BMCA Conference in Montreal

Taking place at Concordia University, Montreal, this was the 31st BMCA conference. I took part in the pre-conference workshop with Simone Forti which was a fascinating exploration of ‘what’s on your mind at present’ mixed with memory. Then 21/2 days of intense and richly varied workshops and presentations. I loved the choices I had made and experienced profound personal and professional affirmation for my ongoing BMC research. I gave my workshop The Radical Touch of BMC: Taking Responsibility in the Anthropocene, on 2nd morning.

 I wanted to explore the following:

Through engagement and acknowledgement of our phylogenetic connection with other species, we participate consciously in the relational field of the living planet. Embodying the Neurocellular Patterns allows us to sense, feel and know something of the otherness of living creatures. Touch and movement bring us into relationship, refining how we might touch the world with sensitivity.

One of the lasting and touching memories of the conference for me was that Linda Tumbarello attended my presentation. In the group sharing at the close of my session she gave me wonderful recognition of my work. I felt the meaningfulness of her presence and the power of transmission in this work. She was commending me and yet all I could feel was she had taught me how to do this – a wonderful, strange and moving experience for me.

On the last evening, scholar, somatic researcher and dancer Sylvie Fortin gave a powerful and all embracing keynote of somatic research, its history and where and how it is currently engaged and what its potential might be. I was very excited by what Sylvie was proposing and felt an affinity with her socio-political interests. Later, I had an opportunity to spend time with her and her husband Warwick Long a colleague from many years ago in Perth. Dance is, as we know, is an intimate world!

This was Sylvie’s Keynote brief:

Since the creation of the field of somatics by the early pioneers, many variations
and applications of the diverse approaches can be identified. We will critically examine these pathways from an intimate embodied and socio-political perspective. What are the possibilities and the constraints of these pathways? In looking at them, can we bring into awareness possible blind spots? How do they affect the teaching/transmission of somatics?

Bonnie’s post-conference workshop was initially overwhelming after the intimate engagement of the workshop presentations. The studio was filled with 200 or more people and during the two half days we engaged with the following:

Bonnie’s workshop outline:

During the embryonic forming of our body, our architectural structures are created by the intricate migration of cells in relation to each other and to space. The consciousness of our cells within the space they inhabit continues to inform us throughout our life. When the basic architectural elements are almost fully formed, the skeletal muscles and nerves migrate into the structures to provide function. When the cells maintain consciousness of themselves, our movement is effortlessly coordinated and expressive. When there is a forgetting in the cells of their own existence, our neuromuscular system needs to direct their structural integrity as well as their function. Our movement then becomes less coordinated and more effortful. In this workshop we will explore the awakening of our cells to remember themselves, thus bringing vitality and ease to our movement and consciousness.

At the end of the workshop I had a meeting with Bonnie and Len to discuss their coming to Australia in 2017 to give workshops in Melbourne and Sydney as well as in Auckland, NZ. Bonnie is looking forward to this opportunity of being in Australia and I look forward to her meeting many of you who have studied with me and attended my workshops over the last 20 years.