Mission & Vision
It is the purpose of the Center to offer expansive vision for the fields of dance, movement arts and somatics. We examine and demonstrate how the knowledge, systems, information and principles represented, performed and experienced in the body are poised for meeting the needs of the future. We seek to uncover the body’s interconnectivity and how it directs us to new discussions and collaborations with health science, technology, business, engineering, industry, community relations, cultural studies, design and the performing arts. We are confident that the examination and dynamic interplay of intention, thought and action can lead us to more productive, inventive, interconnected and purposeful lives through the practice of heightened bodymind connections.
The Center's faculty, students, collaborators, performers and research investigators examine how we build and manifest knowledge through the body and how such knowledge may serve us and our communities. We examine how information is housed, read, spoken and performed in the body. We investigate action as an experience of self, in relationship to others and in relationship to the environment (Laban). We examine knowledge as both a physical and experiential learning process through the body. We test our whole bodies in their cellular, 3-dimensional, artistic, intellectual, creative, experiential, collaborative and interactive potential. Performance, educational and research experiences are developed to discover how the thinking body (Mabel Todd) enhances contributions to the world and collaborations across the globe.
The Center seeks to enhance the learning process by bringing an active, engaged and interdependent experience back into education, art-making, research and health. It is our goal to offer new, fresh and inviting ways to explore ideas. We offer tools to help increase the amount of play, risk, observation, reflection, interpretation, analysis, curiosity and creativity necessary to break through and discover new directions of learning, thinking and inventing. Our goal is to establish new patterns of performance and collaboration in a variety of disciplines. By creating interdependent learning relationships, the Center seeks to find new, unoccupied territories to test, examine and demonstrate the importance of the movement arts, whole action and whole body learning. It is our mission to contribute to the developing formula for a new global, interactive and educational climate.
Developed out of the goals of Dance and Movement Studies since 1986, The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning has emerged as an exciting incubator and hub for creativity, research, education, performance and community discoveries. The mission of the Center is built from a strong history of interdisciplinary collaborations, artistic and creative performances, and innovative techniques for education and learning. The award-winning faculty of professional dancers, choreographers, body workers, educators, scholars and somatic therapists represent diverse approaches to thinking and action through their training in classical, contemporary, cultural, educational, theatrical and somatic traditions.
Since 1986, dance and movement arts have collaborated with such diverse on-campus areas as The Undergraduate College of Leadership and Service; Philosophy; Marine Science; Brookhaven National Laboratory; The Staller Center for the Arts; The Wang Center; Physical Education and Athletics, The Undergraduate College of Arts, Humanities and Culture; The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; Africana Studies; Medical Students from Pediatrics Oncology and Hematology; The Honors College; The College of Business; Undergraduate Research, Education and Creative Activities; the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as individual colleagues in numerous areas and disciplines across the university campus.
Throughout the past years faculty and students have collaborated, presented, performed and participated in events at The United Nations; The International Dance Festival for the Americas in Mexico City; The T. Schreiber Studio in NYC; Regional American College Dance Festival Galas; Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival; Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC; White Wave’s DUMBO Festival; Boogie Down Dance Festival @ BAAD!; The International Dance Festival and Conference in Almada, Portugal; Movement Research: Open Performance; The Global Holistic Body at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea; Maritime Festivals throughout Long Island; The John Drew Theatre in East Hampton; International New Music Plus Festivals; Regional and National Arts Councils; The Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; The Kennedy Center for the Arts/Arts in Crisis Mentoring Program; The Arts in Education National Conference at NYU; the National Lilly Teaching Fellowship; The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US Festivals; Bald Hill Cultural Center; and numerous events at public schools and communities throughout Long Island.
Because we teach students across the disciplines, the impact of our work moves beyond one discipline and into many. By creating interdependent learning relationships, the Center seeks to find new, unoccupied territories to test, examine and demonstrate the importance of the movement arts, whole action and whole body learning. It is our mission to contribute to the developing formula for a new global, interactive and educational climate.
