Bridging Somatics, Performing Arts, and Practices for Social Change

Somatics In Action

Presented by Fogbeast and Carol Swann

Practice and Participatory Conversation facilitated by Carol Swann

Sunday – September 20
Carol Swann (Alexander Technique) and
Eleanor Criswell Hanna (HANNA SOMATICS)
2:00 – 5:00 pm @Western Sky Studio, 2525 8th St. Berkeley, CA

Sunday – October 25
Carol Swann (Alexander Technique) and Kesha Fikes (DANIS BOIS METHOD)
2:00 – 5:00 pm @Finnish Hall. 1970 Chestnut St. Berkeley, CA

Sunday – November 22
Carol Swann (Alexander Techniquie) and Peggy Hackney (LABAN/BARTENIEFF)
2:00 – 5:00 pm @Finnish Hall. 1970 Chestnut St. Berkeley, CA

Sliding scale $45-$60

To register, email

In this series, we will examine “Movement Re-patterning” somatics by teaching specific exercises through the lenses of various somatic systems such as: Body Mind Centering, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Embodied Anatomy, Developmental Movement and others. The two teachers will each teach an exercise in the system from which they are presenting.
After the practice sessions, Carol Swann will facilitate a “participatory” conversation on somatics. The teachers will lead off with a very short presentation and participants will then be invited to share their perspectives, experiences and curiosities on somatics. We intend these dialogues to encourage co-operative learning and an exchange of information that elicits collective wisdom and serves community networking.
Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a notebook for notes if you would like. Everyone welcome.

CAROL SWANN is a teacher, private practitioner, facilitator, performer and activist. Her work is focused on contributing toward a more socially just and connected world. She has been teaching Voice, Somatics, Alexander Technique, Authentic Movement, Contact and Improvisation for over 35 years in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Israel and Russia. She is Co-founder/Co-Director of “Moving On Center, School Of Participatory Arts and Somatic Research” (1994-2015). She has a private practice in Somatic Psychology (Hakomi/Process Work), is a registered Somatic Movement Therapist/Educator RSMT/RSME,  Alexander Technique (NASTAT), Voice and is a Group Process/Conflict facilitator. Her work is informed by her extensive studies in Body-Mind Centering, Process Work, Roy Hart Theatre, Laban/Bartenieff, Release Technique, Action Theater, Theater of the Oppressed, Social Somatics, nature and everything else in her awareness.

ELEANOR CHRISWELL HANNA, Ed.D., co-founder with Thomas Hanna of contemporary “Somatics”,  originator of Equine Hanna Somatics, is a professor of psychology and former chair of the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University. She is the founding director of the Humanistic Psychology Institute (now Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center), editor of Somatics Magazine, and director of the Novato institute for Somatic Research and Training. Her books include Biofeedback and Somatics: Towards Personal Evolution and How Yoga Works: An Introduction to Somatic Yoga. She conducts Equine Hanna Somatics workshops, clinics and private sessions for riders and horse handlers. She may be reached at

KESHA FIKES (Ph.D., CMT) is an anthropologist who dedicates herself to the study of somatic education.  She is in private practice in the South Bay where she is the founder of the Center for Sensorial Bodywork & Movement Therapy.  Fikes is a certified therapist of Somatic-Psychoeducation (now Perceptual Education) from the Danis Bois Method – a gentle form of manual osteopathy that uses embodiment and physical rehabilitation for self-inquiry.   In addition, her practice is heavily influenced by Kathy Kain’s Somatic Practice – a touch therapy that regulates neurochemistry and complex autoimmune symptoms linked to trauma.  Fikes’ somatic approach facilitates awareness of physiological and behavioral patterns that accompany pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and other somatic expressions.  As a practitioner she is interested in forms of touch that bridge ‘sensing into one’s potentiality’ (in an existential sense) and ‘sensing into safety’.  She partners with psychotherapists to deliver the best care possible for her diverse clientele.  Fikes was a professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago before becoming a somatic practitioner.

PEGGY HACKNEY (M.F.A. C.M.A.)is internationally recognized for her work in Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and Bartenieff Fundamentals. She helped found the Intensive LMA Certification Programs in NYC, Seattle, Salt Lake, and Berlin. Peggy holds a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University and an M.F.A. in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. She performed in New York City for 10 years before joining the Bill Evans Dance Co. and touring the USA. She was on the Faculty of the University of Washington for 11 years and has taught throughout the United States as well as in Europe. She helped to found Seattle’s performance space for emerging artists entitled, “On The Boards.” Currently she is Director of and teaches in the Integrated Movement Studies Bay Area Weekend Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Program, and teaches in the University of Utah Program. She is also the Assistant Director of Moving On Center, a Somatics and Participatory Arts training program.


ABOUT SOMATICS (an evolving description from Carol Swann)


