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Inner Dancer Blog: Beginning to Untangle the Exact Nature of the Practice

February 28, 2011

I am starting to see a pattern in some of my conversations with my family, friends, students and clients. They say, Marcia, as a CMA, what is it exactly that you do? And I quickly respond with my usual CMA elevator pitch:

I gather information through observation of your body in movement to help support your awareness and connections in your body so that you may find more ease and functionality in your daily life. I use aspects of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), the Bartentieff Fundamentals (BF) and Body Mind Centering (BMC) as my primary tools to assist you.

And then they scrunch up their face and say, “oh”. “So what is it that you do exactly?”

Ok, message received. It was time to heed the call to bring more clarity to what it is that I do. Hence the Inner Dancer blog was born. I figured it could help to unravel the mystery of the CMA, LMA, BF and BMC anachronisms and put it into the every-day language of movement. My intent through this blog is to:

  • Bring awareness to our bodies in motion
  • Provide insight to support ourselves and our children through all phases of life
  • Discuss specific tools to help integrate the mind and body
  • Uncover freedom and joy through movement in our day-to-day lives
  • Explore embodied somatic practices

These days we are all forced to be discerning consumers because of the multitudes of resources available at our fingertips. It is my hope that the Inner Dancer blog can be one of those sources of education and inspiration in your daily life. My personal experience learning and practicing holistic movement modalities is that we are able to take in information mentally and physically as and when we are ready. Sometimes an event will occur that propels us to seek help from others. This can be a turning point in our personal growth and healing process.

I will end this blog today by sharing a bit about my vision of my work as a CMA and a holistic movement practitioner and educator.

My image of an Inner Dancer is someone who is willing to experience their whole being by sourcing their Inner inspiration and truth and finding ways to manifest it with fullness in their Outer expressivity.

Each of us has a unique and continuous flow and flux from Inner to Outer and back again like a möbius strip. One side of the möbius strip represents our Inner feelings and impulses, while the other side represents our Outer expression and manifestation of those feelings and impluses into the world. As we explore these polarities for ourselves and the balance between them, we can reveal new possibilities for how we want to think, feel and move in our bodies.

Finding your Inner Dancer can be a fascinating and meaningful journey of discovery. It is my wish to offer this precious gift of discovery to you.

Wishing you health and vitality in movement,


Integrated Movement: Who is that body walking down the street?

February 6, 2011

As a Movement Analyst, I often find myself witnessing the movement of others in their daily lives. I always enjoyed people watching in busy public places and would find myself captivated at the wide variety of movement that was visible to me.

One summer day, I observed a woman working in her fresh fruit and vegetable stand. She was about middle age and was dressed in flowing cotton garments reflecting the heat of the day. She moved from crate to crate, straightening out the stray lettuce leaves, broken carrots and wayward potatoes. Her upper body was moving with a degree of quickness but her touch was delicate and direct as she organized the produce. I could see her chest and belly expand fully and freely as she took in breath to her support her movements. Her arms and hands were working in synchrony with her torso and her lower body provided stability through the groundedness of her sandal-clad feet. As more customers entered the stall, she was able to shift focus with her gaze and gestures and take in more of the entire scene. Her whole body appeared to open, like she had many eyes in all her body parts. I noticed her to be fully present and ready for what ever was needed in that moment. I reflected that she was a good example of being embodied in her work environment, taking care of herself while relating successfully to people and objects around her.

When I trained to become a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA), I learned about the qualities of movement through Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). LMA is a body of work that was birthed out of the dedication and genius of the late Rudolf Laban. Laban was a dancer, choreographer, educator and a pioneer in observation and notation of how people move in their everyday lives. He studied the natural rhythms and harmonies in the environment and applied this to people’s daily movements. His legacies continue on in the dance world, somatic practices, movies and theater, industrial settings and many other places.

What do you notice when you observe someone in your yoga class, at work or walking down the street? Do you get a sense of someone moving with a measure of ease and grace, all their body parts integrated, connected and working together? Or do you witness individuals who are laboring in their actions, appearing injured or uncoordinated?

The way we move our bodies is a creative representation of who we are. Our unique and deeply personal synthesis of gestures, gait, posture and overall body actions comprises our specific movement palette. The palette is like a movement signature. No one will have your exact movement signature, but families and people in similar communities can share common recognizable aspects of the movement palette. Comedians and impersonators are key examples of people observing certain aspects of our culture and an individual’s movement palette. They recreate the salient aspects so that you know immediately whom they are impersonating. I experienced this myself at a party when my friends re-created my usual dance moves!

Young children are investigating and expanding their movement palette every time they enter a playground. They engage with each other, fully embodied and seemingly unrestricted in their physical expressiveness. At play, these children are practicing the mastery of their physical bodies, pushing and testing their limits as they scamper one or two rungs higher on the climbing apparatus. They tend to go all out in full force, without fear of being judged for how they are moving. This is a magical time of learning whereby the influences of parents, caregivers, friends and cultural norms are patterned into the body. As the children mature, these patterns become part of their movement signature.

When we investigate our movement signature with a trained and compassionate observer such as a CMA, we discover the ability to explore different aspects of our movement signature and to practice new ways of being fully embodied. Many of us have some disconnection from our body parts, often unconsciously and with varying degrees of severity. When we become rigid and by-pass the body’s warning signals, we are more susceptible to injury and disease. We also ask what may be holding us back from fully expressing ourselves in our day to day activities.

Becoming aware of our body in motion is the first step. We look at what inspires us to move from the inside and how that inner desire manifests in our outer movements. We can begin to transform and expand our movement palette by simply learning how to re-pattern and connect all our body parts to our core.

“Change is fundamental. The essence of movement is change. As we move, we are constantly changing.” Peggy Hackney

When we re-pattern the body and integrate our every day movements, everything changes. Our physical, emotional and spiritual selves transform into something more authentic, something more truly You.

So next time you are walking down the street noticing others, pause to ask yourself, “who is that body?” and bring the gift of your awareness and curiosity back to yourself.

Moving with you in vitality,


Welcome to Inner Dancer’s New Home

January 18, 2011

2011 is off to an exciting start.

Welcome all to my new home for Inner Dancer, movement and dance for all ages.

This site has had a long birthing process but with a little help from my friends and a very fluid and flexible approach, we have arrived to greet the world.

Please come back often to visit and bring your friends. I will look forward to your comments and feedback as I venture forward with this blog site.

Blessings to you for this winter season and the start of another year.