• Dança 3
VI Study Days INET- md, FMH & ESD
29 June 2024 | Main Building of Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Cruz Quebrada
Registration form available here.
Somatic Practices in the Contemporaneity: Body, Awareness, and Resistance
Inspired by the new paradigms of the body that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and the growing popularity of Eastern philosophies and practices in the West, the pioneers of somatic education developed a set of practices aimed at encouraging musculoskeletal proprioception and, thereby, body-mind connections.
Motivated by its anatomical truth, this "natural body" was envisioned as a path to relational and creative self-knowledge and the expression of the authenticity of the self, processes from which its functional effectiveness would derive in a holistic sense.
Rooted mainly in the Euro-American cultural fabric, the trajectory of somatic education took shape in alternative approaches for the recovery or prevention of psychophysical maladjustment and became particularly relevant in the field of dance. It subverted the aesthetic and ethical hegemonies of classical and modern dance and their corresponding training regimes. Additionally, it has had an increased influence in the realms of body and expressive psychotherapies.
Expanding internal body awareness is diving into the experience of a porous and pulsating body, which simultaneously requires the practice of incorporating a slow and dilated time. In a digital age, dominated by the tyrannies of speed that Paul Virilio (2007) denounces, adopting somatic practice as an epistemological vision is, in itself, an act of resistance. Psychoanalyst Suely Rolnik (2020) supports this argument, adding that in our relationship with an increasingly confusing contemporary reality, it is in the body that the crossroads of biological mechanisms and culture reverberate, and the subject's reactivity to surrounding circumstances is manifested. Therefore, it is by attuning to the internal listening of the body that the subject can configure "micropolitics of resistance."
Considering that all body movement is a cultural production that disseminates aesthetic and political values, Doran George and Susan Leigh Foster (2020) bring another perspective to the debate: they question whether the universalizing dimension implicit in the idea of a functional efficacy embedded in the musculoskeletal depth of this "natural body" can be free from cultural and social conditions. In the case of dance, they wonder whether Somatics are introducing a new standard of virtuosity that can both liberate identity expression processes and induce other forms of exclusion. To what extent are globalization and the growing consensus around Somatics (unwitting) Trojan horses for the expansion of the (neo)liberal ideology that, since the post-war period, has overvalued the freedom/individuality binary as the foundation of contemporary capitalism?
The notion that self-awareness intensifies through somatic perception is probably the most significant contribution that Somatics has brought to dance and other approaches to corporeality in the Western cultural context. Moreover, the pandemic period has expanded collective understandings regarding the impact of sensory and relational deprivation, and the role of the mind-body connection, in individual and social self-regulation. These assertions have also been finding support in the field of neuroscience.
On the occasion of the release of the issue of Revista Estud(i)os de Dança (RED) on "Somatic Education and Embodiment in a Digital World", the objective of these Scientific Journeys dedicated to "Somatic Practices in Contemporaneity: Body, Awareness, and Resistance", is to promote a critical and open dialogue about somatic practices, contextualized within its political, cultural, and theoretical context, and inscribed in the mental, educational, and artistic landscape of our time:
  • What is the relevance of somatic awareness in future contexts?
  • How can it contribute to (re)thinking education?
  • How do Somatics relate to artistic processes and practices?
  • What role can they play in reconciling the experiential dimension of the body in an increasingly accelerated world, mediated by virtual connections and dominated by normalized imagery?
  • Considering their role in individual and social self-regulation, how can we justify the use of somatic practices in psychotherapeutic or inclusive environments?
  • How can somatic education be complemented by neuroscientific knowledge?
  • In what terms does embedding Somatics in the critical discourse of Cultural Studies generate productive questions for both fields?


Scientific Commission: Coordinators: Cecília de Lima (INET-md ESD) and Rita Rato (INET-md, FMH), with Elisabete Monteiro (INET-md, FMH), Luísa Roubaud (INET-md, FMH) e Sergio Bordalo e Sá (INET-md, FMH).
Support for dissemination and organization: Lidia Labianca e Michele Leitão
PROGRAMME (download .pdf)
Free entrance, subject to prior registration, throug this online form.
