Moving Consciously: Somatic Transformations through Dance, Yoga, and Touch

University of Illinois Press, 2015


"The somatic movement field is growing rapidly and these authors are well suited to represent its diversity of theories and applications. Through their vast experience they provide a range of perspectives that demonstrates the full scope of somatic phenomena. A wonderful introduction to the more philosophical strand of somatic inquiry."

Martha Eddy, founding director of Dynamic Embodiment SMT and Moving for Life

In Moving Consciously, Sondra Fraleigh gathers essays that probe ideas surrounding embodied knowledge and the conscious embodiment of movement and dance. Using a variety of perspectives on movement and dance somatics, Fraleigh and other contributors draw on both scholarship and personal practice to participate in a multifaceted investigation of a thriving worldwide phenomenon. Their goal: to present the mental and physical health benefi ts of experiencing one's inner world through sensory awareness and movement integration. Contributors: Richard Biehl, Robert Bingham, Hillel Braude, Alison East, Sondra Fraleigh, Kelly Ferris Lester, Karin Rugman, Catherine Schaeffer, Jeanne Schul, and Ruth Way.

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Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy
by Sondra Fraleigh
Both, a refraction of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a protest against Western colonization, is a form of Japanese dance theater that emerged in the aftermath of World War II. Sondra Fraleigh chronicles the growth of this provocative art form from its midcentury founding under a sign of darkness to its assimilation in the twenty-first century as a poignant performance medium with philosophical and political implications. Employing intellectual and aesthetic perspectives to reveal the origins, major figures, and international development of the dance, Fraleigh documents the range and variety of butoh artists around the world with first-hand knowledge of butoh performances from 1973 to 2008.

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Land to Water Yoga: Shin Somatics Moving Way
by Sondra Fraleigh
While spending two months meditating and practicing yoga in silence at Sri Aurobindo's first ashram in Baroda India, Sondra Fraleigh received her first impressions for yoga based upon infant movement development and somatic principles. She consciously utilized this element in her creative use of yoga-bridging it with somatic movement education and intrinsic dancing.

This unique new form of yoga-Land to Water Yoga-maintains yoga's original intent of spiritual healing and awareness and offers a way to deepen clear seeing and a calm mind, urging one past his or her limited ego. It is based on five stages of infant development and the methods of Shin Somatics® Moving Way. Its progression moves backward from the most complex movement in terms of balance to the least: from walking to floating (from land to water), providing the opportunity to retrace our personal human development back to its watery soma source.

Above: Sondra talks about her creation of Land to Water Yoga.

Progressing through these five primary stages of Land to Water Yoga may elicit surprising infant and childhood memories, which can heal trauma when one lets go of buried feelings. Peeling away social constructions via this innovative form of yoga, one can learn through curiosity and build skill with ease.

Dancing Identity: Metaphysics In Motion
by Sondra Fraleigh

According to renowned performer, teacher, and dance scholar Sondra Fraleigh, "to value dance at all is to value the human, the beautiful, and the playful amid the erotic pulse of life. Dancing gives us the forms of our mind in movement, and it teaches us how to reconnect with our emotions, living them over again, sweeping clean their cellular foundations."

Dancing Identity, her latest book, is a celebratory fusion of philosophy and movement. Combining critical analysis with personal history and poetry, Fraleigh presents a series of interconnected essays composed over a period of fifteen years. Taken as a whole, these meditative reflections on the ways we perceive and construct our lives represent a journey toward self-definition informed by art, ritual, feminism, phenomenology, poetry, autobiography, and-always-dance. While aesthetic discourse is often dissociated from lived experience, Dancing Identity examines dance as an inherently gendered reality and exposes the political terrain of movement.

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Dance And Lived Body
by Sondra Fraleigh

In her remarkable book, Sondra Horton Fraleigh examines and describes dance through her consciousness of dance as an art, through the experience of dancing, and through the existential and phenomenological literature on the lived body. She describes, with performance photographs, specific imagery in dance masterworks by Doris Humphrey, Anna Sokolow, Viola Farber, Nina Weiner, and Garth Fagan.

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Dancing Into Darkness: Butoh, Zen, and Japan
by Sondra Fraleigh

Dancing Into Darkness is Sondra Horton Fraleigh's chronological diary of her deepening understanding of and appreciation for this art form, as she moves from a position of aesthetic response as an audience member to that of assimilation as a student. As a student of Zen and butoh, Fraleigh witnesses her own artistic and personal transformation through essays, poems, interviews, and reflections spanning twelve years of study, much of it in Japan. Numerous performance photographs and original calligraphy by Fraleigh's Zen teacher Shodo Akane illuminate her words.

The pieces of Dancing Into Darkness cross boundaries, just as butoh anticipates a growing global amalgamation. "Butoh is not an aesthetic movement grafted onto Western dance, " Fraleigh concludes, "and Western dance may be more Eastern than we have been able to see. "

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Music by Sondra Fraleigh

Access Sondra Fraleigh's original music and dance/music videos on her Music Website: Limited selections on Bandcamp.

Original Music for dance, yoga, and movement meditations by Sondra Fraleigh
Electroacoustic music features orchestral instruments, piano, harp, guitar, and myriad synthesizers

Samples of music composed before 2017

Music for Chakra Unwinding
Tap Root
Syrinx, Water and Reeds
Crescent Moon
Golden Wave
Where We Go

Music for Choreography
Brubeck Sonata
Glass for Kelly
Light Rays in Autumn
Where we Go
The Moving

The Moving
Land to Water Echoes of Debussy
Where We Go
Desert Winter

The Lake Between Shifting Ground
Aqua River Rhapsody

Music below composed After 2017


Rain Arabesque, Zen in C# Minor, Breaking, Jupiter Rising, Glass Saraabande, Ash Pillar

Singles: Brocade, Tidal Space Sonata, Zen in C# minor.

