9 July 2024 • ArtsFaculty Dance Professors Present at International Conference

Sessions on Somatic Jazz Pedagogy and Somatic Modalities in Dialogue offered at DSSE conference.

HWS faculty members Michelle Iklé and Cynthia Williams recently presented at the Dance Science and Somatics Educators (DSSE) conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The conference featured presenters from across the United States, Canada, Italy and Russia, who offered research papers, interactive workshops and experiential movement sessions.

Associate Professor of Dance and Movement Studies Michelle Iklé presented "Somatic Jazz Pedagogy," a movement session that offered participants the opportunity to explore the ways she is shifting the traditional whitewashing of concert jazz dance forms as they have historically been taught into a pedagogy that acknowledges the Black dance influences of jazz and their African roots. Ikle's pedagogical approach combines multiple rooted jazz concepts such as swing, polycentrism, polyrhythms, ephebism and improvisation with an integrative somatic approach that supports three-dimensional movement, kinetic chains and weight sensing.

Professor of Dance and Movement Studies Cynthia Williams presented "Somatic Modalities in Dialogue," an experiential movement session that incorporated concepts and movement from three somatic modalities: Body-Mind Centering® Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, and Gaga Movement Language. Williams guided participants through a series of movement improvisations that focused on awareness of breath and sensation, moving from the skeletal, muscular and fluid systems, and the experience of concepts across the three modalities that intersect through Time, Weight, Space, Effort and Flow.

Presenters at the DSSE conference shared their current research and pedagogical approaches to somatically focused movement education from a variety of perspectives, including Alexander Technique®, Applied Neuroscience, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, Myotome Movement Patterns, Pilates, Polyvagal Theory, Shin Somatics and Yoga. The conference offered multiple opportunities to discuss somatic movement education with a variety of presenters and share research with others.

In July, Iklé and Williams will again present their research at the joint National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) conference in New York.

In the photo above, Associate Professor of Dance and Movement Studies Michelle Iklé presents at the Dance Science and Somatics Educators conference.