Somatics is the practice of paying attention to or tracking all the sensations, signals, (gathering information) within the body or that come from the outside and have an impact on the body/mind and making choices about what to do with this awareness. All somatics are concerned with integrating the whole person, the Body, Mind and Spirit.
There are many contemporary Somatic “Systems” that have been developed in the last century with which to study one’s body/mind awareness and learn to “re-pattern” habits of being that exist in the physical, psychological/emotional and social realms of our humanness. These systems include four approaches to learning somatics: Bodywork, Movement Repatterning, Body Psychotherapy and Social Somatics. Some of these systems are, the Alexander Technique, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Body-Mind Centering, Hakomi Method, Process Work, Ideokinesis, Generative Somatics, Somatic Experiencing and many more. Somatics is not a new field, only to western civilization. It has its roots in ancient cultures such as Asia, African, Native American and the Middle-east. Thomas Hanna, a neurological practitioner, in 1976 put the word “Somatics” in writing. Generally, somatics is educational, non-hierarchical and learning takes place in a new paradigm that is horizontal as opposed to vertical where the authority is placed solely on the teacher or practitioners knowledge. As practitioners, we believe the power to change exists with the students or clients own wisdom and inner knowing. As teachers and therapists we see ourselves as facilitators to students and clients finding their own truth. Our aim is to “empower” the individual. We believe there is an inherent wisdom or intelligence of the body. We believe the body-mind can remember (its original organization) as well as re-pattern because we are “living somas” and we have the ability to constantly re-create ourselves.
Social Somatics is a newer (yet inherent) system to be named. It operates on the understanding that the individual “soma” is not separate from its experience in the social context that shapes it. The exploration of Social Somatics is the relationship between our inner embodied experiences and the social systems that shape our lives. Unlike conventional somatics, it consciously activates awareness of our social bodies to transform internalized, relational, structural and cultural conditions that oppressed us and impede wellness. Somatics is about relationship. All parts equal the whole and the whole equals all parts.

The Alexander Technique is at once a gentle and rigorous self study of how we come to use our inherent body intelligence. It is a process of psycho-physical re-education. Our animal (“soma”) bodies were beautifully designed for movement and balance but most often we un-consciously use our bodies in a way that is habitual and counterproductive. This technique offers a practice that brings awareness to tensions and in-efficient use of the body/mind into new pathways of thinking and movement choices.  We have the conscious ability to re-organize and allow for more ease and comfort in everything we do whether it is sitting in a chair, brushing our teeth, dancing, speaking, singing, walking, running or simply standing. The Alexander Technique teaches us the primary principles of how we live from moment to moment in our bodies.

Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is a comprehensive framework for describing, analyzing, understanding, notating, and creating with movement. It provides a complete vocabulary for identifying the ingredients of movement expression, forging links between a conceptual framework of movement and the sensations and observations of movement itself. LMA practitioners become savvy connoisseurs of movement, and they include choreographers, dancers, healers, therapists, actors, coaches, computer animators, ergonomists – anyone invested in deeply understanding how the human body moves!

The scope of Laban Movement Analysis isn’t limited to movement’s functional aspects. It explicitly and richly addresses the journey from function to expression and back again, providing high-resolution awareness of movement’s objective and subjective qualities, compositional tools, body re-patterning with a hands-on component, and an expressive notation system for quickly and easily jotting down movement.

By recognizing their own unique movement signatures, practitioners can both claim their own patterns for the superpowers that they are, and also recognize precisely where new possibilities for growth lie on the map of all possible movement.

HANNA SOMATIC EDUCATION (also known as Hanna Somatics founded by Thomas Hanna and Eleanor Chriswell Hanna) is a rapidly effective form of neuromuscular (mind-body training) movement re-education that goes directly to the root cause of most chronic muscular pain: the brain and the way in which it senses and organizes the muscles and movement. By learning to regain both awareness, sensation, and motor control of muscles – an educational process that can only be achieved through movement – the brain can remember how to relax and move the muscles properly. This process of sensory motor training creates improved muscle function and enhanced sensory awareness.

Hanna Somatic Education is a safe, gentle and common sense approach to reverse chronic pain. It is the only method of pain relief and sensory motor training that targets the condition of SENSORY MOTOR AMNESIA (SMA).

Sensory Motor Amnesia is the condition of chronically-tight muscles that have learned to stay contracted due to repeated and reflexive response to stress such as accidents, injuries, surgeries, repetitive tasks, and on-going emotional stress. The resulting patterns of muscular contraction that develop result in such common conditions as chronic back pain, neck, shoulder and hip pain, limited mobility, joint pain, poor posture, shallow breathing, and uneven leg length. Hanna Somatic Education® particularly helps relieve pain and disability associated with common health complaints such as: headaches, stiff or painful joints and muscles, fatigue, poor posture, breathing problems, impaired movement, accident trauma and whiplash effects, back pain, repetitive use/stress injuries.

DANIS BOIS METHOD is a somatic tuning approach that evolved from Dr. Danis Bois’ osteopathy and physiotherapy practices in France. It is a perception enhancement approach that draws upon sensory awareness of our matter to transform our relationships to pain, stress and tension. We primarily use 1 or more of 4 modalities to foster this awareness: 1) a gentle, non-manipulative manual therapy (fully clothed), called Fasciatherapy; 2) a somatic movement practice, called Sensorial Re‐education; 3) a meditation practice, called Sensorial Introspection; and 4) a verbal or expressive component that accompanies all of the above. We follow a slow, autonomous ‘inner movement’ – a vital life force that differs from other movements/impulses (i.e., primary respiratory mechanism/cranial rhythmic impulse) that permeates all tissue matter and every system in the body. This difference is marked by the way the ‘inner movement’ is drawn to, incarnates and transforms dense/resistant matter. Our aim is not only to rhythmically regulate this ‘inner movement’, but to guide the student through the process of perceiving this movement for themselves, with precision. Awareness of this movement is a profound perception awakening experience that can draw the student’s attention to physically and mentally injurious habits. As such, we do not treat bodies; rather, we facilitate a process where individuals move into deeper, more intimate relation with their bodies and hence themselves and others. The practitioner’s empathetic hands guide individuals through the perceptual experience of “appearing to” or “sensing” themselves. This occurs through heightened sensory awareness of the qualities and stories that make-up our dense and yet ever dynamic and communicative matter.