Education in Dance and Somatics – Course Information

Below you find more detailed information on subjects covered in different areas of the education:

Regular Weekly Classes


Special Projects

Work-Based Learning And Independent Study Periods

Regular Weekly Classes

Contact Improvisation (CI) (Tuesdays)

A somatically oriented new dance form that explores the possibilities of moving together with one or more others while sharing a moving point of contact. In the first semester, the emphasis is more on developing technical skills and in the second semester — on how to dance together as a group. Ability to participate fully in the group practice does not depend on technical skill level.

Aims — to acquire the skills to dance with each other in ISLO and in the wider world contexts, to strengthen developmental movement skills, to become comfortable working in close contact with others.

Benefits — builds trust in oneself and others, helps to learn one to move in contact with the other, teaches non-verbal dialogue skills, offers an experience of equality in human communication.

Developing Self-Knowledge Through Movement And Dance

Classes reflecting on individual and group learning processes on different levels — creative process, body-mind process, knowledge of dance. How the material presented during the course relates to participant’s earlier education, experience and future plans. These classes are based on methods of dance-movement therapy, professional work supervision and transformative pedagogy.

Aims — to be more aware about oneself and one's influence in group situations, both participating and leading, to be able to find ways to use dance and movement in one's own work in various situations.

Benefits — to strengthen one's professional identity and to achieve ways to see more possibilities in work. To work with these same principals with different groups

Authentic Movement (AM) (Fridays)

A somatically oriented dance form that gives time to experience and study inner impulses to move through careful listening to oneself. It also explores how we observe and interpret the movement of others. AM will be introduced by a one-week workshop in the first module and it will then continue throughout the year as a regular weekly practice.

Aims — to become familiar with the practice, to provide a regular practice in which to integrate and process the whole course throughout the year.

Benefits — ability to listen to oneself and others, deeper understanding of oneself and awareness on how one reads one's own and other's movements.

Workshops Covering The Following Subjects:

Contact Improvisation (see above for description) — workshops are offered to introduce the form and explore how the form can become a group practice.

Authentic Movement (see above for description) — a workshop is offered to introduce the form.

Movement Exploration And Analysis

Exploration classes address the question of how to dance. Exploration is closely allied with traditional contemporary dance technique in that it supports expansion of the individual's movement vocabulary. Unlike traditional contemporary dance technique, however, exploration is aimed towards unfolding a personal movement vocabulary rather than learning only given movement material. We include Trager Movement®, experiential anatomy and developmental movement.

Aims — to develop familiarity with somatic forms including developmental movement, experiential anatomy, Trager Movement® and others.

Benefits — to develop general skills of research through working with one's own movement in relationship to other people and the surrounding environment, to recognize and expand one's own movement vocabulary.

Movement And Dance Improvisation

Improvisation classes address the question of how to make a dance. Improvisation is closely allied to composition and choreography in that it explores tools that can be used to make a dance for one or more people. Here we explore dance as an art form and the place of choice making in creative process. In sharing the dance we make with others, it addresses issues of presentation and performance. Besides making art, improvisation also leads to wider awareness and perspective to see possibilities in any kind of spontaneous dialogues in various situations.

Aims — to be able to improvise dance alone and with others, to be willing to be seen and see others, learning to read the present situation.

Benefits — awareness of spontaneous choice making processes on many different levels, application of improvisational skills in a wide variety of situations: dance making, art making, teaching, working life, personal life — the ability to listen and act.

Creative Process In Dance And Art Making

The whole year is a creative process itself and students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own progress through this. During the year there will be several short projects where students will create work alone and with others. Throughout the year there is an emphasis on dialogues and sharing.

Aims — to be able to engage in, show the results of and talk about one's own creative process; to be able to receive feedback from others and work with it; to be able to give constructive criticism to others; to see how the whole group can learn from each other through creative process; to become clearer about one’s own creative process.

Benefits — these skills can be applied to any creative process whether it is explicitly creative as in making an artwork, or in other situations such as creating and leading projects, groups, classes and workshops or other working life situations.

Group Facilitating and Pedagogy

Group facilitating and pedagogy are based on constructivist and transformative learning theories. Somatic approach and embodiment is integrated to social pedagogy approach. The skills in group facilitating are based on reflection of the individual and group learning process, and of the group process. In dialogical learning the present learning situation is used as learning material as well as the previous experiences of the students. Conversation, journaling, self-reflections and producing student´s own framework are part of the process. There will be different facilitating, leading and assisting situations throughout the year both inside the own group and in working practice elsewhere. The pedagogical approach underlies all classes and workshops.

