The world moves fast, even when a crisis locks you down, and it's easy to get swept up in the tidal wave. Iso-somatic Sessions is a series of short meditations led by some of Australia’s best movement practitioners, designed to be taken with headphones on, in your own time, in the comfort of your own home.
The sessions take inspiration from a breadth of restorative movement practices from across the world (Yoga, Feldenkrais, Qigong, Ideokinesis), all designed to help you uncover a deeper connection to your own body.
This series is our gift to you, we promise you will feel better for taking the time out to listen to and follow these generous practitioners.
The meditations can be purchased for a minimum fee of $1.50 each. To show appreciation for the artists who made them, we encourage you to pay what you can. All funds raised through the purchase of these meditations goes to the artists who made them and to us, Dance Makers Collective, to reinvest in programs for our communities.
Composer and Artist Liaison - Volumes 1 & 2: Matt Cornell
Composer and Artist Liaison - Volume 2: Amy Flannery
Body in place meditation is a way to embody an acknowledgment of country and connect with ourselves (body mind and spirit), and the environment through meditation.
For the duration of the meditation, one will move through the following three parts:
For this meditation it may be helpful to have the following items:
Jasmin is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and director, a Tagalaka Aboriginal woman with Irish, Chinese and Hungarian ancestry.
Jasmin spent 12 years with Bangarra Dance Theatre, performing numerous lead roles such as 'Patyegarang', in which critics described her performance as “powerfully engaging, fluent dexterity” (Sydney Morning Herald). She choreographed one major work for the company, ‘MACQ’, on the 1816 Appin Massacres under Governor Macquarie which toured Australian capital cities, regional Australia and Germany. In 2012 Jasmin was nominated for an Australian Dance award for ‘Best Female Contemporary Dancer’, and her work ‘MACQ’ was nominated for a Helpmann Award for best dance work as a part of ‘OUR Land People Stories’ in 2017, and in 2018 received a Helpmann for Best Regional Touring Program.
Other works include: ‘No Remittance’ for Legs On The Wall and ‘Choice Cut’ for Yirramboi festival, which was presented at Toronto’s Fall For Dance North Festival, 2019.
Jasmin will premier her first full length work “The Complication of Lyrebirds” in 2020 at Campbelltown Arts Centre. This work was also supported by The Australia Council for the Arts in conjunction with CAC and Native Earth Theatre Company, Toronto.
In 2020 Jasmin will create works for: NAISDA Dance College, Sydney Dance Company’s PPY program, and Catapult Dance.
Her work is passionate, political and has been described as “surreal and highly evocative” (The Australian).
I see my body as an intricately sophisticated collection of systems, all interacting and responding all at once to the infinite world around me. To take a moment to return back to the body, and listen to its nuance is a gift and pleasure. I wish for this meditation to bring you closer to the aliveness of your body. For it to nourish your imagination and to remind you of the small parts that often go unnoticed. Step inside this story with me. You are the main character, the love interest, the drama, the inspirational montage and the scenery.
Niharika is a contemporary dancer based in Naarm/Melbourne, and describes her practice to be suspended between multiple roles of collaborator, performer, maker and Senior Countertechnique teacher. Between 2012-2018 she performed extensively with Chunky Move, under the artistic direction of Anouk van Dijk. Throughout this time into the present, Niharika continues to work with various artists who predominantly create devised dance or theatre works. Some of these artists include Prue Lang, Belarus Free Theatre, Joel Bray, Daniel Schlusser, Steven Nicolazzo, Rachel Arianne Ogle and Pippa Samaya. Alongside this, Niharika has created sound for multiple dance projects and recently collaborated with Pippa Samaya to make three films during an Asialink residency in Kolkata. Ultimately, Niharika loves dancing and the magic potential of an ever changing body.
Bringing our attention back to our breath, the body and using visualisation techniques from her hometown backyard on Darumbal country; Katina takes us through a guided meditation to connect to our heart, acknowledging the lands that we are on and connecting spirit to the sky.
Step outside, find a comfortable seat and stay cosy as we go on this journey together to ground ourselves for the days ahead.
