a circle.
Last night, I saw it ringing a moon,
Full and white.
There were colors there
Softly playing off the light.

I want a circle here now.
In this space.
A rainbow circle.


  1. Mexican Yam is going up on the fridge. yow. FANTASTIC. All of them are remarkable, Roberta. Your humanness sings forth!

    gracias.... (smile) Germaine
  2. and btw... you can be in my circle ANYTIME... as soon as i get one.

Alison Buck Gallery

 Moving in relation to “Estrogen from the fermented Mexican Yam plant called Dioscorea Composita:”
What is my connection with it?
Part 1 (left):      Being rooted in the grasses of nature
Part 2 (right):    In Tai Chi mode

Giving Voice to Silence
(My response to a movement session with vocal sounding)

Elizabeth Reid Creative Forming Gallery

Sound Vibration

 witnessing group energy

playing with water color pencils

 Transformation tadpoles
The colored pencil drawing transformed with water on paint brushes.

 Blue shoulders and hips, black eyes, green torso
Intense and complex body energy at this moment.

 more color play

Desire Composita
Answer to the question "What is your connection to fermented Mexican Yams

Projection: After I finished this I saw the Moon as I had seen it the night before the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11. It was not my intention as I played with the colors.

"AUTHENTIC" AS THE NEW FAD WORD by Aileen Crow with Carol Zahner

In the New York Times, in the Fashion section, Sunday, September 11, 2011, there was an article , "Authentic? Get Real" (click here), talking about the fad-like current use of the word "authentic" to describe themselves by many famous people.  Michelle Bachman said, "I am authentic."  The Pope talks about the challenge to be authentic and faithful.  Hilary Clinton said, "I believe in being as authentic as possible."  What does that mean?  The implication is that being “authentic” is better than—what?  Better than usual?  Better than others?  It implies that one is genuine, real, truthful and spontaneous, and not phony, fake, artificial, insincere, self conscious or pretending --- which, in the article, one professor calls ”calculated authority’, or “stage management.” 

Try saying aloud about yourself, "I am authentic."  To me, it just doesn’t ring true.  I asked a colleague to say that, and she laughed, saying, “I’m a work in progress.”  Proclaiming one’s authenticity can imply a hierarchy between those who are authentic and those who are not; between those who are superior and those who are inferior.  We are naturally authentic unless we've been traumatized.  How strange to brag about it.

I have always thought the use of the word authentic unfortunate for what we do in AM.  It no doubt implies that some movements are good, and others are bad.  I remember years ago, when my son Daniel, about seven, first heard the word “authentic ", (said in a tone of voice implying something wonderful) he made a grotesque face and gesture, and said, "Is this authentic?"  Just a kid, he got the moral implication.

When I am in Authentic Movement, I question constantly HOW DO I KNOW? when I feel I am moving authentically.  And when I witness, I question HOW DO I KNOW? when I judge that the mover is or is not moving authentically.  What are my criteria, and what am I projecting? There are a lot of different ways to sort.  (See Alton Wasson’s article, on “A Chest of Drawers,“ in contact Quarterly, Summer-Fall 2002, and my article on “Sensory Channels” in A Moving Journal, Fall-Winter 2002.)

I recently received from Patrizia Pallaro, who has written two important books about Authentic Movement, (, the recommendation of a phenomenally relevant article we should all read: "Is 'Authentic' a Meaningful Name for the Practice of Authentic Movement?"  The article is written by Dr. Eila Goldhahn, a long-time Dance and Movement Psychotherapist and Authentic Movement teacher, and it was published in the American Journal of Dance Therapy, 2009. http:/

Dr. Goldhahn goes into the philosophy of Authentic Movement in fine detail.  The history begins with Mary Whitehouse's combining of Jung's “Active Imagination” with dance movement.  Whitehouse called what she did “Movement in Depth”.  She was followed by Janet Adler, who called her form “Authentic Movement”.  Alton Wasson and Daphne Lowell call their version “Contemplative Dance/Authentic Movement.” (  Shelley Tanenbaum calls her kindred form “Intuitive Life Movement.”  (See A Moving Journal, Summer 2004.)  Arnold Mindell calls his Process Work approach “Sentient Awareness.”

Eila Goldhahn discusses how she arrived at her decision to discontinue using the term Authentic Movement, and instead, proposes an alternate term: "The MoverWitness Exchange," an egalitarian rather than hierarchal concept.

I believe what makes Authentic Movement so essential and much missing in our consensus reality, is that it is sensory based.  The body IS authentic.

To paraphrase Yeats, "Oh keep us from the thoughts we think in the mind alone.  Those who sing a lasting song sing in a marrow bone."  