Somatics in Expanded Field: Practice as Research and Countercoloniality in the Hydrocene
Somatics in contemporaneity has been unfolding and expanding its foundations and approaches, not only creating new branches but also integrating diverse trends and traditions, in dialogue with arts in expanded fields, indigenous cultures, marginalized groups, and social equality. Through affective techniques and strategies that respect individualities and differences, the empowerment of corporeality as a source of knowledge creation in the academic field, is a counter-colonial process that dissolves dualities, conditioning, subalternities, and extractivism, reterritorializing connective water memories constitutive of life itself (the fourth phase of water).
Ciane Fernandes | Full professor at the School of Theater at the Federal University of Bahia and one of the founders of the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts at this university; she is also a professor in the Postgraduate Program in Dance at UFBA. She holds a Master's and Ph.D. in Arts & Humanities for Performing Arts Interpreters from New York University (1992 and 1995); a postdoctoral degree in Contemporary Communication and Culture from UFBA (2010), and is a Movement Analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (1994), where she is an associated researcher. Author of several publications, performative lectures, and immersions in Brazil and abroad, including with members of the Colectivo A-FETO Dança-Teatro, which she founded and has directed since 1997. Since 2008, she has focused on Somatics and the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System applied to Artistic Practice as Research, in the context of performance in expanded field, especially ecoperformance in aquatic environments, in dialogue with diversity and disability. In this thematic field, she has developed the Somatic-Performative Approach and Immersion as Research.
Practices for Creating Body
Dance is born every day; it emerges as a way of being that appears more or less visibly at each moment. Accompanying this birth is delightful! Refining the sense of feeling is a daily practice. A feeling that sharpens with attentive exploration, savoring the encounter with what is happening.
Allowing ourselves to be with the subtleties, the silences, the spaces between bodies, the rhythms, the laughter, the birth of the quietest or most talkative voice, listening to the continuous arrival of the skin of the earth to the skin of the sole of the foot...
Many of the practices we dance are developed from the experience of dancing side by side with the study of the embryonic journey.
Movements such as expanding-wrinkling, creating space, radiating from a mobile center to the becoming edges and returning to the center, rocking longitudinally or laterally, rooting-levitating, pushing-pulling... these become gestures and generate dance.
Sofia Neuparth | Has a unique path within Contemporary Art in Portugal. In the 1980s, she shaped the organism of artistic research in the studies of Body, Movement, and the Common: the c.e.m-centro em movimento. It is her understanding of the Body that determines all her actions in experimentation, education, programming, documentation, creation, and political intervention. In her writing in a state of dance, she highlights works such as "práticas para ver o invisível e guardar segredo" (2010), "movimento" (2014), and "Criação" (2020, with M. Agostinho). In dance creation, she highlights "mmm-um poema físico" (2005), "Sopro" (2017), and "Mulheres de papel" (2024).
Eastern Mind-Body Practices: Introduction to a Holistic and Ancient Approach
With the progress of civilizations and the transformation of contemporary populations' views on the purpose of life, mind-body practices have gained an important place in models that promote healthy lifestyles. In the West, Eastern mind-body practices have been embraced by professionals from different fields, mainly due to the positive impact these practices have on various dimensions of health. However, more than just physical and mental exercises, Eastern mind-body practices are based on philosophical principles that invite practitioners to explore a meaning for human existence through the experience and unification of the mind-body dichotomy. This workshop aims to provide participants with the opportunity to experience some of the benefits of Taichi and Qigong—Eastern mind-body practices guided by holistic and mindfulness principles—and to raise awareness among education professionals about the importance of making these practices universally available.
Pascoal Amaral | PhD candidate in Education (specializing in Health Education) at FMH-UL and holds a Master's degree in Public Health and Development from IHMT-UNL. Since 2021, he has been teaching the courses of Anatomophysiology, Kinesiology, and Neuropsychology of Movement at ESD-IPL, where he earned his degree in Dance in 2017. In the realm of mind-body practices, he began studying yoga and meditation at the age of 14 and has since delved deeper into Taichi and Qigong during his specialization in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Since 2016, he has been training therapeutic Qigong therapists at ESMTC. In 2022 and 2023, he participated in the Hand in Hand project (a European public policy project) and provided training to Portuguese teachers with the aim of integrating mind-body practices into the Portuguese education system, among other objectives. Currently, he is also part of the Jean Piaget Higher School of Health in Almada and has a vast background in clinical practice and leading clinical teams.

 Registration form available here.