17 June 2015
UCLan hosts only UK public workshop in specialist dance area
Two international leading experts in the field of somatic dance have visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to share their knowledge with students and the wider community.
Andrea Olsen, who is a Professor of Dance at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, and somatic movement therapist Caryn McHose who has taught perception-based movement for over 45 years, worked with UCLan students, yoga practitioners, dance teachers and others interested in movement studies on their only UK public workshop.
The idea of somatic approach to movement is for participants to be more aware of their body as they breathe, shifting the sense of gravity and weight and generally being more aware of how the body reacts with its environment. It is regularly used in relaxation for stress relief and is popular in areas such as education, therapy, the arts and social work.
“It is exciting to work with both mature and young somatic movement practitioners to share knowledge and explore how orientation and perception underlie every movement we make."
Andrea commented: “It is exciting to work with both mature and young somatic movement practitioners to share knowledge and explore how orientation and perception underlie every movement we make. We’re enjoying working with such engaged and self-aware participants.”
Rosey Cole, a yoga teacher who attended the workshop, said: “Speaking to Andrea and Caryn was inspiring and has sparked ideas for ways in which I can develop my own work and teaching.”
UCLan took the lead in developing a new postgraduate course area in 2008 when it brought together somatic movement education and community dance studies to establish the MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing course that attracts participants from around the world. The course is one of only 19 programmes worldwide to have been approved by the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA).
“To attract two of the world’s leading figures in somatic dance to Preston and being able to open up the workshop to the wider public is an important way to develop this work nationally."
Penny Collinson, course leader for the UCLan MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing course, organised the workshop as part of the UCLan Distinguished Visitor Lecturer Series. She said: “To attract two of the world’s leading figures in somatic dance to Preston and being able to open up the workshop to the wider public is an important way to develop this work nationally, and address how it might apply in different settings and contexts, such as, health, social care and education.
“People have travelled from all over the country to meet Andrea and Caryn and I am particularly excited that our students have also been able to work with them on a more intimate basis to explore somatic movement further. I hope this is the start of an on-going collaboration.”