Eastwest Somatics Since 1990
Eastwest Somatics Programs have been held internationally since 1990. Below are some examples. Each location offers a special somatic resonance in light of places and faces. Sondra says the guiding principle of Eastwest is, "To encourage the natural being of each person to shine."
Our current home is St. George. We also teach in Salt Lake City, Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and Kayenta.
Since 2006 Shin Somatics Workshops for Personal Development and Professional Certification have been taught in Utah. We also sponsor Somatic Conferences, Zion Retreats, Theme Workshops and Home-Stay options. In Snow Canyon and Kayenta we feature Dance on Camera and in the Environment.
Sunset over Saint George Utah
Auckland and on the South Island, Otago University in Dunedin,
In New Zealand, we have taught Land to Water Yoga, Depth-Movement Dance Therapy, Shin Somatics Therapy, Flow Repatterning, Contact Unwinding, & Shin Somatics® Bodywork. Video in the first window shows places and faces of our work in NZ. Our work there began in 2009 at Soul Centre with Willa Monroe and is still ongoing. See Willa in first window below. Karen Smith taught in NZ in 2010. In 2011, we traveled to Otago University on the South Island to work with Ali East who is now a graduate of Eastwest.
New Zealand students practice Contact Unwinding
Mexico City, Tequisquiapan,
Ashley Meeder teaches our work in Mexico. She is seen here in the video and first three photographs. The last photograph is of her Eastwest students in Mexico in 2017. Ashley has been teaching in Mexico since 2013. Ashley's website:
Music Video Water Dance in Mexico
Learning through Travel: Dancing Myths to Live By
Myths are attitudes or stories that guide our lives--mostly below awareness. Bringing to light the myths we live by is important in admitting fully our hidden light and shadows. We can heal in the light of excavation, directly through the conscious body, through dance and gentle movement consciously directed, and through the art of touch.
Greece is the land of mythology, art and architecture. The concept of "the golden mean" comes from the symmetrical beauty of Greek temples and the balanced proportion of the human form represented in Greek sculptures. "The smaller is the the larger what the larger is to the whole" is the formula for the golden mean, which guides ideals of beauty from the time of Classical Greece until around the 18th century when new ideas about beauty begin to form--that beauty lies in expression and in the eye of the beholder. With the advent of Butoh in the middle of the 20th century, beauty becomes even more complex. The ugly-beautiful way of dancing in butoh has its genesis in postmodern Japanese theater arts. Butoh means "ancient dance"-- the dance that is already always happening.
How do we skin the myth of ugliness? By not denying life's shadows? The great butohist Ohno Kazuo put it this way: "Don't push away the messiness of life." I think he was pointing to a reality that sees beauty in acceptance and in akwardness. Our workshops explore beautiful ugliness in butoh and in somatic processes, stepping away from expectations of perfection to cultivate numinous neutrality.
Italy & Greece
Villa Cugnanello and Ebbio in Tuscany - Chania in Crete
Myths to Dance by: Somatics and Butoh with Sondra Fraleigh in Chania on the Island of Crete in 2014. See video below.
In photos below: Tuscan Landscape Dances and Shin Somatics Concert in Italy in 2011. Eastwest has taught Certification Retreats and Personal Development travel alternately in Italy and Greece since 2010
Studio in Ebbio in Tuscany
What if you could learn through travel while doing the things you love?
"I do. As a wanderer, I have experienced ethics and aesthetics improvisationally. Travel has become a spiritual encounter with myself through the minds and hearts of others. Europe offers the riches of the ages, especially through its art and landscapes. Tuscany is washed and soft, welcoming and warm. The deep religion of Greece emerges prehistorically through Gaia the earth mother and the tiny snake goddess of Crete, the oldest well-preserved icon we have of a female deity in the West. Greece is infused with goddess energy, and thus the power of the earthy root chakra. As root, Greece enlivens my legs and submerges my psyche in its wine dark seas.
I first traveled to Greece and Crete in 1965 after a year of study with Mary Wigman in Germany. I drove my new Volks Wagon through much of Greece, and took the ill-fated overnight barge (ferry) from Athens to Crete. It sank to the bottom of the ocean a week later. (Ahh, lucky me.) This barge no longer operates. (In any case, take a ship or fly.) In my travels, I gathered post cards to remind me of Europe's rich metaphysical artifacts. I filled a large suitcase, and eventually used the cards in teaching the architectural backgrounds of Western dance history.
How about the East in Eastwest? In Japan, the early morning and late evening colors glow. I sink into them, and meditate. My first book on Butoh is a travelogue treatise of my experiences with butoh and Buddhism in Japan: Dancing into Darkness: Butoh, Zen and Japan.
Okayama, Fukuoka, Tokyo,
Photos below: 1&2. Tea Ceremony, 3&4. Shin Somatics Bodywork in Tokyo, 5. Akiko Kishida, Eastwest teacher in Tokyo on a visit to Utah in 2018. 6. Sondra giving a speech in Tokyo in 1990.
Sondra and two of her students in Japan
Plymouth University, East Sussex, London, Brighton, Wales
Sondra introduced Shin Somatics to the UK with her workshop at Saddlers Wells in 2002. Later Karen Smith and Karin Rugman taught "The Moving Self" for Certification at Bath Spa University. Ruth Way now teaches Shin Somatics for personal development and certification at Plymouth University and other locations. Sondra's workshop in Wales is shown in the photographs. Last photo: Karen Smith, Kay Nelson and Ruth Way.
Southern States, USA
Shreveport Louisiana, Hattisburgh
Mississippi, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Memphis Tennessee
Kelly Ferris is our Team Captain, and teaches in several places in Southern USA. She is seen in all photographs shown here. Kelly also taught with Sondra in Otago, New Zealand.
New York, USA
Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva - New York City - Brockport
Sondra founded Eastwest Somatics while she was professor of dance at SUNY Brockport, and she also sponsored her travel retreats to Hawaii. Below: 1. Sondra's Waterfall Maple Butoh Tree in Brockport NY cultivated in the manner of a Bonsai; 2. Painting Depth-Movement Dances; 3. Collage dance with the Butoh Tree in the fall; 4. Shin Somatics Bodywork on the floor.
Eastwest Students and others in a Matching Process at the first ESN Conference in Brockport NY, 2000
Eastwest has held many workshops and retreats in San Francisco, Green Gulch Zen Center, Napa, and Santa Barbara
Photos: 1. butoh "container" 2. social time in Santa Barbara, 3. Shin Somatics Bodywork. 4. Video, LTW Yoga: Follow along as Sondra teaches Part 1 "Mountain" and "Unwinding the Root Chakra in Santa Barbara - Land to Water/Form to Flow
Water is sacred for ancestral Hawaiians. Eastwest Somatics Institute has taught workshops and retreats in Hawaii since 1995. See our most recent offerings on the Workshops Schedule page.