Dance and Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body MA

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body MA

School of Journalism, Media and Performance


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Preston Campus: Part-time, two years, block teaching of 4-5 days, over 7 times per year.

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

This is a unique, visionary and pioneering programme offering professional training in Dance and Somatic Movement Education. On the cutting edge of contemporary international practice, exploring the creative skills required to use movement with sensitivity, imagination and individuality, the course focuses on community facilitation. It offers the opportunity to study individual and group improvisation, kinaesthetic awareness and applied somatics philosophy to dance and movement studies. All sessions are taught in the spirit of self-discovery, non-judgement and reflection. The course develops somatic awareness with a focus on spontaneity, intuition and connection to others.

The MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body course is taught on campus in Preston. Each section of the MA course covers the same course module content, and each course has unique dates, fee structure, and application process. 

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Entry Requirements

The Dance and Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body programme is suited to mature graduates who are interested in the health, communal, and transformative aspects of dance. We are looking for students from various disciplinary backgrounds such as: Dance Studies, Arts, Health, Education and Community. All students applying for a place on this course based at the Preston campus will need to undergo a DBS check.

International applicants are required to have achieved an IELTS of 6.5 or above.

Here at UCLan, our aim is to encourage you to develop your potential and we offer a flexible approach to admissions, which reflects our commitment to all those who would benefit from our courses.

Programme at a Glance

Year 1

  • Presence and reflection
  • Movement, connection and support
  • Movement, ground and bones
  • Movement and fluidity
  • Research 1: Contexts and histories

Year 2

  • Embodied spirituality and the sacred dimensions of practice
  • Somatic movement education and co-creation with clients
  • Research 2: Methods and design

Further Information

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body centres on the lived-felt-body through explorations in the imaginal, sensuous, emotional, spiritual, and philosophical aspects of the body. This course sees somatic movement as a practical life tool through which to promote wellbeing, develop a more holistic sense of self, and a capacity to be in relationship with others and our environment. Sessions include group, dyadic, and personal explorations. Academically and experientially the course introduces students to the fundamentals of somatic practices and phenomenology.

Year one focuses on:

  • Individual exploration into body-self, cultivating an understanding of embodiment and well-being. This involves developing awareness of somatic experience - kinaesthetic, sensory, feeling, imaginative explorations
  • Developing an expressive language through movement, drawing, gesture, metaphor and story, as reflection
  • Developing embodied and imaginative ways of being in relationship (touch, language, moving together)
  • Collaboration and facilitation of group improvisatory and somatic processes
  • From the outset our practical work is supported by theoretical inquiry. This includes historical and contextual background to somatic movement practice and existential phenomenological frameworks

Year Two focuses on:

  • Expanding the skills and practices learned in Year 1 with a greater emphasis on client/one to one practice, as well as an ongoing development in group facilitation
  • Research methodologies, and synthesizing and integrating knowledge through cross curricular learning and personal research, thereby broadening personal practice.

"The MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing offers and provides an unparalleled support for combined personal and professional growth. My work as a performer and an independent arts practitioner has developed alongside my understanding of myself in the world. I walk away with a firm, experiential understanding of the correlation between the two. Now, I am able to find my own resources to approach my life and work in supportive, new and brave ways."


Rachel Drazek, UK Graduate



The course covers the following within and across modular study: 

  • Proprioceptive and interoceptive sensitivity and the imagination
  • Non-judgemental methods of feedback and facilitation
  • The quality of language and quality of presence
  • Dialogical processes in relation to feeling, sensation, imagination, and functional movement description
  • Explorations into the inner landscape of the body through interoceptive sensory awareness and meditative movement practice
  • Skills of interoceptive and extroceptive listening supporting sensory homeostasis
  • The wider contextual academic paradigm in relation to current international practice
  • The sacred aspects of somatic movement

The field is based on the belief that we have the capacity and personal agency to direct and/or re-direct our lives through gentle self-reflexive processes; becoming active agents in our experience, sensually alive, and co-actively engaged with our world. The following are key areas covered within and across modular study:

  • Experiential anatomy
  • Moment-by-moment depth-connection to the body through movement and anatomical awareness
  • Deep relaxation fostered through an awareness of the nervous system and meditative movement modalities
  • Practices of self-care
  • Personal and social change fostered through "models of dance and human companionship"
  • Moving within the sensory-imaginal
  • Improvisations sourced through anatomical investigations
  • Poetic, symbolic, metaphoric and various art modalities, which deepen reflection, supporting people in re-visioning their lives with more direction and clarity
  • Inter-age and inclusive models of dance-health
  • The study of sacred dance, the soma and contemporary spirituality in movement
  • Somatic research methods

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing

Art work

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing

"My time on the MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing programme at UCLan was a very fruitful and supported experience in which I was encouraged to follow my own lines of enquiry within the given contexts of the programme modules. The overall journey felt considered and each module built on the last, allowing for my learning to grow and to become more autonomous as a student. The staff on the MA Dance and Somatic Well-being programme take a very person-centred approach to education which means learners can thrive in this supportive and innovative environment."