Katina Olsen, Wakka Wakka Kombumerri choreographer, is a founding member of Dance Makers Collective and has worked throughout Australia, Canada, UK, USA and Europe with Atamira, Sydney Dance Company, Stalker Theatre, Expressions, Bangarra, Erth, GUTS, Martin del Amo, Victoria Hunt, Narelle Benjamin, Francis Rings, Vicki Van Hout, Force Majeure, Erth and Wesley Enoch.
Her choreographic highlights include Mother’s Cry for Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed 2018, movement direction for the ABC series Cleverman 2 and the Malthouse production Walking into the Bigness and presented her solo namu nunar and a sunrise meditation at Supercell Festival 2020.
In 2017 Katina choreographed Min Min for QUT’s graduating year and worked with Digi Youth Arts on Unsettle in collaboration with the Queensland Museum.
This meditation takes inspiration from Yoga Nidra, the Feldenkrais Method as well as meditation teachers Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein and Ram Dass.
Positioned for the duration either laying down or in constructive rest, this meditation leads the practitioner into experiencing the ‘sensational’ duality of heaviness and lightness in the body simultaneously. With an overarching focus on dissociating with the thinking mind and coming home to the sensing body, this practice reminds us of impermanence and finds presence through noticing the comings and goings of sound, sensation and breath.
Jenni is a contemporary dancer, teacher, assistant rehearsal director and choreographer. Since graduating from WAAPA in 2010 she has performed extensively throughout Australia and the world with companies and independent artists including; Sue Peacock, Aimee Smith, Isabella Stone, Rhiannon Newton, Dance Makers Collective, Leigh Warren & Dancers, Tasdance and Dancenorth.
As a choreographer and a teacher Jenni is enthralled by duality and delights in using comparison and contrast as a frame for learning and creating. Jenni’s practice oscillates between and is influenced by; contemporary dance, improvisation, yoga, Feldenkrais performance art, installation and audience interaction.
In Navel Radiation* all of our six limbs (head, tail, arms, and legs) flow inward and outward via the navel. They also integrate with each other through our navel centre as a six-limbed Seastar. The movement can be initiated centrally from the navel or distally from the ends of the limbs. Developmentally, this initially emerges in the oceanic womb.
With a sense of curiosity and inquiry we will explore internal movement and awareness of breathing as a foundation for external movement. The body cells are informing the brain as well as the brain informing the cells. Orientation occurs around our navel center before it is established around our spine and vertical axis. *one of the Basic Neurocellular Patterns in Body-Mind Centering (BMCsm), founded by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.
Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal lives and works in Yaegl Country, Clarence Valley NSW. She is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and teacher with 20 years of international study, performance and touring experience. Born in Australia she is a direct descendent of Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana, the first Sultan of Yogyakarta Java 1755. Her ancestry also extends from the ancient Javan Temple of Borobudur 800AD, mixed with Scottish and Viking heritage. Jade is an Associate Artist at Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) and also works with regional NSW Culturally and Linguistically Diverse organizations such as Outback Theatre for Young People (OTYP), Rekindling the Spirit and Beyond Empathy (BE). Jade is studying Body-Mind Centering (BMCsm), toward gaining a Somatic Movement Educator certification.
Yin yoga is a nourishing, nurturing and restorative practice. It requires restful awareness as you relax your body into a series of poses supported by the floor and props. With each pose held for up to 5 minutes, the process stimulates the circulation of fluids and energy through your body which is prominently felt when you release and rest in stillness.
Wear warm comfortable clothing and set up on a blanket or mat. Gather any props like pillows, cushions, blocks/books.
This meditative practice has helped me to connect with my body, to learn from it and care for it deeply and ongoing.
Marnie is an independent dancer and has performed extensively nationally and internationally. She has worked for Branch Nebula, Shaun Parker & Company, Chunky Move (Gideon Obarzanek), Force Majeure, Marrugeku, Antony Hamilton, Narelle Benjamin, Martin Del Amo, Sydney Theatre Company, Kristina Chan, Nigel Jamison, Garry Stewart, Jason Pitt, Bernadette Walong, Dean Walsh and Liz Lea. Marnie’s choreographic credits include projects for Tasdance, QL2, Ev & Bow, Synergy Percussion, Catapult Flipside Dance and Blacktown Arts Centre. Marnie is a founding member of Dance Makers Collective. As a yoga teacher Marnie has almost 500 hours of training and teaches dance and yoga for numerous studios and institutions including Australian College for Physical Education (ACPE) and NIDA.
