Somatic Engagement: pedagogy / practice / performance as research

“L’engagement somatique par la pédagogie, la pratique, et la performance en tant que recherche”/ “Somatic Engagement: pedagogy / practice / performance as research”
Organizers: Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, Christine Bellerose, and Jen Cressey
Contact e-mail: Jen Cressey ‎(‎‎), Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer ‎(, and Christine Bellerose (‎
This seminar is bilingual: English / French

Call for proposals
Deadline: 31 January, 2019

What role will somatics be playing in the 21st century Canada? Somatics is a tree which has grown many branches since Thomas Hanna (1980/1993; 1988/2004) introduced it. Today, thanks to the contribution from multi-disciplinary scholars and educators (Sondra Fraleigh 2009, 2014, 2018; Bonnie Cohen Bainbridge 1994/2012; Glenna Batson 2014; Martha Eddy 2016; Amanda Williamson 2014; Kimerer LaMothe 2012, 2015), the influence of Indigenous, Eastern and Western systems of knowledge, feminist studies, community engagement, and eco-performance, somatics is pollinating. We understand somatics to go beyond the study of the human embodiment, and into the lesser traveled “five pathways undertaken by somatic practitioners: social, ecological, spiritual, health and well-being and education” (Fortin 2017).

Somatic Engagement is a seminar intended for those interested in investigating somatics as a field of pedagogy / practice / performance as research. The Somatic Engagement seminar aims to generate a forum of discussion addressing somatics beyond body-centric practices of wellness, and towards imagining somatics in a plural engagement of transdisciplinary academic and professional fields, furthermore, encompassing an ecology of human, non-human, spiritual, and elemental worlds.

Somatic Engagement is a seminar intended for those interested in investigating somatics as a field of pedagogy / practice / performance as research.Areas of interest include but are not limited to: somatics as pedagogy, teaching somatics as research, somatic research methodologies and methods; somatic art performance as research, somatic activism; applied somatics; the contemplative performer; culturally specific somatic practices;  with a focus on somatic engagement with social and environmental justice, politics, gender, diverse abilities, and ecology.  The proposal should take into consideration somatic studies / practices / performances / research within the academe, and/or within the professional sectors of the arts, in Canada, and/or outside of Canada.

Participants are invited to submit proposals by January 31,2019, our invitation to participate  will follow by February 15. Selected participants will submit their papers (1200-1500 words) no later than April 22, 2019. Depending on the number of participants, we will divide the group during the seminar, into smaller interest groups, moderated by Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, Christine Bellerose, and Jen Cressey.  Participants have one full month to engage with each other through critical responses until our meeting at the conference. We welcome contribution from the academic and professional arts sectors.

Proposal Requirements

  • Please provide an informal proposal (250 words, and with link to URL in case of images) and a short bio (200 words) by January 31, 2019.
  • Discuss “What role will somatics be playing in the 21st century Canada?” outlining keys you would like to bounce around within the seminar.
  • Include: focused keywords, preferred theory(ies) / scholars and/ or practice(s)/ artists/ educators
  • What is your rationale for somatics as a contribution to research, and/ or a brief description of your artistic creative process.
  • Formal invitation to participate by February 15, including instructions for online upload of paper

Type: Seminar- (2 hours onsite) (online commitment: April-May 2019)

Moderators: Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer (ConcordiaU), Christine Bellerose (YorkU), and Jen Cressey (ConcordiaU).

Works Cited:

  • Bainbridge Cohen, Bonnie, with Cohen, Lisa Nelson, and Nancy Stark Smith. Sensing, Feeling, and Action: The Experiential Anatomy of Body-Mind Centering. Northampton, MA: Contact Collaborations, 2012 [1994]
  • Batson, Glenna, and Margaret Wilson. Body and Mind in Motion: Dance and Neuroscience in Conversation. Chicago: Intellect Books, 2014.
  • Eddy, Martha. Mindful Movement: The Evolution of the Somatic Arts and Conscious Action. Chicago: Intellect, Ltd, 2016.
  • Fortin, Sylvie. “Looking for Blind Spots in Somatics’ Evolving Pathways.” Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, 9.2, 2017, pp. 145-157.
  • Sondra Fraleigh. Land to Water Yoga: Shin Somatics Moving Way. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2009.
  • Fraleigh, Sondra, et al. Back to the Dance Itself: Phenomenologies of Dance and Performance, Champaign, IL: U of Illinois P, 2018
  • _____. Moving Consciously: Somatic Transformations through Dance, Yoga, and Touch. Champaign, IL: U of Illinois P, 2014.
  • Hanna, Thomas. The Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 1993 [1980].
  • _____. Somatics: Reawakening The Mind’s Control Of Movement, Flexibility, and Health. Lebanon, IN: Da Capo Press, 2004 [1988].
  • LaMothe, Kimerer L. What a Body Knows: Finding Wisdom in Desire. John Hunt Publishing, 2012.
  • _____. Why We Dance. New York: Columbia UP, 2015.
  • Williamson, Amanda, Glenda Batson, Sarah Whatley, and Rebecca Webber eds. Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives. Chicago: Intellect, 2014.



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