Somatic Practice Workshops at the University of Bedfordshire

somatic courses bedford

21-22 November: Sensation, Experiential Learning and Creativity

This weekend investigates somatic practices as a research process. The weekend will explore dynamics of touch, sensation and movement in expressive contexts, and will investigate links between somatics, documentation and self-learning that can be applied to a range of contexts including research, practice as research, teaching, performance, choreography and applied practice. The weekend will offer tools for developing a coherent self-practice in somatic enquiry.

Sessions include:
Dynamics of touch and meaning in movement

Sensing, self-development and self-esteem

Trusting the body: leading and following in improvisation

Mindfulness practices and creative process

Documenting, reflecting and engaging in independent practice: textual, visual and movement compositions

The weekend will be led by UoB  dance faculty:
Imogen Aujla, PhD, MSc – dance science perspectives, dance psychology
Tamara Ashley, PhD, MFA, RYT – mindfulness, yoga and improvisation/creative process
Louise Douse, PhD, RMT – touch, massage and meaning in movement
Amalia Garcia, MA – trust and sensation in mindfulness and improvisation practices


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5 December: Re-wilding the Heart: Conversations with the Sacred Self

A workshop for movers of all kinds. Through somatic enquiry, we will identify the current conversation we are having with ourselves and with the world around us using creative meditation, experiential enquiry of the heart system, poetry, mark-making and journaling. We will use the incisive quality of Authentic Movement practice and its alchemical properties to integrate our material and begin the conversation we know we should be having.

Authentic Movement connects us through our body, through spontaneous moving, to the stories of our personal and collective experiences. It is a careful and attentive discipline which cultivates an impeccable presence in both our moving and our witnessing of moving. Everything begins to makes sense in this discipline, everything is moved, is seen, is liberated; sometimes slowly and gestatingly, sometimes ignited like a synaptic leap.

Session includes:

Experiential anatomy explorations into the heart system of the body

Dyad and group work to cultivate the skills of compassionate listening and speaking

Practice of two Authentic Movement forms for personal and/or creative development.

An insight into the role of witness consciousness

Enquiry into the nature of collective experience

Mark-making and journaling as tools for the creative process

Beverley Nolan is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator (ISMETA, RSMT/E) with a Diploma from the Institute of Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. She is a Faculty member of the Institute that was founded by Linda Hartley and is currently teaching the diploma programme in the UK and in Moscow. in addition to working in private practice in Cambridge, Beverley integrates her work in her role as yoga teacher and teacher trainer. She runs a monthly Authentic Movement circle in Cambridge and is currently developing a new body of work integrating her own experiences of somatic enquiry, poetry and journaling.


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6 December: Somatic Performance Making

In this workshop participants will learn how to generate dance/theatre performance material from a somatic-base. We will start with somatic and improvisational exercises inspired by Skinner Releasing Technique, Amerta Movement, Scaraveli Yoga, Experiential Anatomy and more, as well as the use of concrete materials such as object, costume and text. Participants will leave the workshop with a ‘sketch’ of new performance material, as well as practical tools for continuing to develop their own Somatic Performance Making work.

Sally E. Dean (USA/UK) has been an interdisciplinary performer, performance maker and teacher over 14 years – in university, professional and community settings across Europe, Asia and the USA. Her teaching and performance work is highly informed by somatic-based practices, her cross-cultural projects in Asia and her background in both dance and theatre – integrating site, costume and object. Sally has been supported by the Arts Council England and the British Council. She leads the ‘Somatic Movement & Costume Project’ – designing costumes that create specific body-mind experiences. She is an MPhil candidate Royal Holloway University (Drama/Theatre department). [,],



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23-24 January: Return to the Body

A workshop exploring body and movement in relation to other as a creative resource for movement research, improvisation and choreographic process.

Janis Claxton is a dance artist with 25 years of experience in movement research including intensive studies in the principles of Erick Hawkins, Contact Improvisation, Chinese Martial Arts and Alexander Technique.

Since 2009 Janis has worked in collaboration with Michael Parmenter (NZ) helping to develop his groundbreaking research into contemporary dance partnering techniques. In this workshop she will share her own research into one of these systems T.A.C.T.I.C.S, a unique partner form where all movement is caused by the relationship to other in time and space.

The workshop will explore T.A.C.T.I.C.S in combination with Janis’ own discoveries around the form, as an exciting and revealing training for dance artists where the dynamics of touch and relational movement create a clear and engaging structure for improvisation, affecting our inhabitation of body and our relationship to partner. By delving deeper into the vast creative resource of the body, we will source movement, meaning and metaphor as we uncover new material, dynamics, fun and pleasure in our dancing.

Janis Claxton (UK/AUS) is an independent choreographer and producer based in Scotland. She is Artistic Director of the award winning Janis Claxton Dance creating innovative, world-class works for theatres and public spaces. She has 30 years international experience in professional, educational and community dance and since 2009, has worked between Scotland and China as a maker and producer with major companies and independent artists. In 2013 Janis was awarded an International Creative Entrepreneurs Fellowship and in 2014 a Federation of Scottish Theatres Producers Placement Bursary. As a teacher Janis is known for bringing playfulness and pleasure into a clear and focused learning environment.


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