How do we access togetherness in times of separateness? How can we be in physical solitude but connected through energetic solidarity with our community? This guided somatic meditation looks at ways memory can bring us back into alignment with those who we cannot be with during these times, it offers various ways we can access both memory and the voices within our bodies to find a place of care, nurture and empowerment. This meditation is guided by Bhenji Ra, mother of the house of Sle, accompanied by the voices of her daughters and community.
Bhenji Ra is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice combines dance, choreography, video and installation. Her work is often concerned with the dissection of cultural theory and identity, centralizing her own personal histories as a tool to reframe performance. With an emphasis on occupation and at times collective action, her work plays with the multiplicities of spectacle while offering strategies to disrupt normativity and western dance convention. Collaboration is key to her work as she regularly accesses her own community as an essential critical voice.
A three part guided meditation.
Led as a lying down meditation but could also be explored as a somatic experiencing movement meditation.
Gabriel is an Australian-Malaysian man, an independent artist and a founding member of MakeShift Dance Collective. As a professional dancer and a yoga teacher, Gabe draws on over 10 years of movement research and teaching experience and believes deeply in the power of movement, yoga and meditation as tools for change; physically, mentally and emotionally. He is passionate about the healing and subtle powers of Yoga. Gabe aims to guide people to have the confidence to create their own yoga practice, to take responsibility for their physical and mental health, and to continually investigate, interrogate and question.
This somatic meditation is an invitation to unfold your body and mind in a gentle persuasion. Think of a movement whisper celebrating the potential energy of the day, yet nurturing the stillness. This guided body reflection will allow you to travel through imaginative pathways, and engage in subtle sensations. A call to the mind and body to let go and release.
Brianna Kell is a dancer, choreographer and educator.
Kell has choreographed works ‘Narcifixion’ with Anton, ‘The Wave Beneath Us’ on the students of VCA, 'Fly by Night' in collaboration with ABC radio producer Mike Williams, ‘Observation’ for DirtyFeet, ‘Flow’ for InMotion, ‘The Void’, and ‘Heaven Metal’.
Kell has danced and toured with companies The Farm, Co3, Tasdance, Limosani Projekts, DirtyFeet, and Murmuration.
Brianna has been in residence at TheFarm, Critical Path, Sydney University, and a TRIP resident at Tasdance.
Brianna Kell is inspired by the gift of spontaneity and sharing her knowledge of the moving body with all who are curious.
This session includes a guided breath meditation followed by an introduction to the practice of yin yoga. With the purpose to ground and cultivate your energy, Melanie will lead you through a simple breath awareness technique connecting you deeper into the felt sense of the body.
Props will be required for the yin practice that follows. This can be pillows, bolsters, blankets – anything that can cushion and add support for your body to surrender into. Through passive holds, yin focuses on disengaging muscles to access the deeper connective tissues and joints of the body; an opportunity to dive deeper into your internal landscape for a brief moment in time.
Melanie Palomares is a Sydney-based Independent Dancer, Performer, Secondary Dance Teacher and Yoga facilitator, and is a founding member of Dance Makers Collective. Trained in Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Prenatal/Postnatal and Yin Yoga styles, Melanie predominantly specialises in teaching Vinyasa Flow and Yin yoga. She was first introduced to yoga over a decade ago and, whilst it was initially to condition the body for dance, it very quickly became a holistic approach to life and wellbeing. The purpose of this session is to create a calm and grounding space to become more attuned to your body and breath, settling beneath the chaos and noise.
Osteogenuine is a somatic practice, focusing on movement that is authentically generated from the body, in particular the skeletal system. In this meditation we will be focusing on building a relationship to and awareness of our bodies through imagery and taking notice of the feedback we receive through sensation.
In this meditation, we will be exploring what it is to sink into and move from a position of comfort, which will be relative to the state and condition of your body.
Please wear comfortable clothing suitable to move in. This mediation can be performed sitting or lying down, on the floor, chair, sofa, or even in your bed.
Please gather any cushions, pillows, block or other props that will best support your body for the most comfort.
Matt Shilcock is a South Australian based Contemporary Dance Artist. As the current Associate Artist of Australian Dance Theatre, Matt continues to develop his pedagogical practice, Osteogenuine, studying the anatomy and physics of dance, cross-applying that knowledge to his studies in holistic remedies and alchemy.
Matt has been performing professionally since 2009 and has since professionally engaged with companies across Australia including Murmuration Dance Theatre, No Strings Attached Theatre for Disability, Restless Dance Theatre, Kaldor Public Arts, and internationally with Kaaos Company (FL), Wilman Dance Company (FL), Mass Box (China), Touch Compass (NZ), Full Radius (USA), Candoco (UK), Independence (UK), FreeWill Theatre (HK) and the Van L Dance Company (UK).
Deep guided listening: Take a moment to find a comfortable, quiet and warm space. You will be guided through a centring practise to calm your mind and give attention to your body. Held in a space of listening and receiving we are taking time to understand the subtle fluctuations and differences that transform an experience from superficial to deep.
Through the Deep Listening practice you are invited to move in the present moment, taking movement and decisions without judgement. Allow yourself to be with your whole body, as if looking at an entire painting rather than a specific detail of it. Invite your body to be light and soft.
Sound Composition: James Hogan
Rosslyn Wythes’ artistic practice encompasses performance, choreography, improvisation, teaching and water colouring. She is a yoga teacher and practises vipassana meditation and Feldenkrais. She is a graduate of WAAPA (where she received the Finely Award) and the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (Austria). She is a founding member of Dance Makers Collective. She has had the pleasure of working with Australian and European choreographers Jos Baker, La Fura Dels Baus, Rob McCredie, Carlee Mellow, Matthew Morris, Sue Peacock, Rakesh Sukesh, Tanya Voges, Flatline Collective, DirtyFeet, Anything Is Valid Dance Theatre and Ultima Vez.
Matt is compelled to move, mostly by music, (and gravity). This is the practice that he will share through this session. Getting into your body, to get out of your head. Escapism as framework that facilitates epiphany. Iteration and the enriching of how we can know something through the act of moving with/in it. The music is composed by Matt Cornell, produced by Matt Cornell and Tilman Robinson, and mixed by Tilman Robinson. Matt’s artistic agenda, across all mediums, is to move you. Towards, joy, towards love, towards empowerment through skill and familiarity with your own body and towards intimate, non-spoken, shared experience. AKA, we’re going to dance together to music.
Matt Cornell is an Asia-Pacific based choreographer who grew up in Darwin, on Larrakia land. His work interrogates how we embody systems – social, cultural, political, or technological – and in turn how these systems embody us by forming communities and informing identities. Across and between forms including dancing, performance, sound composition, writing, podcasting, and curation, passing through contexts including theatres, galleries, public spaces, and online. With the core notion of creating sacred spaces, pivotal events, and transcendent experiences amongst which we can come together, to share something that might give rise to deeper ways to know ourselves and each other and the stories at our foundation. That we may get better at living together. Matt is a founding member of Dance Makers Collective. http://MattCornell.com
Take a few moments to connect to place and self as Shana guides you to follow your own energy. To find strength in your heart space and from those that came before.
Find a space that is comfortable, safe and calming for you. Take what resonates and let go of what will not serve you in this moment. Nourish yourself with gratitude, and let your inner light shine.
Shana is proud to have lived and grown on Darkinjung land, she is a dancer and graduate of NAISDA Dance College. Shana is a senior dancer with Wagana, sharing and learning with community and performing at national and international festivals and events. She has performed with Jannawi Dance clan, Erth Visual and Physical Inc, as well as with Atamira Dance Company on their remount of Shapeshift by Frances Rings. She also worked with Anishnaabe choreographer Waawaate Forbister as part of the 2019 Intercultural Indigenous Choreographic lab at the Banff Centre, Canada. In 2021 she premiered her first work in development Waterholes at Yellamundie Festival, as a part of Sydney Festival. An interest in mix-media works led her to commence a Bachelor of Visual Arts last year which she plans to incorporate into her choreographic practice.
Something that I’ve learned from doing drag is that we can change and shape shift all the time. I don’t see drag as just an exterior change, but a state that is invited into the body. It can be a state that sees you in your power harnessing the amplification or contrast that the alter ego can provide. This meditation invites you to "mindcast" a transformative aesthetic through imagined makeup and costume to deliver the power of drag into your raw body, and explore the possibility of an "ultimate form."
James Welsby works as an dance instigator to create, enhance and extend the possibilities of drag cabaret and queer dance. Consistent across all his work, he has boldly created opportunities, taken major risks, and strived to connect and enrich diverse audiences. A VCA Dance graduate, James has maintained a practice of teaching, producing, choreographing and directing. He is perhaps best known as the founder and artistic director of YUMMY Productions, and has directed and produced all eight full-length shows which toured to over 50 festivals worldwide, and won awards including "Best Production" (Green Room Awards 2018) and "Best Cabaret" (Fringe World 2019).
In this meditation we will draw on experiences and imaginings of being in and sensing the wonder of the natural world within us and around us.
We will start with some breath exercises focussing and nourishing different spaces in the body, moving to visualisations that draw parallels between our own natural world - our bodies – and the ecosystem within which we live.
I hope this meditation is a way to reconnect with the complex beauty of your body, whilst acknowledging the reciprocities and synergies we have with nature.
In this meditation you might find that movement comes. You can invite it safely from your lying position, or simply receive these sensations without physicalising.
If at any time you are uncomfortable, move to adjust with ease.
In doing this meditation it may be useful to:
Originally from Bathurst NSW, Alison is Founder and Party Leader of Canberra’s Australian Dance Party, which began in 2016. Alison’s interest in art as activism mixed with a deep love of place, drives her creative process, and the themes and collaborations present in her work. She is irrevocably in love with dance - its emotional and connective power, its ability to transform. She is a passionate teacher especially working with youth, and has been a committed tutor, education officer and choreographer with QL2 Dance since 2010. Alison/ADP has been the recipient of five Canberra Critics Circle Awards for works including: ‘Seamless’ (Floriade Fringe 2018), ‘From the Vault’ (Dairy Rd warehouse 2019) and ‘Lake March’ (Where You Are Festival 2020). Independently she has collaborated with choreographers/directors Liz Lea, Adelina Larsson, David Pledger (NYID), Adam Deusien (Lingua Franca), Karla Conway (CYTC) and Chenoeh Miller (Little Dove Theatre Art) and has performed at festivals including SiteWorks 2014, LiveWorks 2015, ArtLands 2016, ArtState 2018, Art, Not Part 2012-2016 and You Are Here 2014/15.
Over the past decade Gavin has been exploring a personal somatic practice - Unwinding as a means of remedying the myriad injuries accrued over a lifetime of youthful disregard. In 2016 Gavin completed an honours degree at UNSW exploring this somatic practice in relation to the practices that have most strongly influenced it - Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement and Alexander Technique. Since then Gavin has continued to deepen his understanding of the practice through periodic collaborative workshops with fellow somatic practitioner Zac Jones (Pathwave) and through his ongoing personal practice.
This somatic session involves a standing exercise. If you are not able to stand please translate the instructions to meet your physical necessity. If you are seated, aim to ground the base of your pelvis. If you are laying down incorporate rolling and twisting. If you are not free to move, dance in your imagination.
This somatic dance practice is nice to do in a quiet, warm, safe space but is equally effective in an elevator, train or open plan office.
Gavin is a multi disciplinary performing artist working in dance, music and theatre, currently residing with his family in Glenburnie, near Berrin (Mount Gambier) on Boandik Country in the Lower South-East of South Australia.
Gavin has performed in every major city in Australia, many of it’s regional centres, too many small towns to remember and remote outback stages where swarming insects were a genuine threat to the performance; working as an actor, singer, dancer, musician and puppeteer with companies such as Erth Visual and Physical Inc., Opera Australia, Strings Attached and most recently international children’s theatre collective The Paper Boats. Gavin has also been involved in the creation of many new independent works as choreographer, composer and performer, including the Ruby Award winning If There Was A Colour Darker Than Black I’d Wear It and A Country Dance. Gavin is presently working on a theatre show for 3-7 year olds exploring ‘wonder’ through light, music and movement, in creation with his partner Anya McKee and internationally renowned children’s theatre director Dave Brown.
Body as Mapu (land) is a gentle meditation that draws upon the natural landscapes we remember in our bodies.
It invites us to imagine the body as natural terrain as we pay respect to the land we are on and make connection to those lands afar. From this grounded place we move. This meditation features words in Mapudungun, language of the Maphuce people, First People of central and south Chile.
Gabriela is a dance artist who works across many mediums. As a daughter and granddaughter of a refugee family, her work responds to the ideas of cross-cultural identity and the transitional space of belonging to community and place. Most recently, Gabriela is interested in Dance as Activism and is a 2021 resident artist at PACT on Gadigal Country. She is a member of the We Are Here company with Emma Saunders in Western Sydney and works regularly with DirtyFeet. Gabriela is a part of the MindsEye collective with Holly Craig and Imogen Yang, dedicated to experimental, participatory and inclusive dance work.
This is a meditation on Crip Time: a concept born out of disabled experience; of disability culture and community.
Aligning ourselves with Crip Time involves pushing against arbitrary notions of productivity; and listening to what our bodies and minds need.
Disabled artist Riana Head-Toussaint invites you to tune into Crip Time, and bend the clock to suit your ways of being.
Riana Head-Toussaint is an interdisciplinary disabled artist, who uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. Her work often crosses traditional artform boundaries, and exists in online and offline spaces. Most often, she employs choreography, performance and video/film to create works that interrogate entrenched systems, structures and ways of thinking; and advocate for social change. The enduring concerns across her works are agency, representation, the limits of empathy, and how these impact people across different marginalised intersections. Her work is deeply informed by her experiences as a disabled woman of Afro-Caribbean heritage, and her training as a legal practitioner.
By closing our eyes and connecting to our inner world we become aware of a limitless source of energy. This movement meditation invites you to awaken this energy, to let it take form and texture, to let it interact with sound and to physically express itself through the body in the most pleasurable way.
Before beginning please prepare a space safe enough and large enough to move freely with your eyes closed.
Sophia Ndaba is a graduate of the McDonald College of Performing Arts and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and is qualified with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Following graduation from WAAPA, Sophia joined Shaun Parker & Company in 2013 touring throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Sophia’s other company credits include La Fura Dels Baus & Opera Australia, Force Majeure, Ensemble Offspring and Britta Lieberknecht & Company. She has also performed in works by Australian independent choreographers Victoria Hunt, Martin Del Amo and Anton. After moving to Berlin in 2016, Sophia performed in Clark’s world tour of Death Peak Live which was choreographed by Melanie Lane. Sophia‘s other live show credits include Dj Bobo’s Kaleidoluna European tour and Lena Meyer Landrut’s Only Love European tour. She has also performed in large scale on-screen productions such as X Factor Germany, season 1 and 2 of The Masked Singer Germany and season 3 of Netflix series, Babylon Berlin. In 2019 Sophia became a founding member of the Berlin based contemporary dance company, KDV Ensemble under the Artistic Direction of Kiani Del Valle. As a model, Sophia’s credits include Australian Fashion Week 2021, Adidas, Deichmann, Wizz Air, Zalando, Shiseido, C&A, Style Bop and Vogue Germany. Sophia’s choreographic work began as a founding member of Dance Makers Collective (DMC) in 2012. She has since been commissioned by Berlin theatre, Ballhaus Naunynstrasse for her choreography, In The Light of a Shadow and has choreographed TVCs for Best & Less, Virgin Australia and most recently for Sky TNT’s new TV series - PARAWir sind King.
Dance Makers Collective acknowledge the Darug peoples, the traditional custodians of the land of Western Sydney, whose land we have the privilege to dance and work on. We acknowledge their survival and resilience, and pay respect to Darug Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connection to the land, water and community for over 65,000 years.