Laura Bradshaw, UK Graduate



Monthly Somatic Movement Classes

These FREE monthly somatic movement classes are for students or experiences practitioners of dance and somatic movement practice, not beginners. They will be held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month and will be led by various staff, local practitioners and graduates from UCLan's MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing course, and Penny Collinson will be leading the first class on September 12th. For more information, please email

Dates & Times

  • 12 Sept, 10th Oct, 14th Nov, 12th Dec, 9th Jan, 13th Feb
  • 2.30 - 4.30pm at ME020 (Media Factory)

Past Sold Out Events

3 Day Somatic Movement Workshop - Download programme (.pdf, 511KB)

Core Academic Team

Penny Collinson, MA, IBMT Dip, RSME

Penny is course leader on the UK programme, and contributes to the teaching and assessing of many of the modules. Over 20 years of moving, as a facilitator and performer, within improvisation, Authentic Movement and Release-based techniques, has brought the body as central to all experience and supported her fundamental interest in sensing, moving and witnessing as tools for navigating self in the world. Penny’s particular area of interest and practice is embodied presence, and how through our engagement in deep bodily listening, we are awakened, clients and facilitators alike, to the lived felt experience of our sensory imagination. Penny is a senior lecturer and has been teaching at UCLan for 15 years. She has a Diploma from the Institute for Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy, and is a Registered Somatic Movement Educator with ISMETA. She runs a private practice from her home, facilitating somatic practice work which includes methods of awakening to our bodily nature, Integrative Bodywork & Movement Therapy and Authentic Movement.


Mary Abrams, MA, RSME

Mary teaches on the course in the UK. She brings passion, skill, and an inquisitive spirit to her nearly 30 years of teaching. Mary offers dynamic and detailed attention to breath, sensation, emotion, and creative personal and social development. Mary is owner and program director of Moving Body Resources, and has been an Authorized Continuum Teacher since 1999. She has a thriving private practice and teaches workshops across the USA. From 2002-2011, Mary served on the board of directors of International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA), serving as president from 2005-2009. Her background includes 30 years of dance training and performance, study with Emilie Conrad (found of Continuum), Susan Harper, and Gary David, Ph.D. incorporating body awareness and movement with the fields of Epistemics and affect script theory. She holds a BA in Dance Education with Departmental Distinction from St. Olaf College, and a master’s degree with Consciousness Studies concentration (consciousness as embodied movement) from Goddard College.

Email: or

Tim Lamford, ISMETA RSME 

Tim is a Lecturer at UCLan on MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing.
He is a dancer, choreographer and teacher with forty years experience in movement arts, specialising in the teaching of dance skills, creativity and somatic awareness. He trained at the London Contemporary Dance School, studying contemporary techniques with Jane Dudley, William Louther, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Noemi Lapzeson, Robert Cohan (all Graham Company); Danny Lewis (Limon Company); Albert Reid (Cunningham Company); contact improvisation with Steve Paxton; release work with Mary Faulkerson; choreography with Nina Fonaroff (Graham company); Pilates with Alan Herdman, and Tai chi Chuan with Gerda Geddes. In the 1970s performed with X6 dance collective; Second Stride and Mantis.

Career highlights include: Artistic Director of the pioneering dance in the community company, Spiral Dance, Liverpool; Professor Visitante at the Institut del Teatre Barcelona; introducing contemporary dance to the Polish conservatoire system; lecture tour for the Australia Council on the theme of the creative role of a dance artist in education; and directing the graduate performance course at London Contemporary Dance School. He has also been Tai chi coach at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Tim has been an External Examiner for the universities of Leeds and Kent at Canterbury; an External Adviser to Royal Academy of Dancing; member of regional and national arts panels; member advisory panel setting industry standards for “Dance”, and “Creativity in the Arts” (GNVQ); and conducted research as an Academic Adviser for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

After developing and teaching a programme exploring traditional and contemporary body mind practices (Body/Mind/Movement) at Middlesex University, he now teaches body awareness for the International Opera course at the Royal College of Music.

