Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices Special Issue 7.2
Authentic Movement: Defining the Field
(Due for publication late 2015)
Issue Editor: Jane Bacon
Issue Editorial Assistant: Amy Voris
Deadline for full articles: Monday 9th February, 2015
This issue of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices invites contributors to explore, articulate and theorise their particular approach to and application of Authentic Movement (AM) with the aim of differentiating the many practices operating under the rubric of AM. We are interested in contributions that expand our understanding of the field whether those are densely theorised articles, creative writing, artist pages or evidence-based case studies.
Mary Starks Whitehouse, the first to describe the format as one who moves and one who observes, focused particularly on the mover’s experience:
‘Following the inner sensation, allowing the impulse to take the form of physical action, is active imagination in movement…It is here that the most dramatic psychophysical connections are made available to consciousness’ (Whitehouse,1963/1999, p.52).
When AM is describing the mover’s experience, perhaps we can say the individual has a particular attitude of openness toward the body and there can be ‘a moment when the ego gives up control, stops choosing, stops exerting demands, allowing the Self to take over moving the physical body as it will’ (Whitehouse, 1979/1999, p. 82). Since Mary’s ground-breaking work, new generations of Authentic Movement practitioners have developed their own way of working with this unique form.
As the field of Somatics has developed and is more cogently defined by those within Higher Education and professional arenas so too have the respective practices within the field. AM, as a somatic or movement practice, emerged from the discipline of dance but might currently be said to have three root systems (or theoretical underpinnings) – dance, psychotherapy and mysticism. This triadic root system (as described by Adler) of aesthetic, psychological and mystical practice requires further examination to deepen our understanding of AM and the implications of its development from all three very different, but interconnected, root systems. Additionally, these root systems are not the same as the application of the form in professional or personal arenas. For example, the form is often part of improvisatory dance practices but the person leading the group may have a psychotherapeutic approach to the practice; or it might be used in individual or group psychotherapy practices with the therapist having a mystical/spiritual approach to the practice. Research into the relationship between the underlying theoretical approach and the application of the form will help develop our awareness of the full range and potential of the field of Authentic Movement.
We hope this issue of JDSP will be a forum for the articulation of the unique evolutions of the field that we call Authentic Movement. There is now a maturity and complexity to the field that might usefully be historically, philosophically, psychologically, spiritually and aesthetically situated. This issue seeks to examine these differences, similarities and distinctions. No longer is it sufficient to say ‘I practice Authentic Movement’ or ‘I am an Authentic Movement Practitioner’ and have a shared understanding of this. There are many practices, each with shared and unique ways of practicing, each with shared and unique theoretical underpinnings.
There are many ways in which authors might contribute to this special issue. We hope to more fully articulate the differences and similarities between the myriad approaches to this work and generate a resource for those working in Higher Education and other training organisations where a more theoretically informed understanding of the practice is needed.
You may practice and/or teach Authentic Movement; you may find your dance or improvisation practice has borrowed terms from AM such as ‘mover and witness’; you may be a Dance Movement Psychotherapist or Arts Therapist using the relational aspect of the mover/witness to aid the development of client groups; you may be an activist who uses AM to challenge public perceptions about how we live our lives; you may be a spiritual or mystical leader or counsellor who uses aspects of the practice in your work; or you may be interested in articulating what is unique about your approach to Authentic Movement.
Whatever your approach we invite those who practice Authentic Movement or use aspects of it to articulate their contribution to this emerging field. To this end, we seek submissions from scholars, professional arts and therapeutic practitioners that fall under the following four broad categories:
1. General (histories, genealogies, principles) aspects of Authentic Movement practice
2. Theoretical approaches to and analyses of specific aspects of the practice of AM (mover/witness, language, moving, conscious/unconscious, energetic phenomena/transpersonal experience, art making, therapeutic practice, etc)
3. Artist object/artefact (drawing, video, writing, other) created from within an Authentic Movement process
4. Examples (case studies), critiques and analyses of specific Authentic Movement groups or practices (creative, mystical and/or therapeutic)
Some of the key questions that contributions might address include:
• How might the history and development of Authentic Movement be best articulated?
• What constitutes Authentic Movement?
• Are there specific and unique theoretical and analytical frames that aid a deeper understanding of AM?
• In what ways is the term Authentic Movement being employed and how might we work with more rigour in the use and application of this term?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had on performers, dancers, makers, facilitators and teachers of creative practice? And how is it being applied in this field?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had on the field of dance, performance studies and theatre? And what contribution has this made to the field of dance, performance studies or theatre?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had on spiritual leaders/facilitators/
practitioners? And how is it being applied in the field?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had on the field of religious mystical studies? And what contribution has this made to the field of religious and mystical studies?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had on psychotherapists? And how is it being applied in psychotherapeutic practices?
• What impact has Authentic Movement had in the field of psychotherapy? And what contribution has this made to the field of psychotherapy?
Submissions: Please include article title, abstract (200 words), keywords and full article. In another document, please include author’s name and affiliation, biography (200 words), postal and email address. Please submit in Word format.
uk/MediaManager/File/JDSP_4_2_ NFC_299-300.pdf and http://jdsp.coventry.ac.uk/ Home.html
Artist’s pages: Please submit a pdf with how you wish the article to appear in print, along with text (Word) and any images (tiff/jpeg/pdf, 300dpi) attached separately in the same email.
All proposals, submissions and enquiries should be sent direct to:
Amy Voris: A.Voris@chi.ac.uk
For full details on the journal, please see: