Workshops & Education

Below is a gallery of example workshops I’ve facilitated in the past. Currently my teaching energy is mostly focused on the Nature and Mindfulness course at University of Virginia. In addition, as part of the Little Bluestem Collective, I collaborate on educational offerings. You should sign up for the newsletter on that website to stay tuned in to educational events that are more specific to native plants and ecology! I am especially interested in dynamic collaborations; please reach out if you’re interested in co-teaching or creating interdisciplinary learning experiences. I am mostly interested in teaching in-person rather than online.

Check the Events Page for more info as well as upcoming workshops. Scroll down to read more of my thoughts on education and working with young people.

  • Preparing the Bodymind using Butoh and Ecosomatics

    Preparing the Bodymind using Butoh and Ecosomatics

    May 2024. Performance Lab is a space catalyzed by Rachel Austin for performers to refine craft, get feedback, and expand their creative toolbox. I was invited to facilitate an opening movement-based workshop. This was the description for the class I taught: "Preparing the Bodymind using Butoh and Ecosomatics. In this short session, I offer a series of movement practices drawn largely from the fields of Butoh dance and ecosomatics. I frame the curated practices as a mode of preparation, in which we cultivate: increased physical capacity, readiness to respond to improvisational stimuli, availability to integrate communications from the nonhuman world, openings in channels of awareness and perception, and a dynamically expanded range of creative embodiment possibilities."
  • On Felt and Feral Grounds - workshops

    On Felt and Feral Grounds - workshops

    April 2023, Waynesboro VA, Shenandoah Valley Art Center. I facilitated two free and public tactile workshops as part of the gallery installation of "On Felt and Feral Grounds" by Taylor Hanigosky. Description: "In these ecosomatic workshops, we will slow down our perceptual modes enough to land more wholly in an embodied feeling realm. A series of guided activities will invite participants to touch, feel, respond, play, imagine, and settle in relationship to materials such as stone, sand, and wool. Kinesthetic prompts exploring weight, shape, texture, and temperature gently open up into creative spatial and temporal realms of movement possibility. Landscapes and layers of soft fiber and hard mineral bond our bodies to broader earthly contexts."
  • Ecosomatics and Eros

    Ecosomatics and Eros

    I facilitated a workshop at the 2023 Gaia Gathering in VA. Course Description: In this workshop, participants will explore realms of pleasure and desire through embodiment and dance and collectively celebrate the lush spirit of Beltane. We will draw on somatic touch exercises with humans and non-humans alike to explore the nature of closeness and intimacy. Following the impulses of the heart and womb-space, we will dabble in the theme of "ecosexuality" and notice which elements of the natural world turn us "on." The workshop will include a time for intuitive movement and dance, and a time for being witnessed and sharing.
  • Sunset Somatic Movement Flow

    Sunset Somatic Movement Flow

    April 2023, Afton VA. I led a series of movement classes themed with the energies and beings of spring; blending guided restorative movement with creative nature connection exercises and improvisation
  • Dancing the Passage of Death

    Dancing the Passage of Death

    Autumn 2022, Afton VA. Charlotte James, Victoria Maria Moyer, and Geoff Cox facilitated an afternoon of imagining and inquiring into the inevitability of our own death individually and collectively through somatic meditations, expressive arts, Butoh-inspired movement invitations, nature-connected reflections and dialogue.
  • What do we make of our shadows?

    What do we make of our shadows?

    Collaboration initiated by Christian Hayden/Presented at the Ethical Society in Philadelphia in December, 2018.

    I facilitated Butoh movement explorations over the course of 3 workshops and collaborated with all involved in the development of the experimental performance, which integrated Christian's original poetry. All centered on the central theme of Shadows.

  • Dancing with Death

    Dancing with Death

    This workshop took place in Nov. 2019 at Window Room in South Philly
  • Kids Workshops at New Moon Mycology Summit

    Kids Workshops at New Moon Mycology Summit

    In 2019 I shared some workshops at New Moon Mycology Summit; designed for young people but open to any adults and families.

    Workshop 1: Ecologies of Creative Play

    This workshop draws on techniques from theatre and performative improvisation for young people and focuses on exploring body, voice, characters, games, and creative play inspired by themes found in nature. We especially focus on the topic of ecology and how to cultivate and pay attention to relationships over the course of the exercises. We equally focus on the important skill of playfulness! We may utilize found objects in nature to create imaginative worlds and scenes that may be shared with others.

    Workshop 2: Movement and the Rhizome

    In this workshop, we focus on movement, dance, and community inspired by the metaphors and reality of rhizomes, mycelial networks, elements of nature, and “social permaculture.” After a guided warmup, we: practice how to listen with our full bodies to our surroundings and one another, create gestures and group improvisations, and draw on lived sensory nature experiences as well as internal imaginings to make visible the invisible threads connecting us to each other, the biosphere, and beyond!