‘Seeing Within and Without’ Through Authentic Movement:

Workshops use movement as a bridge to meditation and increased well-being
by Alison Rooney
Suzi Tortora
Courtesy of Phillipstown Dot
Info and Alison Rooney,
©Alison Rooney, February 1,2011

Suzi Tortora’s practice, which encompasses therapy, dance classes and much more, is called ‘Dancing Dialogue.’ It is indeed a dialogue, of words and movement, intellect and emotion, conscious and sub-conscious, which threads its way through the varied classes and workshops she conducts at her Marion Avenue space in Cold Spring. Known to many local parents as the home of gentle, let it flow, creative dance classes for young children, as well as therapeutic dance movement therapy and social skills navigation classes for slightly older children, Tortora also conducts programs for adults who are seeking to reach within and use the combination of a creative process and meditation to come to a deeper understanding of self.
On a recent Saturday, Tortora conducted an Authentic Movement workshop in her inviting studio, lined with colorful scarves and hoops used in her children’s classes. Authentic Movement, also known as Movement Meditation, had its beginnings in the mid-1950s when the woman who first developed it, Mary Starks Whitehouse, combined her interest in Jungian concepts of ‘active imagination’ with her background as a dancer—in particular with modern dance movement improvisation. As Tortora describes it, Whitehouse “got very interested in the content of dance.” The practice drew from its double roots in psychology and in dance, along with mindfulness and meditation; it emphasizes, above all, “compassionate communication.” Authentic Movement is an independent discipline, but is also incorporated into other practices.
There is a mutable structure to Authentic Movement workshops, and the facilitator is able to use the overall template but adjust the timings and the order as suits the individual group. In Tortora’s group, the ten participants, virtually all of whom had participated in previous workshops, began the session with some activities acknowledging and honoring the space and each other. Then, guided by the gentle gongs of a bell, participants paired off into groups of two, each pair consisting of a “Mover” and a “Witness.” All in silence, the five witnesses took spots around the room, while the movers were free to enter into the circular area within, and, with eyes closed or barely open, to let their bodies follow innate impulses, whatever they might be, for a fixed period of time. Some movers were more inwardly-directed, others had bigger, broader movements either in place or in any part of the circle. The witnesses trained their eyes on their specific partner, and focused on their partner’s actions and also how these movements and the aura of their partner influenced their (the witnesses) perceptions, taking care to avoid projection of their own impressions onto the interpretation of the mover. After the movers “time” was up, both movers and witnesses were able to record, either with words, through journaling or through art, their feelings about the movement which had just taken place.
The movers and witnesses then switched off, and the watcher became the watched. This alternating structure was repeated again, and was followed by a meeting time for the pairs, to go over reactions both to self and partner and compare notes, so to speak. Other, more group-oriented movements and reflections followed, and the four-hour program ended with a closing gesture and some dance. All of the participants appeared to be absorbed, in a positive way, with their experience on the day.

Tortora's Marion Ave studio
Courtesy of Phillipstown Dot Info and Alison Rooney, © Alison Rooney, February 1, 2011
Tortora’s notes for the workshop describe Authentic Movement as “a type of meditation that occurs by closing your eyes and listening to your body—as you listen to your body with this inward focus, you will find a natural state—through an unfolding process that can be active, taking you through the room, or deeply internal, where you may not be moving in any perceivable way to your outside observer … the witness never assumes s/he knows what your experience is for you, but rather explains the images and sensations that have come up for her or him. As you listen, you attend to your reactions, to see if any of these images resonate with your experience.” The website describes the process as “[it] cultivates a contemplative frame of mind, clarity of perception, and movement that is personally enhancing.”
Suzi Tortora has been practicing Authentic Movement for over 25 years. She learned it from Janet Adler, who was a protégé of Mary Whitehouse, being first a patient and then a student. Adler studied and applied Authentic Movement initially as a therapy, and then as a practice, and Tortora’s sessions are similarly non-therapeutic, serving instead a “personal discovery” for those who partake of it. Tortora sees Authentic Movement as “a free association, but we allow our bodies to move us, rather than our minds.”
The participants in Saturday’s workshop were male and female and ranged in age across decades. Some had worked with Tortora before, and others have done Authentic Movement in a different setting and with different guides. “Our bodies tell stories,” says Tortora. “Our bodies are maps of everything that’s ever happened to us. The more you listen, the more you tune out the chatter, the more you discover about yourself. Shut off the thinking self and go into the kinesthetic self.” Tortora herself has been a participant in Authentic Movement retreats, some lasting as long as “10 or 12 days, where you go deeper and deeper into the process, spending several days in a row just moving and journaling, getting in touch with self in a mind-body way, creative and expansive.”
Asked how other dance therapy practitioners view Authentic Movement, Tortora, also a dance/movement psychotherapist replied, “most people treasure it.”

Excerpt from the article, “Seeing Within and Without Through Authentic Movement” originally published in “Philipstown Dot Info” Reprinted here by permission, courtesy of Phillipstown Dot Info, Alison Rooney, and Suzi Tortora. © Alison Rooney, February 1, 2011