In the practice of the Discipline of Authentic Movement

(as taught by Janet Adler, one of my teachers), as a mover I am inviting and allowing all of my life experience to be welcomed, felt, seen, digested, integrated and expressed through the body-mind. I know of no other movement therapy practice more beautiful, nourishing, and supportive for my growth as a human being. I know of no other resource more useful to the practice of Dance Therapy.

From a longing to be completely still to dancing dynamically through all levels of space, as a mover with my eyes closed I choose which sensory impulse to follow and how this will sequence through my body and voice, allowing for a blend of ‘moving’ consciously and also ‘being moved’ pre-consciously at times. I am taking risks as I welcome the unknown, the shadow (joy or pain) to emerge, and during which process I can receive the healing wisdom of my body-mind in deeper connection.

All of this takes place in partnership with a witness, a person who sits or stands observing me in my “mover” process, holding an intention of pure compassion, support and welcoming whatever may arise and trusting that the mover’s intelligence is unfolding. We have all experienced trauma in our lives (big or small) so at times as movers we may find ourselves in an image, memory, sensation or other phenomena that connects back to a traumatic experience and this can be edgy, frightening, new, and possibly immobilizing or isolating. The mover can open eyes at any time and reconnect with the witness’ eyes, for a short or long duration of time, ending the movement experience or choosing to continue with eyes open or closed. Always, there is choice, there is freedom and most of all, connection.

Likewise, if the witness does not feel safe enough or connected to the mover, or trusting of the process, she/he/they can choose to come closer to the mover, to connect verbally with the mover, check in and make sure the mover is feeling ok enough to continue their process. A mover can also open eyes for even short durations to connect with the eye contact of the witness, which can support that felt sense of connection and safety being re-established. These moments are tender, knowing my witness is present, available and committed to being with me moment by moment in my unfolding process. Relational safety and support for when we encounter intrinsic memories is at the heart of trauma healing and authentic movement.

My witness is able to support my physical and emotional safety,

self-understanding, and integration of my experience. My witness is crucial to my process of growth and self-knowledge as we talk about the movement afterwards, piecing together the layers of physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual experience during my ‘dance’ as it unfolded and being able to possibly, my choice, then ask to hear about the witness’ experience while witnessing that dance. This is gold. There is always an opening here that takes me deeper into my own self-understanding. I always leave this practice feeling nourished, connected, healed just a bit more than yesterday.

Much much more to say about Authentic Movement, but please have a listen to Tannis Hugill, Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and longtime senior teacher of Authentic Movement, as she describes the process and invitation to join us for Authentic Movement: Foundations of Clinical Practice Sept 23-26 in Vancouver BC, a 30hour course which is open to any students who have taken Introduction to DMT or have equivalent experience, or for professional development for those already studied in DMT or Authentic Movement.

By Hana Kamea Kemble,  BC-DMT, RCC, CLMA, RYT

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