Research interests include somatic perspectives on the practice of Tai chi Chuan; symbology of long form yang style Tai chi Chuan; Jungian and Post-Jungian perspectives on body mind unity.


Kerstin Wellhӧfer, BA (Hons), IIHHT, DIP IBMT, RSME/T ISMETA

Kerstin is a lecturer in somatic movement practice, on both MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing, and BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching. She is part of UCLan Dance and Somatic Practices Research Group. Kerstin has many years of facilitating experiential work in the disciplines of movement and performance, such as: site specific performances, supporting artist practice, as well as guest lecturer in Higher Education. She has worked as an assistant on training programmes and through delivering a substantial body of community based work within early-years and the health sector.

Her passion, and ongoing enquiry includes embodied explorations into motility: the evolutionary story underpinning movement organisation, and how we can call on this, our imagination and embodied anatomy to support our expression, as well as relationship to self, and the wider living world.

Kerstin also runs private sessions for individuals and groups interested in somatic movement and embodied imagination; see

Further to this, she is co-director of, a community interest company, which offers support to artists and practitioners by way of accommodation and movement space, both indoors, and out on a woodland nature reserve.


Dance and Somatic Wellbeing

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: £800 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

DBS Checks

This course will involve you working with vulnerable groups of individuals, including children. In order to ensure that the University offers places on their programmes to suitable candidates you will all be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB). We will be able to guide you through this process once you have been offered a conditional place of study at the University of Central Lancashire.

It is important to note that should your Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prove to be unsatisfactory for the purpose of the course you have applied to, your offer of a place for that course may be withdrawn. If you have already enrolled on a course and your DBS check subsequently discloses a criminal conviction, you may be required to withdraw from the course even if you have already started. If you are aware that your DBS check will disclose a previous conviction, please contact the course leader for advice as not all convictions may preclude you from continuing with the course.

Professional Accreditation

MA Dance & Somatic Well-being is an Approved Somatic Movement Training Programme of the International Somatic Movement Education Therapy Association (ISMETA).

The MA course fulfils all the educational requirements needed to become a professional member of ISMETA. To complete the professional practice requirements students need at least 150 extra hours of practice, post graduation.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The programme is predominantly delivered through studio work, lectures, seminars, and tutorials. Given this is a body-based vocational course, most classes take place in the studio where creative ideas are explored through movement and other art forms. We provide a lively learning environment and encourage you to participate actively in all aspects of the course delivery.

Methods of assessment include workshop facilitation, essays and other written assignments (Critique of workshops and self-evaluation, Reflective Journal, Chapter review), class presentations and a research project.


MA Dance students

Saturday 7th March 2020 | Saturday 13th June 2020

Please register your attendance with Penny Collinson (Course Leader)

Time: 10.30-15.30
Venue: Room ME020 (Ground floor Dance Studio)
Media Factory (ME),
ME020 Dance Studio,
Cold Bath St,

Tel: 01772 89 5349


On completion of the course it is envisaged that students will go on to work as independent artists-scholars who are able to work within a number of different body / movement and arts-based contexts. This may be through enhancing their current jobs with the additional embodiment and inter-relational skills developed throughout the programme. It may also be as freelance Somatic Movement practitioner/Educator once additional professional hours have been gained (please visit the ISMETA website for guidelines towards this).

There is also the opportunity to pursue further study up to and including PhD.

Dance and Somatic Wellbeing

I have gained a huge amount of knowledge in a short space of time not only about the field but about myself as a practitioner and a human being. This course has an excellent balance between theoretical and practical elements. With the flexibility to choose for oneself how that balance should be applied.

Nicola Herd, UK student


Final year undergraduate and postgraduate Performance students have the opportunity to get involved in our annual cJAM employability event.  cJAM shakes-up the traditional career fair format and gives UCLan students face-to-face time with up to 30 successful industry professionals all of whom have come to the event with the offer of valuable work placement opportunities.  The cJAM event format consists of four main components:

  • Students hear from keynote industry speakers who share their personal career journey and how they got to where they are now.
  • The industry Q&A session allows students to ask questions to gain further advice and insight.
  • Informal networking opportunities during the breaks and lunch.
  • The key element of cJAM is the giant speed meeting session.  The students have eight minutes one-to-one time to meet with selected industry guests to try and win a placement. Students can choose to talk about an idea, their reasons for wanting a placement with that particular company or to showcase their enthusiasm, skills and talent.  Immediately following the speed meeting session, placements are decided on and the event closes with all the winning students being presented with their placement awards.