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February 2022: The Movement Arc: Dance Therapy and Somatic Education Centre
How would you describe The Movement Arc: Dance Therapy and Somatic Education Centre in a sentence?
Dance Therapy and Somatic Education Centre training people in how to use dance, movement, and embodiment both psycho-therapeutically as well as expressively for general applications in community.
A bit more…
We have two professional training programs as well as an ongoing workshop series that is more open to members of the public.
The Movement Arc’s programs are
1) a 3 year long training to become a professional Dance/Movement Therapist
2) a 1 year training program to become an Expressive Movement Facilitator
3) our workshops cover topics from embodied anatomy, movement observation to specific applications of movement for wellness, healing, and human development
What were your artistic paths that led you to building the company?
Myself, Hana Kamea Kemble, the Movement Arc’s founder, have spent decades engaged in dance and movement, theatre, and other practices in and around Vancouver as well as in the USA. I attended Naropa University from 1998-2001 and became a Dance/Movement Therapist (Master’s degree), then moved back to Canada in 2004 where for ten years I had a practice in DMT working with people of all ages and at different agencies and organizations around greater Vancouver.
Myself and Tannis Hugill, another practicing Vancouver based performer as well as Dance/Movement Therapist and Drama Therapist, joined together to begin teaching DMT in 2013 in Vancouver, inviting my mentor Kalila Homann to come teach with us as well. We then began to add other teachers such as Donna Redlick and Janet Kaylo. We currently have students from all over Canada, and now globally as some of our classes have moved online due to COVID. With no current master’s programs in Canada, we basically saw a need to offer this kind of training to the Canadian community.
What inspires the work you do in the company?
We are interested in sharing our knowledge and skills in facilitating movement for therapy, education, growth, and development for people. We see the enormous potential for greater integration of dance and movement into all spheres of society! We see the potential for people of all ages to have more access to therapeutic dance.
How would you describe dance’s impact on your lives?
My experience is that dance is the movement of the soul. Dance connects, unites, and brings rhythmic synchrony for that sense of oneness, so needed in this time of fragmenting psyches and mental health challenges for so many.
Dance also allows the expression of our deepest trauma, whether we have words for it or not, the body speaks our story and narrative and through this speaking in dancing, the narrative can shift towards greater resilience and new resources can be discovered that lie dormant within the body-mind.
What are the core values of your company in three words?
Authenticity, spontaneity, resilience.
Do you have a particular practice that you carry out each day or have you implemented new practices as a way of adapting to the current climate?
Our staff and instructors have been engaging in a wide variety of movement practices and are always keen to study and practice new forms of dance and movement inquiry. For me, Hana, I practice Self-Breema Bodywork on myself, I put on music and dance freely, Authentic Movement, the Bartenieff Fundamentals, and I also practice yoga. Another practice is just to feel oneself in the present moment, noticing sensations in the body and seeing how they wish to move or be still.
What’s coming up for you this season? How have you adjusted your programming during the COVID-19 pandemic? And what are you most looking forward to doing moving forward?
We have adjusted by currently teaching online, though not our preference truly!
We have just started this January 2022 our first year of the Expressive Movement Facilitator training cohort and have ten students from a variety of countries. We are excited to bring together in community a wonderful group of dedicated movers who wish to take their practices more deeply into the communities they live in.
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
We love having access to teaching spaces that are full of light, with beautiful floors and views. We love being able to walk down hallways and see the other dancers in their studios, this inspires and brings joy to the heart, so know we are all dancing together in this moment.
This year, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Scotiabank Dance Centre. What impact do you feel the building has had on the dance community, our city, and/or your own practice?
I, Hana, have been teaching out of Scotiabank Dance Centre for years, with previous Dance Therapy trainings taking place there, as well as recently rented space in 2020 to bring an Indigenous dance troupe down from the Chilcotin to work with Michelle Olson of Raven Spirit Dance. The Dance Centre was so inspiring for these youth from up north, they talked about feeling excited to see all the other hip-hop, Indian, Ballet and other forms in the studios.
The Scotiabank Dance Centre has made a tremendous difference to the community, not only offering a home for many companies, such as Ballet BC, and Marcuse Dance, Raven Spirit, and others, but to all the other smaller groups and teachers.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here
Photos: Hana Kamea Kemble