Reflections on October 4, 2016

Marisa Naspolini said...

I'm planning a session with a small group on October 1st in Florianópolis, South of Brazil. I wish to create a group for current practice. We will be connected to the whole community during the week. Congratulations for the idea of celebrating October 4th.Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 9:28:00 PM EDT
Thank you for our first comment for 2016.  How are you planning to celebrate Mary Starks Whitehouse this year?   ~~~E

I have no one to move with, so today I began to moved with camera as witness. I will do this till the 4th of October and see waht transpires after that. I will move to feel the dream, dream to feel the movement. Also it is my birthday on the 2nd of October. My teacher, mentor who introduced me to AM, has her birthday on the 4th. So it is a Special time for me, thank you and blessings Maria

A small group of us will gather at Genesis Retreat center in Westfield, MA and move our wishes and dreams for the whole community.  We loved doing this last year.   ~~~Elizabeth

Mary Starks Whitehouse…and Her Teachers by Lisa FladagerWe no longer know it, but there was a time when movement was our language. We were undivided. - Mary Starks Whitehouse
Mary Starks Whitehouse (1911 -1979) is considered to be the foremother of the many streams of practice that comprise Authentic Movement. Mary was a modern dancer who studied with dance pioneers Mary Wigman and Martha Graham--both strong, innovative choreographers who created dances that accessed the archetypal and mythological realms in the studio and on stage.
The powerful emotional experiences that Mary had in her own body as she danced with them and the equally powerful experiences she witnessed in her own students in the studio piqued her curiosity, leading her to pursue study and training in CG Jung's methods of analytical psychology, active imagination and dreamwork at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.
As these two streams, one sourced from the emotional/psychological/soul level and the other from the dance/embodiment level, coursed through and blended within her, alchemy happened. Gradually, a way of working evolved, both new and ancient, born in mid-twentieth century California! Mary discovered a way of being, moving and relating to body and soul as one, as alive, as inseparable. This unity and inclusivity of body+soul was something that had been missing in the western versions of dance and psychology, but was beginning to re-emerge in early to mid-twentieth century through Mary and others.
Mary discovered and spent years developing her unique way of being+moving while in the presence of an other (teacher/witness) that was genuine, real and uncontrived. She called her way of moving/being/witnessing "authentic" and "movement-in-depth".
When the movement was simple and inevitable, not to be changed no matter how limited or partial, it became what I called 'authentic'- it could be recognized as genuine, belonging to that person...[a] truth of a kind unlearned, but there to be seen. - Mary Starks Whitehouse
Yearly, on Mary's birthday, October 4th, the international Authentic Movement Community comes together to mark and honor the contributions of this amazing pioneer! I hope you'll join us.
If you are an AM practitioner/mover, you can post your dreams for Authentic Movement to the Authentic Movement Community Blog, or share some of your embodied writing or images. We invite you to join the online community gathering around this powerful, nourishing and transformative practice.
Reflections on Mary Starks Whitehouse and her disciples:
Mary's practice of Authentic Movement taught me that I am intrinsically my own expert.  I am the one that knows my Self best.  There is no hierarchy of knowing better inside of my selves, or outside of myself.  We are each our own experts to trust our own knowing.  We are each our own best experiment.  I don't have to strive for what I am, rather trust that which makes me what I am.
In the mover/witness relationship, Mary's disciples have taught me to respect the power of the mover's experience and how they are transformed by it.  The witness is witnessing their own response to it, only to support the mover's integration, retelling and removing of it as a record of their owning the experience.  The mover is the one dialoguing with the witness, not the witness dialoguing with the mover.  I mean this in that the witness has their own vibrant experience that they learn to contain to create safety for the mover, choosing to not project the witness experience upon the mover.  The rich interplay between the mover and witness creates an individual intimacy of depth and history in each of them if practiced over and over.
I don't necessarily mean with the same dyad, but as a practice in each individual, and their relationship to the bigger world.
Katherine Chowanec
10-02-2016  after moving at Genesis

From Paula Sager and Lizbeth Hamlin

Intending to honor Mary Starks Whitehouse and join all who deeply love and practice Authentic Movement, we, Lizbeth Hamlin and Paula Sager, planned a time to move and witness with each other.   After many years, of exploring this long-distance form, we found a familiar and yet freshly new energy emerging.