  • The Philly Butoh Rhizome

    The Philly Butoh Rhizome

    Ongoing collective/network in Philly; in July 2019 I facilitated a series of donation-based outdoor movement explorations. E-mail to get on the google group to hear about upcoming events/meetups.
  • Butoh Body Practice Group

    Butoh Body Practice Group

    This group took place summer 2018 at Ahimsa House in West Philadelphia.

    It was described as a space to explore psychosomatic exercises, Butoh movement research, paratheatrical improvisation, emotional archaeology, resonance, non-objectification, and tension between solitude and community.

    "Butoh dance, the avant-garde dance originated by Tatsumi Hijikata in 1950s in Japan, is not only a performing art but also a way to explore the relationships of mind and body from the viewpoint of somatic psychology. One of the key words for understanding Butoh is the Butoh body, "butoh-tai" in Japanese, meaning a physical and mental attitude so as to integrate the dichotomized elements such as consciousness vs. unconsciousness, and subject vs. object." (Toshiharu Kasai)

    Paratheatre was the name for experiments led by the Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski. An overall intention was "revelation of a secular mystery...a communal and collective creation that transform[s] its participants and reorder[s] their lives."

    Each week explored new exercises from Butoh, Noguchi Taiso, meditation, drama therapy, improvisation, and paratheatre: sometimes partner work or outdoor practice. Some sessions were co-facilitated by others attending.

  • Movies for Mental Health

    Movies for Mental Health

    In 2018, I facilitated several "Movies for Mental Health Workshops" through an organization called "Art with Impact." These took places at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Integrated Body and Mind Healing

    Integrated Body and Mind Healing

    A full day community workshop, held in Fuhais Jordan in May 2017.

    Part 1: Thai Massage with Julia Ivanova

    Break for vegetarian meal & tea on the farm

    Part 2: Past Life Exploration with Hypnotherapist Victoria Moyer

  • Trance, Sound, and Creativity

    Trance, Sound, and Creativity

    Held in May 2015 at Torn Page in NYC.

    MindMoves is the first performance and collaborative workshop experience in a forum series exploring the intersections between Trance, Sound, and Creativity. The evening begins with a short performance illustrating the dynamic mind-body processes involved in hypnotherapy, followed by guided group trance meditations including a Past Life Regression experience. Collaborators include a trio of artist-hypnotherapists: Victoria Moyer, Shauna Cummins, and Daniel Ryan.

Working with Young People

recommended reading: on the wildness of children

My driving values and commitments are to compassion, creativity, and collaboration. Whether directing a theatre piece, teaching a class, or co-creating an educational experience, I think of myself as a facilitator of transformational yet inner-directed creative journeys. What I mean is that learning is not something that happens * to * someone, but rather, it’s a process driven largely by one’s curiosities, experiments, and unique inner pathways of understanding and practice. Learning is also a relational process that happens in context and community, which is why collaboration and place-relationship are so important. 

One of my fondest memories of my “educational career” occurred in 2016 while teaching theatre at King’s Academy in Jordan. I had already been working with the students for a year through my daytime theatre courses, improv clubs, and theatre productions. After getting to know the students and the wider campus community, I felt confident that we were ready to embark on an adventure more challenging than the usual theatre production process: I wanted to share my deepest passion for devising original works with the students. With the help of a stellar student-based tech theatre crew, a supportive co-director, and a guest songwriter-in-residence, I facilitated the students’ creation of an original musical adaptation of the ancient Persian poem The Conference of the Birds. 

Our methodology emphasized researching the source material and then generating our own creative material (poems, scenes, monologues, songs, movement, images, collages, etc.). Through a rigorous series of creation and editing exercises, the students then ultimately crafted a full-length original musical. The metaphysical story from The Conference of the Birds about struggle, reflection, community, and enlightenment provided fertile ground for the students to embark on their own journey of transformation. I also clearly saw how the developing bird characters, with their unique fears, desires, and relationships, mirrored the students’ own lives. 

Guiding and witnessing these students’ journeys from inception to performative culmination was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I know that they learned various soft and hard skills relating to communication, aesthetics, playwriting, empathy, design, sewing, carpentry, songwriting, and more. Yet, in the following years, as I deepened my own relationship with outdoor knowledge and skills, I’ve realized that even wonderful arts experiences like this don’t usually take young people beyond the drudgery of being inside for most of the day. Basic knowledge about land, plants, and food, and basic feelings of connectedness and wholeness within the ecosystem are being lost to school demands for heady memorized textbooks and test scores in order climb some constructed ladder of education-career-money. The heart of learning is so much more precious than that. 

Moving forward as an educational facilitator working with young people, I now aim to create experiences that draw on the best aspects of arts and outdoor/environmental education. I intend to include nature connectivity in arts workshops, and to include more collaboration and creation in outdoor workshops. I hope to create conditions fertile for inspiration, relationship, embodied understanding and care, and if desired, aesthetic inquiry and honing.

I draw on my years of experience working with all age groups to design experiences and spaces that will support various developmental skills and learning needs. I am committed to justice and liberatory practices and seek to acknowledge histories and ongoing realities of oppression and to actively dismantle the systems and internalized structures that perpetuate oppression and violence. I am flawed and have blind spots, but am committed to improving.