What is Embodiment?
Embodiment is another way of describing the integration of parts – mind, body, feelings and connection with external circumstances. Movement is a medium that gives form to and can monitor changes in, what is occurring from moment to moment. The body is the container, bounded by the skin and responsive to internal and external stimuli in search for balance and integration (Katya Bloom, 2006). Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen defines Embodiment as an integrated relationship between oneself and the world, between the sensations from inside and the perceptions from outside. Cohen defines five fundamental actions she feels are basic building blocks in the development of movement and thus underlying principles for embodiment; Yielding, Pushing, Reaching, Grasping and Pulling (Linda Hartley 1994, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, 1993). These fundamental physical actions are important in the development to become an embodied performer.
Educating through Somatic Learning
In Greek the word ‘Soma’ means ‘Body’. If we talk about somatic learning we mean the direct bodily learning from our own proprioceptive experience and environmental perspective. As facilitators, we aim to provide more awareness of what is happening in these Inner/Outer processes. We can train our bodies in re-connecting to a fundamental experience of wholeness. Laban Bartenieff Movement System focuses on the physical and spatial body level awareness and offers a holistic approach that emphasizes a willingness to listen to one’s inner feelings influencing their movement respond; therefore a full bodily knowing (Peggy Hackney, 2002).
Performing and Body Awareness
A performing artist can only function and express in a complete way when the body is available as a whole. It is necessary to confirm what is fundamental in movement and to re-pattern less efficient movement patterns in connection to the body and the environment. The artists need to experience how the whole body can support them while being on stage. It is helpful to get in touch with their breathing patterns and include the lower body in stabilizing the upper bodies. A movement training that emphasizes on wholeness will release inefficient neuromuscular patterning that inhibits the sensation of the body’s true kinesiological pathways to integrated, spontaneous and expressive movements.
Part 2 of this article is following soon…
Bloom, K. (2006). The Embodied Self: Movement and Psychoanalysis. London: Carnac.
Hackney, P. (2002). Making Connections: Body Integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals. New York: Routledge.
Studd, K. and Cox, L. (2013). Everybody is a Body. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing.
Bainbridge Cohen, B. (1993). Sensing, Feeling and Action: The Experiential Anatomy of Body-Mind Centering. Northampton: Contact Editions.
Hartley, L. (1994). Wisdom of the Moving Body: An introduction to Body-Mind Centering. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.