Colleen, why do you call your integrated movement work The Body Speaks?


"Every body has a voice and it depends on the person within the body - how much they listen to and collaborate with their body, that determines how much comfort, grace and resiliency they are able to maintain during their day."


"So the body speaks, and what this demands is a listener / guide, a kind of witness who is able to not only observe the body's language but to intuit deeper levels of its expression.  My aim is to enable my clients to listen, feel and see ways in which they are able to collaborate with their own well being."


"Listening to the body encompasses more of a multidimensional way of playing witness to their movement. I feel that I am able to observe and listen to bodies, and facilitate them to come into better balance."


How do you incorporate all of the different movement disciplines that you have studied into an integrated movement system?


"I have been trained to use both Pilates and The Gyrotonic® Method and often will start with Pilates, which utilizes more linear movement patterns. If the body that I am working with is able to accomplish these things with facility, I will then introduce more spiral oriented movement patterns, which involves the The Gyrotonic® Method."


"I try to hold true to the vision of Joe Pilates and Julio Horvath, but I have to consider the body that is in front of me, which may be telling me something else and I have to honor what I see and work with what that body is telling me it needs to do."


How do you handle that in a class situation?


"In a consistent class situation where I have worked with people over time, I no longer plan a class, It just flows, out of me and out of what I see, and out of what the bodies tell me they need - or - if there are questions in a class which take us in a new direction, I obviously have to go with the flow of that."


"A class is like juggling 4 to 14 bodies, their minds and everything else they bring into class with them. I try to leave space for the people in the class to help me set the tone, pace and focus, and help me describe what the needs are for that particular session. It's really like dealing with a multi-faceted being rather than a single being."


So you aren't taking them through a set of preset movements as much as you're responding to what the individual bodies in the room are telling you?


"Absolutely, and there are many things to look at, the tone of their body, the quality of their breath, the tension around the joints, if their eyes are open or closed, and if there is a connectivity between the exterior and interior movement of their body."


"What I have come to realize is that there is no single absolute correct way to do a prescribed movement. There are obviously different qualities and textures, and movement that is just poorly done. What interests me is to instill a consciousness in my clients, using movement patterns that create good function, ease and grace, so that the resiliency and longevity of the body is extended."


You draw from allot of movement disciplines, what practices you have studied and incorporated into your integrated approach?


"From the age of 9 through 16, I was a competitive gymnast and participated in the 1968 Olympics. When I stopped gymnastics and entered college as a modern dance major, the ceiling was really blown off of what I thought the range of possible movement was. In becoming a choreographer, I realized anything was game: a tree blowing in the wind, a rock skipping across the water, whales or birds in migration, and of course the wealth of human bodies adapting to injury, aging and habitual movement patterning. The world around me was fuel for potential movement making and I realized the vast forms and possibilities of motion."


"After college I became a professional dancer / choreographer and was a member of the Margret Jenkins Company, as well as doing my own solo and group work nationally and internationally. I also continued to choreograph beam and floor routines for the national / international gymnast, which spanned a period of over 30 years."


"After an automobile accident, the recovery process got me involved with the study of Yoga, Qi Kung and Pilates. I am certified in both Pilates and The Gyrotonic® Method."


"It was the practice of Qi Kung that made me realize there was an interior flow of energy, that helps create the outward flow and shaping of physical movement. This was quite profound for me.  It is not only about commanding the physical structures of the body but also about tapping into the deeper layers of our unique blueprint of energy / spirit. Later on I realized that movement is connected to a bigger energetic source, that can and does transcend time and space."


Would you say that studying Qi Kung, introduced you to the more energetic aspect of your integrated movement work?


"Yes, it is an interface between the physical and the other energetic dimensions of our being, and this led me to study Reiki which is a bridge between the physical and the non-local, and ultimately to the study of Five Element Theory."


"Ancient Chinese Five Element Theory, is the filter, the basis of how I see and do things, which is all about finding the balance in the universal cycles of our bodies. Five Element Theory holds the framework for me to look at the way I am and others are in the dynamic energies around us."