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Land to Water Yoga workshops in 3 Sections on Youtube, Sondra Fraleigh's Channel.
Workshop Video, shows class progression and teaching method. Sondra teaches.


Book Chapters

"How Things Fall Apart: Alteration of Body in Music and Dance," in Bodily Expression in Electronic Music, edited by Deniz Peters, Gerhard Eckel, and Andreas Dorchel, London: Routledge Press, Routledge Reserach in Music: Perspectives on Reclaiming Performativity, 2012: 35-52.

"Time Space and Mud in Butoh" in Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, edited by Gabriella Giannachi and Nigel Stewart, Oxford: Peter Lang, 327-44.

"A Vulnerable Glance: Seeing Dance Through Phenomenology" in The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, Alexandra Carter, Editor Routledge Press, London & New York:1999

"Witnessing the Frog Pond: Philosophical Inquiry in Dance" in Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of Inquiry, Sondra Fraleigh and Penelope Hanstein, Editors University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999

"Family Resemblance" in Researching Dance, Sondra Fraleigh and Penelope Hanstein, Editors, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999

"Agency, Freedom and Self Knowledge in Dance" in The Perceived Self: Ecological and Interpersonal Sources of Self-Knowledge, Ulric Neisser, Editor University of Cambridge Press, 1994


CORD Conference Proceedings
International Conference, Dance and Culture Toronto, Canada, 1989

Published Articles and Reviews

"Soma Strokes and Second Chances,"
Exhibition Essay for, Digital Incarnate: The Body, Identity, and Interactive Media
, Columbia College Chicago, February 8-April 2, 2010.

"Consciousness Matters"
Dance Research Journal 32/1 (Summer, 2000) 12 - 15

"From Animate Form to Mindful Movement"
Essay Review of Maxine Sheets Johnstone's The Primacy of Movement Dance Research Journal (Summer, 2002)

"Freedom, Gravity, and Grace"
Somatics: Journal of Body/Mind Arts and Science (Spring/Summer 1999).

"Chiyoe Matsumoto: Mother of Dance Education in Japan" Dance Teacher Now (October 1996): 88-95.

"The Spiral Dance: Toward a Phenomenology of Somatics"
Somatics: Journal of Body/Mind Arts and Science (Spring/Summer 1996): 14 - 19

Comparative Book Review: "Volatile Bodies"
by Elizabeth Grosz and "The Roots of Power: Animate Form and Gendered Bodies" by Maxine Sheets-Johnstone Dance Research Journal (Fall 1996)

"Bodies in Control"
Essay review of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone's Book

"The Roots of Power: Animate Form and Gendered Bodies"
Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 1995

"A Vulnerable Glance: Seeing Dance Through Phenomenology"
Dance Research Journal 23/1 (Spring 1991): 11-16.

"A Vulnerable Glance"
Reprinted in Ballet International, 1991

"Poetic Body"
Word and Image, November, 1986

"Movement and Sound - An Intermedia Experience"
Dialogue in Instrumental Music in Education , Vol. 5, NO. 2, Winter, 1981

"Aesthetic Perception in Dance"
National Dance Association's Monograph, Dance Aesthetics, 1977

"Design for General Education: Complementarity and Integration"
Faculty Teaching Exchange Vol. 1, No. 2, 1977

"Existential Dialogue in Dance"
Quest XXIII (January): 20-27

"Humanizing Dance Education: Eastern Acquisitions"
Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 46/5, May, 1975 Reprinted in Encores for Dance, American Dance Association, 1977

"Dance in Physical Education: A Unity of Design"
Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, November-December, 1971

Professional Papers

"How Things Fall Apart: Bodily Expression and Electronic Music"
Keynote Lecture, Music Conference, University of Graz, Austria, November 5, 2009.

"Butoh Alchemy in Global Circulation"
CORD Conference Paper, New York University, 2001

"Mathilde Thiele: A Life in Dance and War"
CORD Conference paper, University of Arizona, 1997

"Chioe Matsumoto: Mother of Dance Education in Japan"
CORD Conference Paper, Texas Woman's University, 1994

"Metaphysical Diary: Poetic Butoh"
JADE '93 Conference paper, Tokyo, Japan, 1993

"Existential Feminism: The Dance Theater of Susanne Linke"
CORD Conference paper, Georgia State University, 1992

"Prose and Haiku on Butoh"
CORD Conference paper, University of Iowa, 1991

"Good Intentions and Dancing Moments"
5th Hong Kong International Dance Conference Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, 1990

"Freedom, Gravity and Grace"
CORD Conference paper, New York University, 1987.

"New Dance, Ancient Archetypes"
Conference paper, Canadian Society for Aesthetics, 1986

"The Great Goddess; Feminine Source of Modern Dance"
CORD Conference paper, University of Washington, Seattle

Also presented at the ASA Conference, Boston University, 1986 "Moving Time-Space in Dance"
CORD Conference paper, Ohio State University, 1985

Commentator on Allegra Snyder's film of Mary Wigman, CORD Conference, New Paltz, New York, 1982

Response to Curtis Carter's Paper, "The Philosopher and the Dancer"
International Conference of the ASA, Banff, 1982

"Revitalizing Jazz Dance"
CORD Conference Paper, UCLA, 1981

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