Kelsey Witzling

Senior

St. Louis, Missouri

Dance and Movement Therapy Self-Designed Major, Philosophy Minor

Kelsey performed her solo dance "Scribe" at the Body-Mind Centering's annual conference in Boulder, Colorado.

Tell us more about the conference.

As a conference attendee, I was able to take classes during the day that introduced me to Body-Mind Centering (BMC), which is "a somatic education and therapy modality" with the premise that the mind is centered in the body and cannot be separated from it. One of the classes I took was taught by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, who developed the BMC approach and helped lay the groundwork for many techniques that I intend to use in my dance/movement therapy career.

For my performance, I met with the technical crew and other performers 24 hours before the show. We worked together to set lights and transitions for the entire show in under an hour. The next evening I performed the piece for the conference attendees. The audience of about 100 people was not large, but it was a new experience for me to perform a piece in front of so many people who are experts in fields related to dance and the human body.

How did your experiences at Knox benefit you?

Both the atmosphere of student life on campus as well as the atmosphere of the dance program at Knox have made me feel comfortable reaching out to strangers and creating a community atmosphere wherever I go. Being a Knox student made it easy for me to sit down with several BMC practitioners and learn about their work. Furthermore, Knox's dance program has taught me to be physically comfortable with others, which is so important when using the body as a communicating tool. For example, there were moments in some of the workshops I attended where I created strong physical bonds with other participants because we were moving freely and were able to use physical contact and share each other's weight as we improvised. Many dance programs do not teach dancers to communicate with their bodies on such a natural, raw level.

How do you think the conference helped you in terms of your future plans?

Performing at and attending the conference introduced me to many professionals in the BMC and dance/movement therapy fields, who I now have as professional contacts. My introduction to BMC helped open my eyes to professional fields related to but different from dance/movement therapy, which will help me plan which direction I'd like to take my future career.

What did you learn?

The most interesting thing I learned from this experience was how movement changes a dancer's body over time. I have spent the past year strengthening my understanding of my body and my personal movement style. I was lucky to be able to perform "Scribe" at three different times during the year because each of the performances felt and looked completely different, even though the choreography never changed.