We each light a candle on our altars....


Rising wick of light
I stand as
eyes close
hands pressed in prayer pose
as nostrils breath warm
air felt on fingertips

Squeak of familiar floorboard
under my right bare foot
heel pressing slowly
an ancient song returning
releases up through
my body.

Flat palms open
to a small column
of light entering
this gateway
into slow movement
rising out of stillness.

Hands rise with my arms
towards sky and
open space above,
feet shift and
the moving floorboards
are under my left foot.

Head tilts back
arms overhead
and a deep salutation
up then down
diving to earth
the moving floorboards
guide the motion
into a simple rocking
back and forth.

Firm hands flat on the floor
come into
a forward motion
and a long prostration
towards the lit
wick of light
where I find you
as if time has never passed.


with each silent step,
to the center, to the turning,
to the descending
at the center.

On hands and knees,
feeling weight of back, belly, spine,
spine slowly undulating.

Hands, one then the other
slide back along the floor,
crawling backwards, back to the familiar
warmth of body.

Weight of rolling arm, leg, weight of head
on wood floor, rolling
deeper into dark warmth.

A place where thumb and finger form a ring
encircling other wrist. This too
forgotten, but familiar.

Returning to the ground
of knowing
how near,
how far
we are.

From Mary Francis Hoffman
I honored the form and Mary Starks Whitehouse this year as I had an opportunity to teach a Freshman Seminar class, connectedness to Nature and Sustainability. I took the students outdoors and asked them to allow something in Nature to draw them close. Then I had them partner and share three other Nature elements with each other. Silently witnessing each other share their joy with this exercise in connecting with Nature. Perfect Day!
From Nina Kungurova

To remember the International Authentic Movement Day! It took place two weeks ago and now we are able to collect all photos. 
to honor Mary Starks Whitehouse..
to join to the big circle..
with open hearts from Russia, Ukrain and Kazakhstan!..

Written following a movement session in honor of Mary Startks Whitehouse.  By Elizabeth Reid

My thought as I walk is, "a teacher is a human being."  Over and over I think, 'a teacher is a human being."  And then, "a teacher is a human being who dies."  "A teacher is a human being who dies and leaves behind an energy."

I wonder and notice the energy that is left behind in my body from my teachers.  I feel places I have been touched.  Places of touching flood back into my memory and touch me again.  A dream of the divine child in integration of male and female in my heart.  

I go to another mover who has been such a teacher about touch.  She touches my aching knee and warms my wound.  I feel the touch of other teachers through the years...a touch that allows a growing presence, a touch that sees trauma and contentment, touching that hopes to add compassion to the world.

In the short youtube clip of Mary Starks Whitehouse she says something like, "I see/experience you by being with your bodies, not with your smile or your talk.  Your body is the connection to the sacred."

I am noticing the teachers who teach how to use our energy to let go of ourselves and return to ourselves changed and transformed, more complex, more present, more compassionate, more able to dance as human beings who will die.

My favorite teachers teach for their own autotelic,intrinsic,internal selves, their own self goals,their own optimal creative edge...learning their own way, according to their individual tastes and talents.

All teachers are human beings who die, who touch, who learn, who need to be touched.

When my father died I was so sad to think of all his brilliance lost, until I saw that his brilliance was for him, it was his, for his own enjoyment in life.  Now I am so touched when I notice his brilliance is still here and there in the world.

From Aileen Crow
I’m happy to read your writing and eager to hear more!

 I’ve been fortunate to have great teachers, and not just go for degrees. Some of my teachers have passed on, but stay with me in my being. I had an art teacher at the 92nd St “Y”, Anna Siok, who often said, ‘Isn’t it wonderful, everybody does something different!!"
  She modeled curiosity and generosity. -for others and for herself - she kept her art materials on her kitchen sink, ready to play! 
And a dance therapist who’s not in my life any more, but bequeathed me “ Make room for all your parts!”

The above link takes you to the digitized AMJ’s..
Spring 1997: Interview with Kathlyn Hendricks, “Reflections on Mary Starks Whitehouse” by Christine Caldwell
This is a wonderful article on Mary’s ideas.

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