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Symposium Critical Somatics – Expanded Contemporary Dance (ECD)

Tuesday April 23 and Wednesday April 24

Expanded Contemporary Dance and the Academy of Theatre and Dance are inviting you to the first public opening of the research project Critical Somatics. The symposium will take place on April 23 and 24, 2024, at the Dutch National Ballet Academy and the Academy of Theatre and Dance.

In September 2023, ECD launched a research project Critical Somatics, designed and led by Bojana Bauer and Maria Ines Villasmil Prieto, with the aim to critically examine and creatively reshape the teaching of somatic techniques within the ECD program. The two-year project consists of a teacher-research group, exchanges with guest researchers, and two public symposia.

Read more: Why Critical Somatics?

Keynote: Lindsey Drury

23 April / Morning Session (plenary) from 10.00 to 13.00

Location: New buiding Dutch National Ballet Academy
Nicolaas Tetterodestraat 13, Amsterdam
1096 BM Amsterdam 

The colonial, the carceral, the corpus
The field of somatics has long fostered ideas of biopolitical emancipation that connect releasing physical bodies from pain and limitation with visions of socio-political transformation. In this presentation, I peer into the potentials of somatics practices to behave as carceral internment of Indigenous healing practices in colonial-historical scientistic logics. Following ethics of research and anti-colonial address developed among Indigenous scholars including Eve Tuck and Max Liboiron, I aim to bring some of the foundational ideas of somatics into discourse with a corpus of powerful Indigenous critique of settler epistemological extraction, proposing that the somatic field’s practices of appropriation remain entangled with a system of dispossession that emerges precisely from the colonial legacy.  I end with a proposal of praxeological restitution as a first step toward an anti-colonial somatics.

Find the registration form and the programme at the top of the page.

Round table with guest researchers: Thomas Presto and Patrick Acogny

24 April / Morning Session (plenary) from 10.00 to 13.00

Location: New buiding Dutch National Ballet Academy
Nicolaas Tetterodestraat 13, Amsterdam
1096 BM Amsterdam 

Find the registration form and the programme at the top of the page.

List of workshops

23 and 24 April from 14.30 to 16.00 and from 16.30 to 18.00 at the ATD (Studios 201, 202 , 203, 204)

Location: Academy of Theatre and Dance
Jodenbreestraat 3, 1011 NG Amsterdam

Which workshop would you like to enroll in? See below!
Find the registration form and the programme at the top of the page.

The ATD library will be open until 19:00 hrs. displaying a collection of books and documents to enlarge critical views over somatics.

 Pleae Note:
 The workshop Decolonizing Somatics 23 April from 14.30 to 16.00 is fully booked!
 But we still have places to the other workkshop happening right after  (from 16.30 to 18.00)

Please Note:
The workshop Minding Motion, Sensations and Emotions 23 of April by Vivianne Rodrigues de Brito - from 14.30 to 16.00 in  Studio 201 is fully booked

Please Note:
Minding Motion, Sensations and Emotions  23 of April by Vivianne Rodrigues de Brito - from 16.30 to 18.00 in  Studio 201 is fully booked

Please note:
You can select only one workshop per time slot.

Workshop: Minding Motion, Sensations and Emotions by Vivianne Rodrigues de Brito

Critically examining the history of somatic practices, one often finds that they have  been interwoven with colonialism, white supremacy, and Eurocentric ideals of physicality, influencing how bodies are perceived, treated, and controlled.

Through the Feldenkrais Method, and a mindful exploration of gentle and small movements the workshop – Interconnectedness between mind, body, and spirit- seeks different ways to attend to the whole person creating space for feeling, sensing, thinking, healing and personal expression. We will also investigate how touch and language play a role in this investigation.

Workshop: Decolonizing Somatics: Where do we begin? by Flavia Pinheiro and Paula Montecinos Oliva

Pedagogies of re-existence proposes a space to listen and converse about what possible decolonial gestures can be addressed through voicing and touch.