Investigation and Collaboration through Performance
We first engaged with film and interactive media with the work The Wolf is a Dog Who Won’t Come to the Fire, a collaboration with playwright and director Bill Bruehl and media expert Ed Rugino in 1990. The work was selected by The Institute for Creative Research for a National First Prize later that year. Other innovative work included the collaboration with interactive technology in the choreographic work Variations on Godot as part of Beckett Space (1996) at Staller Center. This was followed by the site-specific work, Our Mothers (2000), which was a collaboration with interactive new media, music, design, art installation and dance built around the themes of bread-making, flight, and parenting. Giants in Small, Shallow Pools (2003), was developed through an interdisciplinary course with the Honors College, performed as a live dance/media work involving students from a host of disciplines. The interactive work was performed at an international festival in Portugal, and a film of the work was presented at the National conference of the Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in Chicago in 2005. The work examined the costs and sustenance of courage and intersected with numerous viewpoints which enhanced dialogue, discussion and artmaking.
Sea Bourne, a full-length film in process, was first shown at Avram Theatre in Southampton in 2009 and investigated our relationships to the sea. During the process baymen, ecologists, scientists, boat builders and other members of the Long Island community were interviewed about their experiences and stories of the sea. The film received funds from the New York State Council for the Arts’ Decentralization Grant through the Huntington Arts Council. Currently, the project When the Hedges Fall is now in its developmental stages, having been performed at the Charles B Wang Center in performance. It is slated for development as a film and performance project within at an arboretum on Long Island.
We have begun to renovate our larger studio space (Nassau 114) into a State of the Art Experimental Loft Performance Space, which will also continue to operate as a Creative Learning Space for our university classes. The space will offer a dual purpose for experimental media and performance of dance and the movement arts. In addition, we plan to renovate the smaller studio space (Nassau Hall 104) into a State of the Art Laboratory for the Body, also while maintaining the Creative Learning Space for our classes. We hold the viewpoint that the body is the connection from our inner life to our experiences in the world; and we plan to build an environment where innovative art can be intelligently excavated and authentically embodied.
Film and media will allow us to bring our work to others throughout the world and to create an experimental laboratory and performance arena where discussion about the body can reach global populations. The newly renovated spaces will be home to the professional performance/media company, Ironworks on the Edge, as well as to the undergraduate Performance Dance Ensemble. Performances at the Center will be dedicated to exploring movement and physical performance in collaboration with film, media, technology, music, theatre and visual art. Our work will spill out of interdisciplinary questions, inquiry and content from all domains of learning. It will be a laboratory to bring ideas forward through innovation and creativity. We plan to test how the idea, movement, gesture, thought, action and journey unfold in the creative process. We will merge the knowledge we hold with acts of generative, authentic performance informed by the practices of somatic learning, dance and movement arts.
Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Somatics
One goal is to develop graduate and undergraduate certification programs in Somatics built from an intersection of health, performance, creativity and imagination. There is much current research in health care examining the effects of physical, creative work on recovery and healing as well as changes that result from movement. We salute the challenge to embrace the discipline, creativity and health needs of performance of all kinds and plan to create a Somatic Certification program that may be relevant to undergraduate and graduate student needs.
Performance Dance Minor for Interdisciplinary Connections
We continue to offer the Dance Minor, built from university classes in dance and movement studies and open to all interested students. Performances at the Center invites the novice and the seasoned professional from all disciplines to engage in the body’s authentic performance with intelligence, awareness and understanding. It is about growth and learning, collaborating and considering, process and product, risk and discovery, expression and form. Sometimes it spills into the world of produced performance; but often it engages us in a world of performing our lives and how we remain connected in order to fulfill our contributions to this world. Both of these areas of performance involve similar principles and actions.
The new DREAM (Developing Research to Examine the Artists' and Makers' process) Project at the Center will invite artists, scholars, scientists, engineers and professionals to present their work and allow others to engage and respond to their work.
