With over 20 years of study and practice, is can only be an overview of a few major influences and foundations to this work. More will be added to this list, so check back!
The Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year is a view of the cycles of the seasons (as tracked through both the sky and the earth) as an anchor for tracking time, influential energy and symbolism for cycles in our lives. Often, I find that body/mind conditions shift as the wheel shifts, and we respond to similar situations differently based on how seasonal energies are working on us. While I have always been cultivating some intuitive practice around syncing with the seasons, or earth-based spirituality, it was through beginning to work with teacher Maia Toll in 2015, that I began to really engage with the cycles of the seasons myself, track and document my own journey, and experiment in my artistic work. This is where the foundation for my workshop Force of Nature was born.
Body Mind Centering®(BMC)
BMC is an integrated and embodied approach to movement, the body and consciousness. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, it is an experiential study based on the embodiment and application of anatomical, physiological, psychophysical and developmental principles, utilizing movement, touch, voice and mind. I began study of BMC in 2005, conducted my MFA thesis with BMC as a basis of acting study and have continued personal artistic research through this form since then. I find it to be an inexhaustible touch-stone and resource for connecting with the body-mind and learning how to translate it’s messages.
Contemplative Dance Practice (CDP)
CDP is training for personal and group awareness of body/mind through a simple form that alternates sitting meditation with self-directed body movement in space. The form was developed by Barbara Dilley, who danced with both the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1963–68) and Grand Union, a dance/theater collaboration that was to extend the definitions of the art of improvisation (1969–76). She began to explore the contact points between dance practices and the study of meditation in the Shambhala tradition while teaching at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, in 1974. As one of her students, this practice has become a very personal home-base, and grounds for artistic and personal research.
Tamalpa Life/Art Practice®
While I have only had one weekend immersion in this work, which was originally developed by Anna Halprin, I came away from that weekend totally altered. From the Tamalpa website: “The Tamalpa Life/Art Process® is an integrated approach that explores the wisdom of the body as expressed through movement, dance, and imagination. We use artistic processes and media to explore and deepen our relationship to psychological life, to social issues, and to creativity itself.” The main element of this work that I use religiously is what I call “archiving”. It is the practice of using art materials such as newsprint, pastels, markers etc, as an additional expressive form during studio explorations. Since beginning to use this as an artist 5 years ago, it has enabled a way to truly track where I have been, and enable a recognition of the self that I could not do otherwise. I now always have art materials available in my one-on-one sessions and workshops. We process and think in many ways that often doesn’t include words in that crucial time of discovery. This is a way to take what feels huge and ephemeral, as movement, emotion and even story can be, and make it tangible, where you can see it and take it with you.
Roy hart voice Technique
This work as a lot of history. Alfred Wolfsohn was a soldier in WWI who was injured during battle, and haunted by the sounds of men dying in the field. He began to heal himself through exploration of the voice, which led to 10 years of research and development. Roy Hart was a an actor, who studied with Wofsohn, and went on with this work to develop a company and technique which has a home base in a Château in South of France. I worked with two members of the original Roy Hart Theatre during my MFA studies at Naropa. Since then, working with the voice in inseparable from working with the body, and the challenges and obstacles that arise in the studio. Here is a great quote from the Roy Hart Theatre website for a deeper understanding of the origins of Wolfsohn’s work:
“And so he began his own vocal research into what he called ‘the human voice’: a voice which would be able to express a vast range of notes and textures, which would surpass the usual constructs of the male or female range, and convey all human emotions. He set himself up as a singing teacher and got good results, especially with several classical singers who had lost their voice. As he worked with these students, he quickly realized that their vocal problems were always linked to some psychological trauma, and that the way he worked with them improved both their vocal performance and psychological well-being. He became passionate about psychology and philosophy and saw many parallels between his experimental teaching and the writings of Carl Jung.”