Somatic lab Latinx memories, a long-term project dedicated to community-based and led research, with a group of kuir migrants and asylum seekers in the Nederland's ,takes somatic practices as a starting point to re-imagine ways of being together by touching and listening to each other.

The weaving of the practices will be implemented by reading, touch and a listening circle, inviting the participants to connect personal experiences of dislocation and repossession with larger societal demand for social justice.

Workshop: Unpacking Somatics Together by Hildegarde De Baets and Stephan van Dijk

Somatic disciplines are there for one to unpack and find one’s own way. They balance between being true to principle and being completely open to individual possibilities and preferences to facilitate connection. In this workshop we share our efforts to establish this together.

Workshop: Asana (Physical Yoga) in Context by John Taylor

In this workshop, we will explore Asana practice (Physical Yoga) in the context of Yoga, Eastern Philosophy and the Eight Limbs of Yoga (as described in the yoga sutras of Patanjali). We will explore the cultural context of Yoga and have an opportunity to engage with the first five limbs of Yoga:

  • Yama (Moral restraints) ...
  • Niyama (Observances) ...
  •  Asana (Posture) ...
  • Pranayama (Breath Control) ...
  • Pratyahara (Withdrawal of the Senses) ...

Workshop: Traces of "Health" by Sofia Ornellas Pinto and Ederson Xavier

Body work and somatic practices evolved to focus on the individual and on the exploration of each body and mind possibilities. As such, many of these practices take upon themselves a healing quality. Underpinning this health and wellbeing function, anatomical and medical terminology and models are used but these same models are deeply normative and adhere to an european, caucasian, male body ideal of the normal body.

This disconnects causes (para)medical practitioners, bodyworkers and teachers to misdiagnose and mis-correct bodies that simply don’t fit the norm. Bodies that will not be able to adapt to the correction without pain and discomfort or that will not be able to adapt at all. On this interactive session we will focus on the Body Chart as a representation of the “healthy /pain free body” which is utilised in medical and body practices. We invite participants to challenge the body chart representation of the spine and of the foot by confronting the “correct” model with each participants own spine and foot curves.

Workshop: Redirecting the Gaze by Roos van Berkel

Inspired by the article ‘Troubling the frame’ (Davis et al. 2021), Roos van Berkel will give a workshop presentation on the course Movement Analysis that she teaches at ECD. This course draws mostly on the work by Rudolf Laban, Irmgard Bartenieff and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. During the course, it is acknowledged that the offered perspectives are by no means neutral nor universal. At the same time, it is not yet explicit how this course reproduces specific canons from a Euro-American and predominantly White dance tradition that evolved during the last century. Roos will unpack aspects of the course that relate to these canons in order to critically reframe what the course covers, what is does not cover and how its scope can be increased.

Workshop: Calibrating a Critical Compass by Tiana Hemlock

In this session we will look critically at identifying our inner operating systems (our beliefs, values and biases) through the practice of moving and speaking. I will give some quotes and a framework that is related to my research on belief systems and embodiment. We will then engage together in a practice of observing our own thinking processes as we move, speak, do and what do those observations tell us about how we are orienting ourselves in the world. We will then take some time to write and share and be curious about our findings.

Accessibility info: This workshop is open to all bodies and abilities of moving and speaking. We will spend a section of the time all talking or making sounds all together at the same time (this can be noisy). If you are sensitive to noise, please take this into account or bring headphones so that you can do the practice without distraction.


Critical somatics is designed and coordinated by Bojana Bauer & Maria Ines Villasmil Prieto. Production Coordinator: Norma Schiphof. Production NBA: Jordan Tuinman. Documentation: Giulia Cristofoli & Maedy Tol. ECD Education Assistant: Roos Oudt

This project is supported by the Educational Development Funds and Professionalisation Funds of the Academy of Theatre and Dance, Amsterdam University of the Arts.


Register here!

Open the registration form


View the programme

Download the pdf