The JanTerm Experience: Bodies in Motion

Photo caption: Students An-Ra Moore and Wanjiru Iandiataiyero discovering how touch affects movement in the rest of the body.  Photo by Rafaela Chavez

By Shania Guy

Instructed by Karola Luettringhaus, Movement Research/Somatic Study was highly engaging and informative. Luettringhaus serves as the Artistic and Executive Director for the Alban Elved Dance Company. In the course, we covered a vast range of topics including walking, landing, warming up, rhythm, breathing, the fascial system, muscles and joint axes—the list goes on.

Usually on a regular class day, we discussed the topic we last covered from an assigned reading. Then we proceeded to get up and explore the day’s content through movement. In between the movements, we talked about what we each learned about ourselves or what we came to understand.

The movements we practiced varied in form while bringing mental and physical awareness to other areas of the body. From side-bending to rolling over, we each explored our own limits and extremities. It was an insightful course that paid much attention to human anatomy and the physiological aspect of movement.

My favorite part of the class was when the instructor had students try out phrases and patterns and observe how the body reacted and interacted with the movements. The project we completed was a presentation about one particular part of the body and the science behind its movement.

I conducted my project on shoulder pain and how movements in the shoulder affected the rest of the body. My presentation included a group activity in which I put together a voice-over instructing a sequence of movements to the class. Afterwards we discussed the experience.

Many people enjoyed the Simon Says style of the activity. This class was indeed one that helped me examine my own abilities and made me more aware of the structure of my body. I would recommend anyone interested in dance, exercise science, or even biology to take this course.

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