Aims — to learn to reflect and understand one's own and the group’s learning process and group process itself, to become familiar with group process phenomena and dialogical pedagogy, to be able to lead a group through a process.

Benefits — it increases the ability to recognize one's own skills and influence in participating and leading groups — to build up your personal teaching/ facilitating routines.

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT)

In DMT, dance and movement are used in a process which furthers the emotional, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. DMT effects changes in feelings, cognition, physical functioning and behavior. In the workshops we study some principles and methods of dance/movement therapy (DMT) in order to support self-knowledge classes, the learning process and understanding of pedagogy.

Aims — to become familiar with principles and some methods in dance/movement therapy.

Benefits — build up self-knowledge that can support one´s studying and working with dance and leading groups.

Movement And Technology

Technology is a powerful tool. In December 2018 there were 4.1 billion Internet users in the world. In this moment more than a half of the world’s population is connected to the internet and communicate through it. It seems relevant to learn how to use it rather than being used by it. Familiarizing oneself with technology could enable one to express one’s artistic ideas or gain new tools to promote one’s work. The body as a starting point and movement experience as a perspective, this workshop intends to open a discussion surrounding the topic “real x virtual” and “private x public”, giving participants an opportunity to work with specific object of vision, in the space, in a group, exploring the relation between somatics, movement, video, audio and/or other media. Shaping a frame in an audio and/or video format could be an alternative to explore what is its relation with present and digital arts.

Aim — to give participants an opportunity to experience and explore the potentiality of technologies framed trough an embodied vision of poetic image.

Benefits — to learn to use technology in relation with own interest or own professional aspect of it

Special Projects & Presentations

Introductory Student Presentations

At the beginning of the first semester, participants will be asked to make a 30-45 minute presentations to the group on a subject which they see as related to their coming year's study. Presentations can be in the form of a lecture or seminar, a taught class, a performance together with some explanation of the creative processes behind it, or in any other form that suits. This can serve as an opportunity for the student to introduce themselves and their interests to the group.

Movement Research with presentation

Participants will spend time on a movement research project. Participants will be given advice on how to work together to support each other in this process. At the end of the project they will make a presentation to the group sharing their creative thinking and process. The movement research presentation demonstrates ideas that have been worked through and may include composition, installation, video, multimedia, spoken word, site-specific work, etc. (Participants who wish to develop their movement research into performance or art work will have an opportunity to do so during the work-based learning periods — see below)

Framework Presentation in the end of the whole-year education

Participants will be required to submit short accounts or reflections of their experiences and learning processes at the end of each semester. The reflections are being made available to the teachers and fellow participants. In addition to this, participants are required to transform or supplement this material in some way for presentation to the group on the theme of "creating own framework or style to work”. It can include reflection of the past year" and plans and visions of the future — this could involve creating additional material, photos or illustrations for presentation in the form of a book, artwork or installation; or the creation of a live performance, class, video or multimedia presentation.

Presentations after work-based learning and independent study periods (see the more detailed information below)

Work-Based Learning & Independent Study Periods (in between the modules)

In between the modules there will be work-based learning and independent studies. Period can include group facilitation, art projects, participatory and community art projects or personal development projects. Period can be spent in your/any working place, community, association etc. It also can de done by reading literature and keeping up own movement research and/or participating in ISLO open workshops or other workshops elsewhere. These periods from two weeks to one month are spent working on a project that supports participant´s development in their chosen field. This work may be undertaken alone or in groups.

ISLO will, as much as is possible, support participants in finding suitable working situations. The students from the group can also support each other in finding opportunities and collaborations. For participants remaining in the Joensuu area, it will be possible to have mentoring sessions with the head teacher Elina Ikonen, participants who work/study away from Joensuu can do that online. The working practices must take place within the calendar weeks allotted in the schedule, or during students' own time. On returning from working practice and independent studying, time will be given for a presentation to the group and/or for integration to the module contents.

Aims — to integrate the somatic methods in the working life, to learn to communicate with working environments, to create own style to learn and to work and understand the diversity in working styles/

Benefits — creating network of collaborations and working opportunities