Guest artists from NYC and beyond will find the Performance and Laboratory Spaces at the Center to be generative and welcoming places for informal showings and works-in-progress. Artists and Makers will present in order to receive feedback and input, all the while benefiting the university and professional community through performance, dialogue and discussions. Students, faculty and the university community will have the unique opportunity to interface with innovative, contemporary professionals as they build, create and investigate new, collaborative thinking and process.
We will use our spaces and the work of our Center to gather leaders in the fields of education, performance, technology, filmmaking, movement, health science, psychology and the arts in order to find unoccupied territories for interdisciplinary thinking that inspire people to action. By building partnerships that offer an expansive view of creativity and collaboration, we plan to uncover and develop new dynamic approaches for productivity built from creativity and collaboration.
The Festival of the Moving Body
A major initiative of the Center is the annual university-wide Festival of the Moving Body, which was launched in March of 2012. The festival brought artists, educators, scientists, medical professionals, bodyworkers, scholars, disability studies and community members into an interdisciplinary exchange about the nature of dance, movement and somatics and its potential for significant contributions to the research and educational needs of the 21st Century. Our focus is to connect the dynamic relationships of performance, creativity, health, recovery and well-being through examples from some of the best experts around the country. We will include performance, film, media, installations, workshops, panels and lectures throughout the Charles B Wang Center on the Stony Brook University campus.
As a prelude to the festival, we hosted a Summit of invited-only experts, modeled after TED Talks. We listened to one another in order to construct unknown territories for educating a new generation of healthy, creative, productive and imaginative citizens. Many offered insights about the interdisciplinary connections of dance and the movement arts aligned to medicine, music, technology, healthcare, business, art making and architecture. Representatives from these and many other fields examined how we work together for the greater good. The opportunity to engage our minds and imaginations across disciplines became an academic and artistic feast that inspired many.
In order to fulfill our mission and vision, we will need resources to offer this innovative and exciting work to the global community. We see the First Stage, described below, as most important for this Strategic Plan. We are looking for individual and corporate partners. Our chief goal is to find a donor who wishes endow the Center through a naming opportunity. We are also seeking funding for an Endowed Chair and Artist in Residence Program Here are specific needs:
• Purchase state of the art digital media and editing equipment for filming and provide funds for on-going media work to setup a innovative lab for the creation of new work.
• Full-time Media Specialist/Technical Director/Space Manager who will oversee the space and equipment, co-teach media and dance classes and serve as a collaborator for new work.
• Renovate the existing sound and lighting booth in Nassau 114; and transform the equipment into state of the art, digital sound and lighting booth, working with portable equipment that can follow us to various venues throughout the world and be used for performances at the Center.
• Purchase new lighting instruments and cable for both spaces.
• Funds to commission Guest Artists, Visiting Faculty and Faculty Exchanges for Innovation in Performance/Learning/Teaching/Creating.
• Two full-time, tenure-track lines for faculty who combine training in somatic learning, dance and performance.
The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning is dedicated to explorations of body/mind performance, physical intelligence, movement systems, dance theatre, and body awareness. The space is already home to numerous interdisciplinary efforts and plans to continue this innovative trajectory through Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Somatics.
Research and creative projects at the Center will continue to include examination of the systems, interconnectivity and interactive potential of the human body. Research methods will range from scientific to historical and include exploratory, constructive and empirical methods. Techniques of creative thinking, improvisation, problem solving and therapeutic applications will serve the goals as we develop new unoccupied territories for teaching, learning, creating and producing new ideas and new forms.
It is our goal to build collaborative partners who can match a strong, confident internal space of Self with changing World Spaces, Global Needs, and Cultural, Creative Challenges. The overarching goal of The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning is to enhance human performance and productivity, while offering techniques and therapies in support of humanity across the globe. We want to represent this philosophy through the practice and engagement of professionals of all disciplines. We are convinced that our world needs to recover these aspects for enhanced learning and productivity. The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning is positioning itself, through collaborations and partnerships, to meet those needs.
If you are interested in partnering with us, or have any questions: please contact Amy Yopp Sullivan, Director.
631 632 7392 or firstname.lastname@example.org