• slide
  • slide
  • slide

Education in dance and somatics

One-year course which introduces somatic movement and dance practices, and how to facilitate groups using a somatic approach. It also offers opportunities to explore how to integrate these practices into wider society. Our interest is to offer a somatic education to people engaged in diverse fields and to support them to integrate and make use of what they learn in their personal and working lives.

The education emphasises experiential learning, somatic methods, movement exploration and improvisation, creative process and art as a diverse cultural practice, self-knowledge and group process. Education is offered in the form of a mixture of regular classes, workshops and special projects.

The course is suitable for anyone interested in any of the following:

  • movement and dance, somatic methods and creative process
  • movement and dance as artistic practice
  • dance and somatics in arts, social welfare, health and education
  • gaining experience and skills in facilitating groups
  • art and dance therapy
  • community and participatory art

In selecting a group to study together for the year, we aim to bring together people with diverse backgrounds, skills, knowledge and different approaches to working.

Classes are taught in English. The education takes place at the Eastern Finland Sports Institute in Joensuu.

The Academic Year

The year is divided into two semesters. The education is full-time with weekly morning classes, workshops and projects. An important theme throughout the whole year is how to balance individual and group needs.

The studies consist of group and individual processes.

In group studies, attendance is mandatory since a shared skill set is being built among the group and common understanding of these skills is necessary for the group process to proceed.

In individual studies, there is more flexibility around attendence.

Group studies:

  • introductory workshops
  • project presentations
  • Moving Minds group improvisation project
  • Dancing Together contact improvisation workshop
  • Movement Study Project
  • some pedagogy classes
  • group process and group/small group tasks

Individual studies:

  • other than introductory Feldenkrais & Anatomy classes, Movement Development: Dancing Thinking classes, DanceMovement Therapy classes
  • some pedagogy classes
  • contact-improvisation morning classes
  • Developing Self-Knowledge Through Movement And Dance
  • authentic movement morning classes
  • Context & Connections, Discussing Embodiment and Movement in Society
  • Working Practice

Typical Study Week:

  • Mornings from Monday to Friday 08.30-9.00 warm up on your own followed by morning class from 9.00-11.45 morning class
  • Afternoons from Monday to Thursday 13-15.30, Friday afternoon individual studying

Weekly Classes:

  • Contact Improvisation (Tuesday mornings)
  • Developing Self-Knowledge Through Movement And Dance (Wednesday or Monday mornings)
  • Authentic Movement (Friday mornings)
  • Monday and Thursday mornings, when not used for workshops, are given over to single classes, for example, in dance, movement, bodywork

Workshops covering the following subjects:

  • Authentic Movement
  • Contact Improvisation
  • Movement exploration and analysis – Feldenkrais Method®, Trager Movement®, experiential anatomy and developmental movement
  • Movement and dance improvisation
  • Pedagogy
  • Dance And Movement Therapy

Projects cover the following subjects:

  • Introductory student presentations
  • Working practice – (In Spring, two weeks are spent working away from the school on a project that supports participants development in their chosen field)
  • Solo movement study
  • Leading classes for each other
  • Portfolio

Course information in more detail as a PDF


  • Elina Ikonen – leader of the education, pedagogy, self-knowledge, movement development, dance and movement therapy, group process, bodywork, Trager Movement® and authentic movement
  • Pia Lindy – movement exploration, improvisation and composition, artistic process, art, context and society
  • Malcolm Manning: Feldenkrais Method®, Contact Impro, Improvisation, Experiential Anatomy, Authentic Movement

Further information:

For further information please contact Elina Ikonen via email (see below). You might also consider taking one of our open courses or attending the summer school.

Duration & credits

Dance and somatics degree programme takes one year. In 2018 - 2019 the course will be organized between August 20nd 2018 and May 29th 2019. Duration: 1600h.


The application period continues till 9.5.2018. The selection process will be on Thu 7.6. 2018. Selection begins at 9 AM and it takes latest till 8 PM. You can apply for the course by filling in the application form and participating the selection. The place of selection at 9am dance classes will be in Kaltimontie 5, 80100 Joensuu. The interviews will be at ISLO main building at Joensuu Science Park, Länsikatu 15, 80100 Joensuu.

Before the selection you can take our summer course (4.-6.6.2018) to become oriented and to get to know the teachers. The summer course is not a necessary condition for taking the selection.

Students are chosen based on selection workshop and interview. All the applicants are invited in the selection.

Reservations for special price 33€ in a double room: Finnhostel Joensuu: +358 50 408 4587

E-mail: finnhostel@islo.fi


The fee for the year is 1710 euros which includes the teaching and study material. Students are entitled to apply for a student allowance in their home country, for which purpose ISLO will provide a certificate verifying their acceptance on the course.


Elina Ikonen +358 (0)50 372 7399 or elina.ikonen@islo.fi

EU-projects we participated:
LEAP: http://www.idocde.net/pages/56 – Learn, Exchange, Apply, Practice is a 2 year vocational project designed for contemporary dance teachers in Europe, to exchange and discuss relevant practices in teaching methodologies
IDOCDE: http://www.idocde.net/pages/55 International Documentation of Contemporary Dance Education. www.idocde.net